A sack of spuds, half-drunk bottles of wine and stolen car radios and jewellery are among the gifts teachers have received in thanks for educating the nation’s children, according to a survey.
As the end of the school year approaches, most teachers are likely to receive tokens of thanks from their charges.
While many will end up with the traditional boxes of chocolates, booze and hand-made offerings, the Mumsnet poll suggests that some have received presents that are peculiar, inappropriate or downright bad.
One teacher told the parenting website they had been presented with a bag of potatoes, while another was given a “plan your wedding” book - despite being nowhere near getting married.
A third received jewellery which they were “sure was stolen for me”.
In another case, a school worker said they had been handed a stolen car radio in a carrier bag.
Other thank-you gifts mentioned by those polled included a re-gifted diffuser which the recipient knew was from the Christmas raffle as they had put the ticket on it, aftershave given to a female worker, a part-drunk bottle of wine and a half-eaten box of chocolates.
By far the most popular present received and enjoyed by school staff is sweet treats (90%), the poll found, followed by a personal note or card from a child (79%) and wine or spirits (71%).
At the other end of the scale, of all the 1,200 polled, 13% said that the worst present they have ever received is something featuring the phrase “best teacher” or similar, followed by something second hand or that has been re-gifted (9%).
Around half (49%) said that they give gifts they do not want to charity, while a third (33%) said they have re-gifted a present to someone else.
Teachers and teaching assistants were also asked for their thoughts on whole-class gifts - when parents club together to buy one present from the entire class.
More than two thirds (68%) said that they worry about children feeling left out if their parent or carer cannot afford to take part, while over three in four (77%) were concerned that some parents and carers may feel pressurised into taking part.
Some 14% said it was a great way to avoid duplicate gifts, while 18% said it was nice to get one or two big items than lots of small ones.
Asked what they would like to receive at the end of this school year, the most popular answer was a personal note or card from a child (64%), followed by a personal note or card from a parent (57%).
Around a third (32%) would like to receive gift vouchers, while a similar proportion (31%) said they would be happy with a handmade gift from a pupil (31%), and 30% would like to get wine or spirits.
Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said: “This feels like a classic gifting struggle: hassled parents trying to do the nice thing but not at all sure what to give (and occasionally going very wrong indeed), and teachers inwardly quaking at an avalanche of scented candles and wishing they could have something cost-free and personal.
“The ideal solution seems to be a low-pressure class collection for a voucher and a scrapbook full of messages from the small people concerned.”
* The online survey questioned 1,220 UK teachers and teaching assistants between May 11 and June 14.