Gift Aid Guidance for Schools

Donations to schools, charities involved in running schools and Educational Trusts

Watch how you can collect Gift Aid with ParentPay

Only voluntary gifts or payments are eligible for Gift Aid. Simply describing a payment as ‘voluntary’ or a ‘donation’ does not make it eligible for Gift Aid.

If access to educational services or facilities provided by a school requires parents or relatives of students to make a payment, payments are not ‘voluntary’ and therefore they are not charitable donations.

If parents or relatives are asked to make ‘voluntary contribution’ payments to a school or school charity, which are linked to the provision of services or facilities to related pupils, they are not charitable donations. Payments made for the following are not eligible for Gift Aid:

  • tuition fees
  • school holidays
  • extra-curricular activities
  • lessons
  • educational trips
  • tickets for a school production

This is because these payments are not voluntary gifts, and a student receives a benefit paid for by a relative.

Donations made to an appeal or for a specific charitable purpose of the school, may be eligible for Gift Aid. Donations must not be linked to the provision of any benefit to a student related to a donor. Donations given for the following will usually qualify for Gift Aid:

  • non-uniform days
  • sponsored events
  • building appeals
  • equipment appeals

Educational school trips

Head teachers may not charge parents for any school trip that is part of the national curriculum. However, the head teacher may ask for a voluntary contribution towards a trip. You must not discriminate against the children of parents who do not contribute.

Voluntary contributions are eligible if:

  • they’re non-refundable even if the trip does not go ahead or if their child does not go on the trip
  • any benefit (for example, travel costs, trip insurance, cost of entry) does not exceed maximum levels of allowable benefit for the donation
  • the school tells parents that the contribution is not compulsory

Example 1:

Voluntary contribution requested by school Voluntary contribution actually made Amount eligible for Gift Aid
£10 £15 £5

Example 2:

Cost of trip to a museum Voluntary contribution requested by school Amount eligible for Gift Aid
£8 (transport £5, entry £2 and brochure £1) £10 £0

In this case, the amount does not qualify for Gift Aid because the benefit of £8 (80%) exceeds the 25% limit on benefits because:

Donation Maximum value of benefit
up to £100 25% of the donation
£101 + 25% of £100
plus 5% of £101 up to the total benefit value of £2,500