8 February 2019

We do actually need your voluntary donations

The beginning of the year seems to be when we see an upsurge of media attention to 'school fees' and the general costs associated with attending school. Unfortunately there is a great difference between what "should be" (a free education) and "what is" (the reality for schools).

We are sending out statements today that include a request for parents to pay a voluntary donation that will supplement the operational funding provided to us from the Ministry of Education. In my perfect world we would not need to do this. Government funding for schools enables us to provide a basic education in the core learning areas. It is insufficient to provide the broad education programmes that we believe are necessary for our children to develop into the well rounded individuals with the skills to be successful in the future. Our community has clearly communicated to us that they expect us to provide a rich and full range of educational opportunities that include the arts and cultural opportunities, physical activity, science and technology as well as a solid foundation in literacy and maths. It is not possible to do so without the financial support that we are grateful to receive from most of our families.

In 2019 our general voluntary donation will allow us to, stock up our art supplies, replace some of our sports equipment, purchase new bike helmets for new students and to replace those that are damaged, allow teachers to purchase the consumables they need to do lots of hands on science activities, keep their classrooms looking lovely and to add the spark to their day to day teaching. It will also help to purchase teaching resources that keep our programmes interesting and up to date. The general voluntary donation amount has remained unchanged since 2012.

This year our compulsory educational programmes include swimming, the National Arts Festival, Technology for Year 7 & 8 students, and Mathletics. We have included on your statement the cost of each of these activities, and request that you make a voluntary payment to cover those costs. You will appreciate that if the great majority of our community did not make this voluntary contribution, we would not be able to offer the activities.

We are also sending out reminders to families whose children took part in optional activities last year, which have not yet been paid for (e.g. chess, sports activities, German classes, elective activities). I am sure that this was merely an oversight and that if you have now become aware of an outstanding payment that you will quickly sort this out.

The board understand that not every family is able to pay the full donation amount. If you are in financial hardship and cannot make a voluntary donation we assure you that your child will not ever miss out on participating in any of the compulsory aspects of the school curriculum.

Thank you for contributing to the cost of your child's education and ensuring that Ridgway School continues to be able to provide the best possible education for all of our students.


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