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Problems Buying Schoolbooks

By Jo Green - Fri 9th Sep 2011

Yesterday - Thursday the 8th September - was the first day of my daughter's second year at school.

I had already blogged about the issue of her having to move up to the 'big school' ( Click to read that blog HERE) on a different site two years earlier than she by rights should have been, but in recent days it transpired that the older year would be kept down at the smaller school in their place.

Not an ideal situation for anybody and unfair on a number of levels : on one hand the younger kids were perhaps ill-equipped and under prepared for such a move, and the older ones looking forward to and exited to be moving up to 'big school', only to be told at the 11th hour that this would not be happening - perhaps even seeing it as a punishment for being kept back ?

The reasons behind this were clear - a lack of space at the little school, and enough space at the big school to take in two classes (1 More than expected), but not three.

Moan over.

However, the issue that I was struggling to get my head around was that of school books.

Everyone knows that you can buy the school books either from the AMPA (Parents Association) at the School itself, or take the list away and try and source the books yourself. The fact that you are given about 3 days in which to get the books, and that there are around 5 or 6 to get, means that the odds on you finding a store that A) has all f the books in stock and B) are cheaper than the AMPA, inevitably means that 99% of parents buy the books from the school.


Or so you would have thought..... come on, this is Spain - of course it isn't !

I received a text message from the school on Monday advising that Books would be available for collection on the Thursday, Friday and following Monday of the week, but it did not say which books, how much they cost or where and how to make payment.

On collecting my daughter up from school on the Thursday lunchtime, she handed me a list of all 6 books required together with the Factura - for 147 Euros. HOWEVER - this sum had to be paid in cash at the local branch of the CAM Bank, where the AMPA held their account. The receipt would then have to be taken BACK to the school before the books could be handed out.

The note, given to me at 1pm on Thursday, stated that the CAM Bank was open to receive payments between 8.30 am - 2pm every day, except Friday.

Meaning that basically Thursday was already out of the question, Friday was a non-no, and that approx 32 sets of parents (From my daughter's year alone !) would be converging on the CAM bank on Monday morning in order to make payment.

Why ? - Because the school would only be handing out books until 12noon !

Now, it wouldn't surprise me if this problem would be multiplied somewhat by every other parent who has children in other years at the school having to overcome the same obstacle, but IT WOULD surprise me if the School had spoken with CAM to forewarn them of this and to give them the opportunity to get a couple of extra members of staff in to man the counters on Monday morning.

So doors open at the bank 8.30am, then it's up to school by 9am to drop my daughter off and collect the books before A) they run out, 'cos I know they aren't going to have enough, and B) they stop giving them out, even though they know that a dozen parents are stuck in a queue down at the bank.

Am I being unfair and will everything run smoothly ? - I'll let you know on Monday.

Comment on this Blog

Good, Jo! Glad it all went well .... this time!
Mo - Mon, 12th Sep 2011
And I am left wondering why my 5 year old son has a list of materials longer than my arm including things such as '6 rubbers', and 2 pencil cases, 8 A4 binders (!), 6 packs of wet wipes. Blimey, it's as though they are stocking up. I think i'm going to be brave and buy a selection of things and start out with say, 2 rubbers, and if he needs more i'll go and buy more if needed.
Lucy - Mon, 12th Sep 2011
Yay ! - 'Todo sin Problemas' as we Spanglish say in these parts. Despite a 30 min wait in the bank, a frantic dash to school and then a further 30 min wait to collect the books, I am richer to the tune of 7 books, but poorer by 137 Euros !
Jo Green - Mon, 12th Sep 2011
Hi Jo, or maybe I should call you Mrs. Grumpy! Yes, sorry, I didnīt look at the name at the top of the post. I agree with the sentiments expressed here, particularly the "culture of silence" in which everybody grumbles but nobody actually challenges the teachers.... well, I have and itīs not to be recommended. Inamovilismo itīs called in Spanish, or "we shall not be moved"!
Mo - Sun, 11th Sep 2011
It's made more difficult by the fact that no one is supposed to have any opinions against the system. Keep quiet, don't argue, teachers know best..... my eldest had terrible problems last year and we've had a private speech therapist coming to the flat twice a week (at our cost) to help him. She's diagnosed him as dyslexic so i'm going to show her report to the school so they can stop moaning about him and actually find a way of helping him learn. They just threaten to drop him back a year which I am really, really against. So tricky.
Lucy - Sun, 11th Sep 2011
Agreed Lucy. We are given about 48 Hours between receiving the list and having to bring them to school - just enough to ensure that we can't get a delivery from Amazon and so have to pay through the nose !
Jo Green - Sun, 11th Sep 2011
School books is a real bugbear of mine. My husband is Spanish and I am English and we have two boys of 4 and 5 years old. We have to buy our books from the local book shops and the cost is so high it makes me believe that the owner of the book press must be a family member of the education minister here in Andalucia!! My 5 year old now gets the 'cheque libro' which means 130 euros is paid by the Junta but now there is an english book for 24 euros and a music book for 23 euros which we need to pay for as well!! What happened to a cd, pressing play and the children singing?!! My 4 year old has 85 euros of books. THEN we'll see on Monday what materials we need to buy, which should be around 40 euros each as per last year. This is another problem as it is known that these are shared out to those children who show up without. So we have to fork out to have our childrens things shared out. It's not fair. I wonder why the school couldn't buy the books & get a bulk buy discount.
Lucy - Sun, 11th Sep 2011
Thanks Mo (although you seem to be confusing me with my other half - Mr Grumpy) - Things rarely run smoothly here, do they ?
Jo Green - Sat, 10th Sep 2011
How I sympathise Mr. Grumpy. Up here the AMPA isnīt involved in this kind of charade (which is good as they specialise in charades). Instead book lists are available early in the summer and El Corte Inglés and other big stores provide an ordering service which usually works quite well. However, thereīs always SOME kink in the process so this year Iīve decided just to run with it and not stress over my daughter having all the books she needs at the start of term. Why? I just canīt take the strain anymore, thatīs why!
Mo - Sat, 10th Sep 2011

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