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Parents pay pound;90 subsidy in secondaries

Parents of children at secondary school are paying hidden subsidies of almost pound;90 a year for items such as extra books and equipment. In primaries, the average is more than pound;30, according to a survey of 392 schools carried out by the Scottish Parent Teacher Council.

Judith Gillespie, convener, said the survey showed "quite considerable" levels of fund-raising and parental support. Around 90 per cent of parents paid for school trips and outings. In secondaries, 72 per cent contributed to the cost of practical classes and 52 per cent bought extra books and equipment, against only 11 per cent in primaries.

Fund-raising by special school parents contributed nearly pound;82 per pupil, against pound;7 in primaries and pound;2 in secondaries.

Safety came top of the list of parental concerns followed by funding and the state of buildings.

Two years ago, 61 per cent of associations were opposed to exam tables. Now 42 per cent are opposed and 37 per cent in support, with 21 per cent unsure.

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