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In your own time - Penny-pinching, sole searching and mulled wine

Forum users debate end-of-year gifts to pupils, summer footwear and 'hot Ribena for grown-ups'

Forum users debate end-of-year gifts to pupils, summer footwear and 'hot Ribena for grown-ups'

It is normally the presents teachers get from pupils that attract attention, but the buzz in the online staffroom has been about what to buy the children to mark the end of the year. Anniesophie is looking for something different from her "usual pencilrubbersharpener theme" for her Year 2 class. Grainne09 sets herself a budget of #163;1 a child: last year she bought a mixture of outdoor toys while this year it will be a trip to Poundland to get them each "a skipping rope with bubbles in the handles".

Stalia suggests a book of memories - she did one for her Year 2 class last year and it cost her virtually nothing - while teachermiss made fridge magnets with photos of the children inside.

But some colleagues are appalled at the idea of teachers buying presents for their class. Natalie88 has just returned to teaching after a career break and is amazed at how present buying has got out of hand. "Twenty years ago kids were happy with a home-made fairy cake or a couple of stickers," she says. "Last year I gave them personalised bookmarks, and no wonder they looked a bit nonplussed."

The idea that the presents are a way of thanking the children for their hard work over the past year proved stunning to some. "My gast is flabbered by this thread," says Basilius. "Is this why in secondary schools we're expected to be grateful for the kids just turning up? They get a free education and lots of perks - they don't need a bouncy ball for their pains."

The rising mercury is posing some sartorial challenges. Amyc wants to know if sandals are acceptable for school. Tangerinecat reports being advised during teacher training against wearing open-toed shoes, on the basis that some schools do not like them, and because of the dreaded "health and safety". On this occasion, tangerinecat says, they may have had a point. "Having had chair legs deposited on my toes in the past, I'm glad they were covered with a layer of leather."

Clogs, suggests buntycat, while RichieMillions plumps for Crocs. Maggie_m takes sandals for the journey home but is not up to risking them in school. "To be honest I wouldn't trust our (secondary) pupils not to stamp on exposed toes, they are so clumsy," she says.

Curly_bird's solution is ballet pumps, but she admits they are not foolproof. "It still hurts when my toe gets trampled on by feet or chairs twenty times a day." Pinkflipflop has a friend who learnt about open-toed shoes and school the hard way: "She ended up losing her big toenail."

And it may be summer and you may be sipping Pimm's, but mulled wine has been on the minds of some. "I mean, really, what is the point?" says Mad_dog. Coffeekid feels the same way, while bgy1mm calls it "hot Ribena for grown-ups". But it does have one advantage that may make the haters think again. According to the wise adelady: "The heating gets rid of most of the alcohol, so it's relaxing to drink as much as you like." Trebles all round, I think.

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