Parents hit out over £5 compulsory Long Eaton school water bottles during cost of living crisis
A secondary school in Nottinghamshire that introduced a compulsory £5 branded water bottle fee has received backlash from parents.
Pupils were given the branded bottle from Wilsthorpe School in Derby Road in Long Eaton for free at the start of term, but parents say it is "ridiculous" to ask them to pay the replacement fee if the bottle is lost or broken during the cost of living crisis.
The water bottles were introduced to reduce the secondary school's plastic waste, but parents don't understand why they can't use the "perfectly suitable" ones the children already have.
More than 300 parents whose children attend Wilsthorpe School took to social media complaining about the fee and commented on the school's policy saying it is "a waste of money".
One parent said: "(It's) absolutely ridiculous. My daughter's (bottle) got knocked off the table and broke by another pupil the same day no way I’ll be paying for a new one, don’t know how they can enforce it."
Another person commented: "Families have enough worries (particularly money worries) at the moment, to be having to find £5 to replace a Wilsthorpe water bottle should something happen to it, especially as I suspect we all already have perfectly suitable ones in our cupboards at home."
Many of the parents feel it is unfair to introduce the policy with the current cost of living prices and households across the country trying to cut down their spending.
One parent added to the discussion: "Thought the rules were stopping branding to make it easier for parents to afford school clothes etc."
A message to parents at the start of the term from the school, which is run by the Two Counties Trust, said: "Every student has received a Wilsthorpe branded water bottle at the start of term.
"This is in order to reduce single-use plastic waste in school and to ensure students stay hydrated throughout the day, which we know supports learning and wellbeing.
"In addition, it directly supports students in Years 10-13 who are sitting mock or final exams, as exam boards insist on clear plastic bottles without printed labels.
"Students are free to bring an additional drinks bottle to school if they choose but, in classrooms, we ask that students use their Wilsthorpe bottles and that these only contain water."
The issue did gather some more positive comments by parents unphased by the new rules but acknowledged the price issue.
One wrote: "It's to have out in lessons, you can still have others for break and lunch, don't really see the problem.
"Fairly sure when I was at school you couldn't have any drink out on the desk, that's what breaks and dinners were for, or the walk between lessons. Does seem a waste of money though."
A spokesman from the school has said: "We have a commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of our students."
"We invested in free branded water bottles for each student to ensure they have access to water, as evidence shows it has a positive impact on learning."
"This also allows us to provide extra support to our students' environmental mission of reducing single-use plastic."
"Where replacement bottles are needed, the school will ensure they are further subsidised at minimal cost."