Brent school charged pupils for visit from former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen

Parent’s anger after Sudbury Primary School levies �1.50 fee per child

A Sudbury school charged its pupils to see former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen when he visited last month.

Mr Rosen, who grew up in north-west London, performed poems to the children at Sudbury Primary School, in Watford Road, Sudbury, before taking a writing workshop in the afternoon.

But pupils had to pay �1.50 for the privilege of seeing the writer.

A parent, who asked not to be named, said: “When I first read the school letter which said a poet was coming to visit the school, I was chuffed that he was voluntarily visiting a local school.

“Then I read that each child had to pay �1.50. I was outraged.

“It would be interesting to know how much money was made from this appearance, who decided on the cost and where has the money gone and been spent on?”

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When the Times requested to speak to the school’s headteacher Uma Pandya, she released a statement which read: “All outside theatre groups, speakers, performers, authors etc. charge for their performances which are over and above the National Curriculum provision.

“Therefore the school was responsible for paying Mr Rosen’s fees and duly passed these on to the pupils at �1.50 per pupil for the day.”

Sudbury Primary School, which has around 820 children on its roll, recently lost two of its nearest libraries – Barham Park and Preston.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Rosen said: “Schools raise money for school visits in many different ways.

“My children’s school does it through school fetes, and ‘gala’ evenings when we bid for services, gifts, presents etc. Charging parents who can afford it is another.

“I’m not sure that one method is better or more ethical than another.”

What do you think? Should children be made to pay for author visits or should it come out of the school’s budget? Email