Receiving gifts from parents

Overview

You might receive gifts from parents and pupils during the Christmas period or at the end of the school year. While it can be nice to receive gifts you will want to make sure you adhere to the rules outlined in your school’s gift policy if it has one. (It is not a statutory requirement for all types of schools to have a policy on this subject).

Generally, it is fine to receive small gifts from pupils and parents although some schools have put limits on the amount of gifts a teacher can receive before having to formally declare or even decline them.

In this article, we look at information from the Department for Education (DfE), examples of gift policies from schools and what to do if you are ever unsure when accepting gifts.

What does the DfE say about the topic?

The DfE responded to a Freedom of Information request about teachers receiving gifts. A spokesperson explained that it is for the headteacher and governing body or local authority to decide whether teachers are permitted to receive gifts from students and parents. 

They explained that teachers must demonstrate appropriate standards of behaviour, including honesty and integrity, in order to ensure that public confidence and trust in the teaching profession is upheld.

Acceptance of gifts in academies

The Academies Financial Handbook states that academy trusts should have a policy and register on the acceptance of gifts, hospitality, awards, prizes or any other benefit which might be seen to compromise the personal judgement or integrity of members, trustees, staff and/or any other representative of the trust.

Generally it would be impractical to log all small gifts received over Christmas time or the end of the year. For extravagant gifts over a set amount, gifts from third-parties or commercial suppliers you will need to log it in your gift register (depending on the details included in your academies policy).

Examples of gift policies

Primary School

Buckton Vale Primary School in Cheshire has a gifts and hospitality policy. It explains that teachers can accept gifts and hospitality, which have a value of £30 or less, without the approval of the headteacher.

On the topic of what gifts should never be accepted it says:

  • Cash or monetary gifts
  • Gifts or hospitality offered to your husband, wife, partner, family member or friend
  • Gifts or hospitality from a potential supplier or tenderer in the immediate period before tenders are invited or during the tender process
  • Lavish or extravagant gifts or hospitality, even if they relate to activities in your own time

Secondary School

Debenham High School in Suffolk has a gifts and hospitality policy. It explains the following types of gifts can be accepted:

  • Gifts up to £20 in value
  • Modest gifts of a promotional character, for example, diaries and calendars

It explains that members of staff must within 28 days of accepting any gift of hospitality with an estimated value in excess of £20, provide written notification to the headteacher.

The school’s disciplinary procedures may be applied where it is found that breaches to the policy have occurred.

Independent School

Wellington School in Somerset has a fundraising and gift acceptance policy. 

It explains that donations must be freely given with no expectation of anything in return other than due thanks and recognition.

The policy explains that gifts may be sought from individuals, corporations, foundations and trusts. They will be sought only for purposes that have been approved by the school’s governing body.

Further questions

If you have any additional questions about receiving or giving gifts in schools feel free to contact us for advice and support.

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