All children in New Zealand have the right to free education. If they do not opt in to the donations scheme, boards may seek donations towards the cost of curriculum delivery, but cannot compel payments for items that are part of this.
Boards of Trustees of decile 1-7 state and state-integrated schools and kura can receive additional funding of $150 (excl GST) per student for that year in exchange for not seeking donations (except for overnight camps).
Boards of Trustees of schools and kura that opt in to the scheme must not ask students’ families and whanau for donations, except for overnight camps. For the purposes of the donations scheme, a school camp is defined as any curriculum-related activity where students are expected to stay overnight as part of that activity. Examples include Education Outside the Classroom camps, a year 9 induction camp, and an overnight field trip as part of senior secondary assessment. Boards may seek donations towards the cost of these camps but cannot compel payment. Family/whanau can choose to pay the donation in full, in part, or not at all, and no student can be excluded from attending a camp that is part of curriculum delivery because of an inability or unwillingness to pay a donation toward the activity’s cost.
Boards who have opted into the donations scheme may charge for sports trips or activities that are outside the school curriculum, for example school sports teams. Participation in these activities is optional and schools can enforce payment in order for a child to participate.
Proprietors of state-integrated schools and kura can charge attendance dues. These are compulsory regardless of whether the school or kura has opted in to the donations scheme. Proprietors cannot increase the maximum level of attendance dues without the approval of the Minister of Education.
Schools can ask parents and whānau to pay for goods and services they provide that are optional (eg pens and lunches) but it is up to families/whānau to decide whether to buy them from the school/kura or elsewhere.
Decile 8 -10 schools and those who chose not to opt-in can still ask for donations but payment cannot be compelled or enforced. Parents can choose to pay a donation in full, in part, or not at all.
More information can be found on the Fees, charges and donations page on the Education website.