Parents struggling to afford education

By Anna Whyte & Patrice Dougan

Add a comment
Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti is not surprised parents are struggling to afford their child's education. Photo/file
Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti is not surprised parents are struggling to afford their child's education. Photo/file

Parents are increasingly feeling financially pressured when it comes to their children's education, a new survey has revealed.

Bay principals have noticed this growing trend of education unaffordability and were as frustrated as parents.

In a survey of 850 parents nationwide 56 per cent admitted they could not afford after-school tuition if needed.

The 2016 Parents Report Card, by education savings provider ASG, also found 85 per cent wished they had more money to spend on their child's education, and 26 per cent felt they needed to work two jobs per household to afford a successful education.

Merivale School Principal Jan Tinetti said she was not surprised at the results, which she thought was a result of school budgets.

"Unfortunately what that means is we're putting a lot more pressure back on parents," she said.

"Here, we're not able to offer a lot of things we used to be able to."

She said measures such as community fundraising and keeping uniform costs down had to be put in place to ease the financial pressure put on parents.

Mrs Tinetti said the school had to find ways to help keep costs down for parents, but she understood when other schools had to ask parents for financial help.

Greenpark School principal Graeme Lind said as students moved through schooling affordability became less and less.

"I think this comes back to the fact we have poverty in New Zealand in educational terms which the Government isn't acknowledging," Mr Lind said.

At his school he noticed they were providing an increased number of school lunches to students - which they provided intermittently.

"This tells me families are stretched with weekly budgets. If we're seeing this then parents certainly aren't going to be able to afford extras like extra tutoring."

If students could not access the schooling they needed then it would "handicap their potential" Mr Lind said.

"The compulsory sector of schooling should be by and large free and it certainly isn't."

Brookfield School principal Robert Hyndman said his school was very careful not to put too many financial demands on parents, as it was a difficult time for many families.

"It would be nice to do extra things but we have to live within our families' budgets, we can't put extra costs on parents because that causes too much stress for them."

He said some extras, like school camp, would never happen if not for support from the Lion Foundation, whose contributions allowed all families to participate.

Education Ministry deputy secretary for early learning and student achievement Karl Le-Quesne said funding for schools had increased every year since 2008.

"The vast majority of our schools deliver our world-beating curriculum within their budgets and do it well," he said.

"Schools are funded to deliver the curriculum and schools are not allowed to charge for the cost of either teaching or learning, including the materials used in the provision of the curriculum. They may, where appropriate, ask parents to meet the costs of materials where there is a clear take home component. But a student or their family is never obliged to buy anything produced at school."

He said many of the costs in the ASG report, "Go beyond the core costs required by parents to participate in a state education".

IT'S NOT EASY

Te Puke mother Tracey Wallace-Hutchins, who started the lunchbox challenge this year where parents made an extra lunch for a child in need, could empathise with parents struggling to afford extra tuition for their children.

She had found it difficult affording lessons for her daughter who had dyslexia during her high school years.

"I couldn't afford it at the time, we managed but she also had to work kiwifruit jobs to help pay for her extra tuition."

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 21 Jan 2017 04:57:13 Processing Time: 627ms