School puts £50 limit on spending on teachers' gifts at Christmas

How much is too much to spend on your child’s teacher at Christmas? [Photo: Getty]
How much is too much to spend on your child’s teacher at Christmas? [Photo: Getty]

As if Christmas isn’t expensive enough, when you’ve bought for the fam, the kids, next door’s cat, you’ve also got to fork out for a gift for your child’s teacher too.

But one school in Oxfordshire has 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 move was criticised by Janita Gray, senior editor at the Good Schools Guide, who called it “particularly joyless” and warned that it could backfire by making parents feel that £50 was the going rate for a gift.

And parents and teachers also took to Twitter to give their opinions on the thorny topic.

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.

One in eight admitted they had felt pressured to contribute more than what they had budgeted for a class collection.

Commenting on the findings Mumsnet Founder, Justine Roberts, said: “Rather like the rules of tipping, the unwritten code about buying presents for teachers can trip some parents up, and leave others feeling vaguely resentful – but most are appreciative of teachers’ efforts and happy to give small gifts.”

A school has put a £50 limit on how much parents can spend on teachers [Photo: Getty]
A school has put a £50 limit on how much parents can spend on teachers [Photo: Getty]

The divisive topic is often the subject of debate on parenting forums too.

One parent took to Mumsnet to ask how much was reasonable to spend on a child’s teacher during the festive period and the response was mixed.

“Some people give nothing and that’s absolutely fine – norms vary by schools,” one user wrote. “There’s no collection at mine so I give each of them a bottle of wine – cost £9 each, I tend to be on the more generous side for my school.”

“In our class we do £20 for the collection at xmas and summer. £10 for teacher and £10 for the TA,” another offered.

A teacher also took to the forum to explain how she felt about receiving expensive gifts at Christmas time: “I’d be mortified if every parent thought they had to spend £10 on me, over the class that would be £300.

“The thing I appreciate most is a note in the Xmas card to say their child is happy and settled.”

What do you think? How much do you spend on your child’s teacher at Christmas?

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