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Rangitikei College goes Fees-Free for Year 9’s

Rangitikei College goes Fees-Free for Year 9’s

A Rangitikei high school is taking the initiative to help put the ‘free’ back into New Zealand’s free education system. Rangitikei College in Marton is not afraid to break the mould when it comes to supporting its students and families, having just announced it will go fees-free for all Year 9 students in 2019.

Although a handful of primary schools in the region opted for a fees-free regime in 2018, local secondary schools have been slower to offer it. Rangitikei College is now leading the way, scrapping all aspects of its school fees for next year’s first-year students.

“We’re very conscious of the burden school and sports fees place on our families,” said College principal, Tony Booker. “As a school, we’ve been looking at ways to relieve this stress and decided that removing all fees was the best place to start.”

From next year, families of all Year 9 students will not have to pay any voluntary school donations, or special subject costs or sports fees. “The different components of a school’s fees can really add up – sometimes up to hundreds of dollars a year if your child is playing a sport” said Booker. “We’re really keen to help remove any barriers that are stopping our students trying out, or playing, a sport they love. We’ve a part to play too in inspiring our kids to ‘get moving’. Often playing a sport can be just too far out of financial reach for many families.”

The school is really trying to make a difference in the family budgets of its community said Booker.

“Although families will still have uniform costs to cover, digital devices are not compulsory at this school, and the College Trust already covers all Year 9 stationery costs. We hope that by adding in our plan to scrap all school fees, prospective parents will feel a little more positive about the looming new school year. And that we can get more young people engaged in a sporting activity without worrying about the cost.”

Although scrapping fees will have a financial implication for the school, this can be managed said Booker. Starting by removing fees for just Year 9 students will allow the College to manage the impact. “I expect the conversation around the need to remove all school fees to continue and we hope to lead the way on this, as we start to see the benefits to our students and families kick in. We want our school life to be as welcoming and as easy to join in to as we can make it.” ENDS

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