Decile 1–7 schools and kura choosing to opt-in to the donations scheme

Requirements for schools and kura that opt-in to the scheme, parent obligations and more details about the government’s donation scheme.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther

Required

  • Boards
  • Administrators
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau

Schools and kura must follow the requirements of the donations scheme if they opt in. They are not able to ask parents, caregivers, families or whānau for any donations, except for overnight camps. Schools are subject to monitoring from the Ministry. State schools can never charge domestic students for enrolment or attendance, or for the delivery of curriculum.

Key information

From the 2020 school year as part of the donations scheme, decile 1–7 state and state-integrated schools/kura are able to choose to receive a $150 per student, per year payment if they agree not to ask parents and caregivers for donations, except for overnight camps.

What is the ‘donations scheme’?

The Government will pay your decile 1–7 school or kura $150 per student per year if:

  • the board agrees to opt in to the scheme AND
  • the board does not ask parents/caregivers for any donations (gifts/koha), except for overnight school camps.

The school donations scheme does not change the long-standing entitlement of students to free education.

About the scheme

This initiative is designed to alleviate pressure and expectation from families to pay donations even though they are voluntary.

Parents, caregivers, families/whānau can ask to attend the board meeting where you will discuss whether to opt in or not.

Requirements for schools and kura that opt in

Schools must not seek donations

  • Boards will not be able to ask parents, caregivers, families/whānau for any donations, except for overnight camps
  • Boards can still require payment for items or services that are extra-curricular
  • Students cannot be stopped from attending a camp if it is part of the school’s core learning programme (curriculum) and a parent chooses not to make a donation.

Decisions must be transparent

  • Boards should consult with their school communities and reflect their views when making decisions about whether to opt-in to the scheme or not and let their school communities know their final decision
  • Boards wanting to opt in must make the decision each year.

Schools are subject to monitoring and compliance

  • Boards must notify the Ministry through their July roll return if they want to opt-in to the scheme
  • The Ministry will provide advice and guidance to support the governance, management, and operation of the scheme, including requirements
  • The Ministry will monitor and intervene where there is evidence of a breach of the scheme
  • Boards must provide information to the Ministry on request
  • If a board breaches the scheme’s requirements, the Ministry may withdraw it from the scheme and/or stop it from joining in future years
  • Where there is a breach, the Ministry may reduce future funding payments made to the board to recover the funding provided under the scheme.

What happens if your school does not join

  • Your school/kura will not receive additional funding
  • Your school/kura can still ask parents and caregivers to make donations
  • The board may seek donations toward the cost of the core learning programme (curriculum).

You can also email any questions to school.donations@education.govt.nz

Rules that apply at all times

Section 33 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) states that every person who is not an international student is entitled to free enrolment and free education at any State school during the period beginning on the person’s fifth birthday and ending on 1 January after the person’s 19th birthday.

This means that state schools cannot charge domestic students a fee for enrolment or attendance, or for the delivery of the curriculum.

Schools and kura can ask parents to:

  • pay for goods they provide that are optional (e.g. pens, lunches).

Parent, caregiver, and family/whānau obligations

Donations are always voluntary, no matter who asks for them.

Parents, caregivers and family/whānau never have to make a donation to your school or kura. They are free to give any size donation any time if they choose. GST is not payable on the donation and they can claim a tax credit.

Goods and services

Parents, caregivers and family/whānau can choose to purchase goods and services from your school or kura or seek supplies elsewhere. If they agree to buy from your school/kura, they are responsible to pay.

Optional activities

There are no restrictions on charging fees for extracurricular, weekend or optional activities. If parents choose to send their child to these activities, it is with the understanding that these feeds are to be paid for. It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that this is clearly communicated.

Payment types

The three types of payments include donations, purchases of goods and services, and attendance dues. 

Section 33 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) states that every person who is not an international student is entitled to free enrolment and free education at any state school during the period beginning on the person’s fifth birthday and ending on 1 January after the person’s 19th birthday. 

This means that state schools cannot charge domestic students a fee for enrolment or attendance, or for the delivery of the curriculum.

Payment typeRequirementDescription
Donations

Voluntary

  • Parents can pay them in part, in full or not at all.
  • They can be for general purposes, or for a specific purpose.
  • Anyone can choose to make a donation to a school or kura at any time.
  • GST is not payable, donation tax credits can be claimed.
  • Decile 1–7 schools and kura who opt-in to the donations scheme will receive $150 per student payment for that year in exchange for not asking for donations – with the exception of donations for school camps.
  • Decile 8–10 schools and those who chose not to opt-in can still ask for donations, but payment cannot be compelled or enforced.
Purchases of goods and services

Voluntary

  • Schools and kura can ask parents and whānau to pay for goods and services they provide that are optional (e.g. pens and lunches).
  • It is up to parents/whānau to decide whether to buy them from the school/kura or somewhere else.
  • If a purchase is agreed, payment can be enforced.
  • GST is chargeable and a tax credit cannot be claimed.
Attendance dues

Compulsory for state-integrated schools and kura

  • Payment can be enforced and GST is payable, a tax credit cannot be claimed.
  • State-integrated schools and kura cannot increase attendance dues without the approval of the Minister of Education.

What is a school camp?

A school camp is defined as any curriculum-related activity where students are expected to stay overnight as part of that activity.
Parents, caregivers, and family/whānau can choose to pay none, some or all of the school camp donation. If they choose not to make a donation, a child cannot be stopped from attending a camp if it is part of the school’s curriculum.

ActivitiesExamples
Camp
  • Education Outside the Classroom camp
  • Year 9 induction camp
  • Senior school leadership camp
  • Overnight field trip as part of a senior secondary assessment (e.g. Year 12 Biology field trip)
  • An overnight trip to Wellington to visit key places such as Te Papa, Parliament, and the Carter Observatory
Not camp
  • Swimming lessons
  • Day trip to the museum
  • Day trip as part of senior secondary assessment

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