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Keeping A Child At School - A Costly Exercise

21 October 2003

Keeping A Child At School – A Costly Exercise For Secondary School Parents And Caregivers

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ), meeting in New Plymouth recently, debated the issue of how schools’ operations grants were determined. Members urged the Government to recognise and take account of the high costs to parents of keeping young people at secondary school.

“Schools make up shortfalls in their operating funding by asking parents for “donations” and activity fees,” said Beryl Anderson, NCWNZ National President. “Those who cannot afford to pay are often excluded from participation in selected activities or courses.”

In the past the Government has attempted to assist schools in low socio-economic areas by defining schools into 10 streams – the decile rating system. Higher funding is given to lower decile schools.

“This system has created an equity problem as it means that parents whose children attend middle and high decile schools are required to pay high “donations” and activity fees. It has also fostered acute hardship problems for parents on low incomes whose children attend schools with the middle to high decile ranking – as many do,” said Ms Anderson.

The National Council of Women of New Zealand urged the Government to take steps to ensure that the Operating Grant by which schools meet all their running costs is adequate for that task without requiring parents to shoulder an ever increasing part of this burden.

ENDS

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