How much is too much to contribute to a teacher's end-of-year present?

How much should parents fork out on presents for their children's teacher? [Photo: Getty]
How much should parents fork out on presents for their children's teacher? [Photo: Getty]

A mum has turned to the Internet for advice after being asked to contribute £40 towards the end-of-year present for the teacher.

As the summer holidays approach parents are no doubt starting to think about the thank you present for their children’s teacher.

Though some prefer to do their own thing, joint presents are becoming more and more popular.

But how much is too much to be expected to pay?

One mum has taken to parenting site Netmums to explain her frustration about being asked to pay £40 towards presents for her son’s nursery teachers.

She believes £40 is far too much - so she offered to contribute £25 to the present pot but has been told by the mum who's organising the collection (via a WhatsApp group) that it wouldn't be fair to accept her £25 contribution, and she will be given her money back!

“One mum offered to do the collection for the teachers and stated that the amount she is collecting as £40,” she explained.

She went on to say that she suspected some other mums agreed with her that £40 was a lot considering some families have more than one child and household bills to pay.

“I decided I'd like to chip in but have to think about other expenses, so I contacted the mum telling her I sent her £25,” she continued.

”She came back saying it was £40 she was collecting and asked if that's ok. I explained we have to budget and that's how much I can spend.

“I was shocked to receive a text couple of hours later saying it is not fair towards the other mums to pay so much less then them and I am putting her in an awkward position and she will give me my £25 back!”

The mum says the encounter has left her feeling humiliated. She’s also upset as her husband now also thinks it reflects on him in a bad way that they cannot afford to pay the whole amount and that some other parents might now be aware of this.

Following further discussions about the topic, in which the mum organising the collection continued to stress she didn’t think it was fair, the poster has turned to the Internet for advice about the thorny situation.

Most mums agree £40 is too much, and parents should be asked to contribute what they feel they can afford, rather than be asked to give a set amount or they're out.

“You should just buy your own gift,” one mum wrote.

“Not because I think you're in the wrong, but because I think it's not worth your hassle.

ӣ40 per person for a teacher seems astronomical but with any collection of this kind, I have never heard of anyone asking for set amounts and particularly that high.

“I would always be saying "give what you can give" - I mean even a much smaller amount of £5 is still contributing to the really comes across as a vanity project to do it this way.

”I applaud all teachers - they are fantastic people - but I honestly think that a gift from the heart matters more than an item of huge expense.”

“I think £40 per parent is a hugely unreasonable amount,” another parent agreed. “I have two children at school and that would be £80!”

How much should parents fork out on presents for their children's teacher? [Photo: Getty]
How much should parents fork out on presents for their children's teacher? [Photo: Getty]

“I think that’s a ridiculous amount of money, I wouldn’t want to pay that either,” a third agreed. “I don’t think teachers expect presents but when they get them I’d imagine they expect it to have cost £5-£10!”

Others pointed out that even if they could afford £40 for a teacher present that doesn’t mean they’re willing to spend it, simply because others are.

”£40 is crazy,” another user wrote. “What happened to a box of chocolates?”

Others advised the mum on other ways she could deal with the situation.

“You are completely in the right to not participate but if I were you I would have just said ‘thanks, but I will do my own thing’ rather than sending the money,” one user wrote.

“Definitely steer clear of her in the future!”

And one user commented to say that teacher presents have been banned in her children’s school, no doubt for this kind of reason.

“The area I live banned end of year gifts a couple of years ago,” she wrote.

“I'm sure there are a lot of relieved parents.”

It isn’t the first time the topic of teacher presents has made headlines. Last year a school in Oxfordshire told parents to limit their spending on festive gifts for teachers to just £50.

According to The Times the move was instigated after teachers were left in an “awkward position” receiving increasingly expensive presents such as Mulberry handbags and dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants.

The subject of teachers’ gifts is something has been debated by parents for many years, but a recent survey by Mumsnet revealed that parents are increasingly feeling the purchasing pressure.

The poll by Mumsnet found that one in ten parents spend £25 on Christmas gifts for their child’s school teacher with 45 per cent believing there is a culture of one-upmanship and eight per cent buying presents purely because they don’t want to look mean.

However nearly a fifth of those surveyed said they spend nothing on Christmas presents because they don’t think its necessary. And a further four per cent said they thought a teacher’s salary was reward enough.