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Swansea Valley school's £5 panto ticket is 'emotional blackmail' - dad

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

By geraint thomas

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A SWANSEA Valley school has been accused of emotional blackmail — after shocking some parents with the price of admission to its Christmas concert.

Rhos Primary School, situated above Pontardawe, has angered some parents by charging £5 for tickets for the festive performance.

One parent, Dean Williams, went as far as calling it "emotional blackmail" as families would always want to see their children perform.

Mr Williams said: "In these times of austerity and uncertainty you would think that institutions, such as your local school, would not try to profit from the guilt of parents by charging £5 per ticket for the upcoming Christmas Concert. I believe this to be way too much for a token gesture to school funds."

Mr Williams said he had taken his concerns to the head teacher, Ceri Cole, adding: "She said that the parents have a choice of whether they want to go or not. We do not in reality have a choice, it is emotional blackmail as any child in a performance wants to see their parents in the audience, be it as a form of warmth, caring or reassurance for them."

The school did not take up the invitation to talk to the Evening Post directly.

However, school governor and Neath Port Talbot councillor Alex Thomas said: "I completely understand the concerns, we are in difficult times, but the money does go back into the school for the children's festive activities.

"The head assures me that if there are any parents struggling to afford the tickets then they should get in touch with the school, especially if they are on free school meals."

Mr Thomas also said there was a demand for tickets and other schools charged similar prices.

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  • abertawejack  |  December 01 2012, 12:15AM

    As a grand parent I've noticed the costings for items within our children's schools, they are on the up and up, hardly a week goes by without a letter asking for money for this, that and other. Schools are there to provide an education for everybody, not just the chosen few that can afford these prices, how many photographs abound annually I wonder at certain costings. The education authority has enough taxes from us without teachers grabbing again, some people have more than one child in school, this then is unfair to their children along with the parent, we are all feeling the pinch these days. Don't start me off about school uniforms either...rant over.

    |   4
  • richie2803  |  November 30 2012, 6:50PM

    Christmas??? Milking money out of people??? I can't believe that!!!!

    |   5
  • Jiffy  |  November 30 2012, 6:06PM

    Out of interest, will the parents be making similar complaints when their children leave secondary school and need £300 for a prom dress/dress suit and stretch limo?

  • Dicky237  |  November 30 2012, 5:58PM

    All parents want to see their children perform at Christmas it's a pity that the profiteering nature of our society has got into this school. Perhaps Mr Thomas should have researched his comment as the evening post did not find other schools charging this amount. Maybe at this time of giving he could help out by donating some of his council fees to subsidize some of the tickets.

    |   6
  • Tinkerbell453  |  November 30 2012, 4:55PM

    I too am a parent of a child at this school and feel that the £5 charge for tickets is an outrage. It is highly likely for most families that more than one person will attend the performance and so the cost is extremely high. This, in addition to the various other requests for money at this time of year from the school. One such cost is providing costumes for this production (not just a tea towel I might add) but a internet link to where the costume can be purchased at £14+ delivered!!! In addition to this children are being encouraged to purchase snowflakes for 50p to decorate at home and then add to the school Christmas tree. Parents are then invited to attend the official lighting of the tree at £2 per person!!!! These are just some of the many instances of Rhos Primary not considering the circumstances of the parents. The school fete is being held during school time and children are expected to be picked up at 1.30pm on this day to spend time at the fete with their parents. All sounds very nice but consideration has not been made for the parents that work and have to take time off or arrange alternative childcare (at a cost)!! I appreciate your commitment to our children Rhos Primary, but please be mindful of all families during these difficult financial times, not just those who are on benefits and that you will give special consideration for!

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