Discrimination?

The Royal Institute of Great Britain does great educational lectures. I’ve read lots of reports of them on my friends’ blogs over the years and have been intending to get there, just as soon as we lived near enough/ I wasn’t heavily pregnant/ didn’t have a small baby.

They’ve now started charging for their lectures. That’s fine, I don’t have a problem with them making ends meet. They are charging £1.50 for school children and teachers, very reasonable I think.

BUT, and yes, it is a big BUT, they are charging £6 for a home educated child and £8 for a parent. They say:

Home educator fees are slightly higher than those for school parties, as our programme is primarily intended for those in mainstream education.

This is discrimination, plain and simple. Home educators accept that we have withdrawn from the state system, and that we don’t get that funding. Some like it, some don’t. Some would like a bit in return, others are quite happy with the freedom. That’s a different conversation though, and happens different places. I personally wouldn’t call 4 times the cost slightly higher 🙁

What the Royal Institute is doing is penalising home educators incredibly harshly and in the majority of cases excluding them from the educational offerings. If I were to take my family it would now cost me £20 on top of the trainfare, while if my kids were in school, they’d be paying £3.

If you agree that it’s not fair, please feel free to let the Royal Institute know via their facebook page, their twitter stream or their email or snail mail addresses.

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Comments

  1. Done, on their FB page.
    This is one of a few discriminatory things that have angered me this week. Felt good to rant to them actually!!
    Take care Jax, Hazel xx
    .-= Hazel´s last blog ..Email to Social Worker =-.

  2. Alison Sauer says:

    That doesn’t even make sense!!!!! How very sad. I hope lots of people complain.

    AS

  3. That page doesn’t say prices – did it before? Where has the pricing come from?

    Have emailed the BBC about it actually.
    .-= Merry´s last blog ..If there were a way to switch it off I would =-.

  4. The prices appear when you try to book for lectures.

  5. To play devil’s advocate here (me?? as if!) school parties, in fact almost all large parties, tend to get get bulk discounts. My OH (teacher) has booked Alton Towers, the cinema during Film Week, the zoo… you name it bulk gets you discount – even my wine by the case is cheaper, which is of course the only reason I buy it by the case…

    Would you be able to rustle up 20 of you in a Home Ed group and challenge the pricing that way?

    £.150 to £6-£8 does seem a bit of a big jump mind you – and I say that as someone who has been surprised at some of the the paltry discounts given when buying tickets by the hundred… sometimes a mere £1 off £20.
    .-= MrsW´s last blog ..iHeartFaces Foto Fixin Friday =-.

    • @MrsW If we can’t get them to reverse the decision I daresay that will be the next approach, but I do think a lot of ppl will just give up on going, which is a great shame 🙁

      Thanks for your input.

  6. MrsW – the cinema during Film Week is free to everyone 🙂 And yes, of course there are group and/or educational discounts available – we have frequently used them for HE trips to all sorts of places. But this isn’t being presented as a group discount vs an individual family thing at all – it is, as Jax quotes, basically that they don’t want us because we’re not normal.
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..Protected- So- about those bonbons … =-.

  7. Grrrrrrrrr! This makes me mad. So I have told them so on Facebook and will look in to other links too. Thanks for bringing it up. Let’s hope we can change their minds. The BBC is a great idea…
    .-= Lins´s last blog ..More evidence =-.

  8. Have emailed, twittered facebooked and blogged. very discriminatory

  9. @Alison – I think he booked it for the Perth Film Week – it sure weren’t free – but at least it was open during the day which was a bonus 🙂
    .-= MrsW´s last blog ..iHeartFaces Foto Fixin Friday =-.

  10. Oh, maybe we’re talking about different things then 🙂 I’ve just booked some free tickets for a couple of screenings as part of http://www.nsfw.org/index.php – they don’t mind home educators, fortunately 🙂
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..Protected- So- about those bonbons … =-.

  11. When I first read about this, I assumed it was an oversight and they considered HEors general members of the public. But, no, they specifically say it’s more expensive! Incredible!

  12. Chris Rofe says:

    Thank you all for your comments. I have received many emails about the recently introduced pricing structure for the Ri programme of science events for schools.

