In New Zealand we are lucky enough to have a system of schooling where no one misses out.

They say it is free schooling for all. That's only partially true but there is good reason for that.

Every year schools ask parents for donations to help make up the shortfall in funding they get from the government. It allows schools to provide a better service to students than they would be able to were they reliant on government funding alone.

I have no problem with that and I imagine many parents feel the same way.


Getting a good education is so incredibly important these days. It's hard to get any sort of decent job without getting at least NCEA level 1.

As a parent you should be doing all you can to give your kids a decent education, and if that means forgoing a few non-essentials to pay the donation, so be it.

That said, there are some families who struggle to get by as it is and our system of schooling means they don't miss out on a good education just because they can't scrape together the donation.

I'm glad our system gives everyone a chance.

It is for that reason we have the decile system. Those schools with a lower socio-economic make-up get extra funding to make up for the fact parents are unlikely to be able to afford donations.

It's not perfect but there is merit to the system.

This week we reported on a new funding system which will mean operational funding will not be inflation adjusted next year but instead schools will be given an extra $92 for each student from a long-term welfare-dependent background.

Principals say that will not go very far - which is true. How much extra help can you provide for $92? For other schools, their funding will be less than expected, making it hard for them to provide the same education, let alone better.

I can see why it is unpopular but at the same time the Ministry of Education is in tough situation.

It does not have endless money to give out so they have to do what they can to target those most in need.

No system will benefit everyone but we need to be grateful we have a system which gives every child a chance.