Palmerston North Herald Return of Free Schooling
Original article: Palmerston North Herald Return of Free Schooling
A cost-free education is being trialled at a Palmerston North school – every child’s stationery, sports fees and class trips will be covered for 2018.
Parents will be able to deliver their child to the front gate on day one and expect a uniform to be their only cost for the year, Ross Intermediate School principal Wayne Jenkins said.
“We’ll literally be taking our till and eftpos out of the school.”
The school is happy to accept donations, but will not ask for them.
“We’re a decile-six school, so we have a real cross-section of society – families that are really struggling through to families that are not.
“It’s about access and removing barriers and kids taking part. We’re not doing this by cutting anything. We’re not reducing any curriculum or other educational services.”
It costs families about $38,000 to put a child through 13 years of school in New Zealand, the Australian Scholarship Group estimates. That’s more than $2900 a year.
For families with more than one child, those costs can be significant.
“It means the kids don’t have to worry about going home and asking for money. Kids shouldn’t be burdened with financial worries, they should just be able to learn,” Jenkins said.
“Parents are saying ‘this is really great’. It’s certainly been appreciated.”
School camp is the only cost the school does not have covered, but it was likely fundraising would for that.
The scheme is planned as a one-year trial and has been paid for by reducing administrative costs.
Jenkins said the school was spending more on staff time, stationery, printing and stamps to invoice parents for costs than they were receiving.
Economies of scale were at work and no jobs were lost, but the approach might not work for smaller schools.