    Some have suggested that this action discriminates against home educated children and have asked me to reconsider our position on this. Another point that I would like to clarify from the outset is that, contrary to some of the comments I have received, the Ri receives no government funding to deliver our extremely high calibre educational activities.

    There have been many positive comments about the value all children get out of attending the Ri science lectures and this is undoubtedly something we wish to preserve, nurture and grow, so that we may inspire the next generations of scientists. In the past, the education programme has been provided for free. However, with the recent recession sources of funding are becoming increasingly scarce.
    Consequently we are looking at new ways of ensuring we can continue to deliver the exceptional programme that we do.

    I have considered the many constructive comments we have received, and will undertake a further review of our pricing policy and structure. I hope to be able to update you on the outcome of this review in the near future.

    Yours sincerely,

    Chris Rofe
    Chief Executive Officer
    The Royal Institution of Great Britain

    • Hi Chris

      Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. It would have been ever nicer if you’d come by with an answer, instead of just a waffle. I can see that you might think the question mark in my blog title means I have some doubt as to whether you are discriminating, let me be utterly clear.

      You are discriminating against home educators. This is very clear and grossly unfair.

      I hope that you see fit to do something about it, and I hope you are ashamed of doing it in the first place.

  13. What a lot of words with which to utterly fail to address the issue. Well, unless we are to take it that Home Educators are seen as a soft touch. So keen to give our children the best possible education that we’ll willing pay more than a school would? A rather cynical example of charging what the market will bear? Not good.

  14. I’d like to see the reasoning behind charging home educators more. That would be very enlightening.

    A comment to Chris – ever since Ed Balls annoyed us all last year, many home educators have stopped keeping a low profile and are now quite prepared to stand up and take on anyone and everyone if we consider it necessary. No doubt you’ve discovered that.

  15. Might be worth pointing out that schools can afford to pay more! Also, if they are aimed at mainstream education, then they may not be that interesting, as we’ve found when trying out ‘school’ sessions at local museums etc.

    I’m all for bargains, but £6 for a one-off session doesn’t seem too bad…it just irks that schools are to be charged so much less!

  16. And many home educators receive no government funding to deliver extremely high calibre educational activities either.

    Yet by this discrimination in access, the RI has created a situation whereby home educators may feel they are subsidising the school visit. Does the RI realise how provocative that is?

    We are routinely now told that everyone in Britain should support its recovery. If you accept that as fair enough, then I would say that to support the RI in this, home educators should not be asked to pay any less, and should not be asked to pay any more.

    Charges should be the same for everyone.
    .-= grit´s last blog ..Photoblog Hong Kong- Geological museum =-.

  17. chrisotherwise says:

    Chris Rofe’s answer is typical politician-speak. Ask them a question that they don’t like and they’ll answer a completely different one.

    Appropriate answers might have been:

    “Yes, this is indeed discrimination against home-educated children. It is a mistake on our part. We apologise for this and we will rectify it immediately”.

    or…

    “No, this is not discrimination against home educated children by us. Unfortunately our insurers charge us extra for this type of child. This is discrimination by *them* but we can’t afford not to pass it on. We apologise, but there is nothing we can do”.

    To answer with placatory flannel does both himself and his respected scientific organisation a disservice.

  18. We have received many messages on this subject, so I hope you will forgive me for replying to all who contacted me with the same message.

    Further to my last email, we have been reviewing the newly introduced pricing policy for home educators taking part in the Young People’s Programme. This sits alongside a wider review of the Ri membership structure, science communication & education programmes and pricing strategy.

    As an interim measure, while this large-scale review is happening, and in response to feedback received (from both you and others) we will welcome home educators to our programme of events for schools at the same price as school groups (£1.50 per entrant). I would like to stress that the programme will still be primarily aimed at school groups, and as such optimised for them in terms of content and style.

    Please note this change will take place with immediate effect and I hope that you continue to enjoy joining our schools audience and that you and your family benefit from our programme.

    With kind regards
    Chris

  19. chrisotherwise says:

    Thank you! This decision is *much* appreciated.

  20. thankyou, that is excellent news.
    .-= HelenHaricot´s last blog ..By- Life is a Highway – it’s the journey- not the destination – 101010 – October – 2010 =-.

  21. They still don’t want us, and he still hasn’t explained why. Can’t see I’ll be rushing back.
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..Whilst I still have a 9 year old =-.

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