Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Teachers wary of extravagant gifts

Teachers have received jewellery and gift vouchers from competing parents

Teachers have received Tiffany bracelets, Test match tickets and thousands of pounds in gift vouchers as parents compete to give the best gift, research shows.

More than nine in 10 school and college staff have received presents from a pupil or parent, according to a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

But the tradition has sparked concerns that some parents are going too far in an attempt to "keep up with the Joneses".

A motion to be debated at ATL's annual conference next week calls for the union to raise awareness that the custom is becoming "increasingly commercialised and competitive".

ATL's survey of more than 1,000 state and private school staff reveals the expensive - and strange - gifts received by teachers.

One was given a Tiffany bracelet, while another received £1,000 in gift vouchers. A third was presented with tickets to an England cricket Test match.

Other gifts included a Mulberry handbag, theatre vouchers, champagne and even a brace of pheasants.

But others are not so lucky. One teacher reported being given a half-eaten 49p chocolate bar, while another received a ripped book with pages missing.

And one teacher said they had been given "a second-hand photo album with dog hair all over it".

The findings show that the majority of gifts (58%) are valued at under £5, with chocolates being the most common present, received by 85% of those questioned. More than half (53%) have been given flowers or plants, while 49% have received alcohol.

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