Parents lavishing teachers with gifts to win favour for their kids
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Parents are splashing out on expensive and elaborate gifts in a bid to put their child's name in a teacher's good books, according to a survey.
Some presents are worth hundreds of pounds – including laptops, jewellery and even free holidays, it revealed.
According to the survey by Debenhams, parents at one London primary school offered a teacher a trip to their second home on the Caribbean island of Mustique. Another, a dentist, offered a course of teeth whitening.
"I have seen parents give designer handbags, silk scarves and expensive watches. A lot of it is kindness and generosity but there has definitely been an element of keeping up with other parents and the hope that it will improve their children's grades," the Daily Express quoted one head teacher as saying.
Another added: "The parents turned it into a bit of a competition which was very awkward. They'd present you with gifts at the door and insist you opened them in front of the other mums. I got bottles of Bollinger Champagne and luxury hampers. All very nice but it was just as nice and far less pretentious to get a small box of chocolates on the last day of term."
Seven out of ten primary school parents in the poll and a quarter of secondary school parents felt under pressure to give a gift. Four out of ten forked out more than they wanted to.
A Debenhams spokesman asserted: "The message from teachers seems to be to keep it simple. If you are going to buy a present it should be about saying thanks, not about trying to compete with other parents or find favour with teaching staff."