By: Jacob McSweeny

Year 9 Rangitikei College students will go fees-free from 2019.

Rangitikei College will no longer ask parents to pay any fees for Year 9 students, including to take part in sports.

The fees will be removed from the start of 2019 and the school hopes it will result in more of its youngest students taking up sports.

Rangitikei College principal Tony Booker said the school would no longer ask for three different types of fees from parents.

They included the voluntary school fees, subject fees that have a “take home” component where students take projects home, and sports fees.

“We’re very conscious of the burden school and sports fees place on our families.

“As a school, we’ve been looking at ways to relieve this stress and decided that removing all fees was the best place to start.”

Booker said school fees were voluntary and usually about two-thirds to three-quarters of caregivers would pay them. He said typically a year’s fees cost $35.

The school admitted that although several primary schools in the region had gone fees-free, secondary schools had been slower to offer it.

“The different components of a school’s fees can really add up – sometimes up to hundreds of dollars a year if your child is playing a sport,” Booker said.

“We’re really keen to help remove any barriers stopping our students trying out, or playing, a sport they love. We’ve a part to play too in inspiring our kids to ‘get moving’. Often playing a sport can be just too far out of financial reach for many families.”

Families would still have uniform costs to cover but digital devices were not compulsory and the College Trust covers all Year 9 stationery costs.

The school said it would take a financial hit by scrapping the fees but that could be managed.

Booker said he expected more conversation about removing fees for all students and he hoped Rangitikei College could lead the way on that in the coming years.

Source: Wanganui Chronicle

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