Parents told to stop buying Christmas presents for teachers

The ‘unfair’ practice of buying ‘extravagant’ Christmas gifts for teachers should end, says national parents' body

Henry Hepburn

Parents are being told to stop buying Christmas presents for teachers

A national parents’ group is advising members that families should not buy Christmas gifts for teachers.

Connect – formerly the Scottish Parent Teacher Council – says the pressure that parents feel to buy a present for their child’s teacher is “unfair”.

Executive director Eileen Prior said: "We understand families are really keen to show their appreciation and gratitude to their child’s teachers at Christmas, but this year we are urging parents to think carefully about what they are planning and we are calling on parent councils and parent-teacher associations to support parents in this.

"Our recent parent survey on families struggling with financial hardship made it crystal clear that asking parents to contribute to Christmas gifts may inadvertently create real difficulties and pressures.”

She added: "We also know that many school communities focus a lot of energy on helping struggling families, so we are asking everyone to please reconsider the whole issue of Christmas gifts for teachers. A simple and heartfelt ‘thank you’ is enough."

'A heartfelt "thank you" to a teacher is enough'

Connect has heard of many parents being asked to contribute £10 to a class teacher’s present and that if they did not their child’s name would not be put on the card. It also has concerns that parents compete to buy the most expensive gift or spend many hours creating a gift to outdo other families.

In 2017, a survey found that one in 10 parents spent at least £25 on an end-of-year gift for their child's teacher.

An EIS teaching union spokeswoman said: "Schools have been working hard to cut the cost of the school day and to ensure that all children can be involved in all aspects of school life without having to pay.

"Christmas gifts for teachers are simply unaffordable for many families and are unnecessary anyway. School communities will want to keep down the cost of the school day at Christmas time, too, so that all children can take full part in the festivities on an equal footing."

A spokeswoman for the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland said: "Children and their families quite rightly want to show thanks and wish their teachers a merry Christmas, but teachers we’ve spoken to have said they feel uncomfortable about receiving generous presents from children because they know it places additional obligation and pressure on families.

"So many school communities are already doing fantastic work to reduce the cost of the school day, and parent bodies can really make a difference for all their families by working to challenge the culture of extravagant gifts where it exists."

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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