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Mallard Must Clarify School Fee Guidelines

ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata today wrote to Trevor Mallard urging him to clarify school fee guidelines to ensure schools that are currently breaking the law do not continue to do so.

"There is a great deal of confusion regarding school fees. It appears that some schools are inadvertently acting illegally by enforcing payment of "voluntary" fees.

"A number of parents and concerned educators have written to me to say:

· At some schools, staff have named children in assembly whose families cannot afford "voluntary" payments;

· Some children are being placed on `detention' instead of being allowed to take part in school trips or activities because of unpaid fees;

· Parents feel harassed by schools using debt collectors to gather unpaid "donations" they believed were voluntary.

"The current rules are very murky. This should have been sorted out at the beginning of the school year.

"The Ministry says charges for materials are "difficult to justify". What does that mean? The Ministry says students should not be excluded from class trips if their parents don't pay fees, but doesn't explain if this is legal or illegal. Given that this practice is happening, the Minister needs to clear the air.

"It is the Minister's job to ensure the guidelines are clearly explained to schools. I urge Mr Mallard, on behalf of the concerned parents and educators who have contacted me, to do his job," Mrs Awatere Huata said.


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