A LEEDS school has been strongly criticised for asking parents to pay more than £1,600 for the chance to take part in a sporting trip to Barbados.
Horsforth School defended the trip which it said was not compulsory for pupils.
It said although the cost was high this should be balanced against the large number of more affordable events the school runs.
However the move has led to an angry reaction on a community group for Horsforth on Facebook with some people describing it as “ridiculous”, unfair” and “disgraceful”.
One person wrote: “Wondering what people’s thoughts are on Horsforth School deciding to do their sports tour to Barbados next year at a cost of £1,650 per child?
“Personally I’m appalled and think it’s really unfair to put this pressure on parents of either finding that sort of money or saying no to their child.”
Another replied: “I think it’s far too much to expect people to find and puts too much pressure on families.”
One parent said: “I am appalled by it and will not even consider such a trip, much to the huge disappointment of my son.” Another commented that even her daughter thought it was barmy.
However other parents have defended the idea.
Michael Mason said: “My ex wife text me about the trip on a Friday. After the initial surprise of the text, we both agreed that it was a great opportunity, and we would discuss it further. The price is high but thought in general it wasn’t too bad, and it wasn’t like it had to be paid tomorrow.
“Both of us knew we would have to save up and make sacrifices if our daughter was to go. Rather than think ‘we can’t afford this’ we started thinking ‘how can we afford this’.
The school’s director of human resources Lauren Robinson stressed that this was not a compulsory trip.
She said: “For a number of years, Horsforth School has been running an overseas Sports Tour.
To date, the destination has either been in Italy or Spain. The decision to offer an alternative destination for 2016 was driven partly by student views and partly by some shortcomings with the current arrangements.
“The cost of the Barbados trip is high, but that is balanced by a much larger number of more affordable events, from residential exchanges and study visits to single day trips and school based events. We try to offer a range of extra-curricular activities for our students which vary in terms of destination, theme and cost.”
According to reports the trip would give children between the ages of 12 and 14 the chance to stay for seven nights half-board at the Butterfly Beach Hotel in the south of the island.
Parents are said to have received a letter from the school’s PE department saying pupils from the football, netball and girls’ football teams would play in three fixtures against local opposition. They would also be given “traditional evening entertainment”, a catamaran cruise, the option of going to a water park, and receive a special sports tour kit.
Horsforth School declined to comment further when asked by The Yorkshire Post whether the fee being paid by parents would cover the cost of sending staff on the trip or whether this would be paid from the school’s own resources.