One of Hawke's Bay's oldest primary schools is celebrating the arrival of the Government's new donations scheme as making it able to provide and even more equal level of education.

Port Ahuriri School, a 152-year-old Decile 7 school in Napier with a current role of 291, will use some of the new funds to balance the books — the stationery bill at the start of the year.

Principal Glenn France said during a visit today by Minister of Education Chris Hipkins that about $6500 of donations had been needed for the stationery this year.

The new donations scheme, accepted by 1563 schools nationwide and 138 in the Hawke's Bay and Gisborne Tairawhiti areas, will be worth more than $40,000 to Port Ahuriri based on this year's role, and will be used primarily in providing stationery, education outside the classroom projects and sports to all pupils.

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Port Ahuriri School principal Glenn France and Education Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Doug Laing
Port Ahuriri School principal Glenn France and Education Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Doug Laing

"It's a celebration for us," the principal said, endorsed by Board of Trustees chairperson Anna Madarasz-Smith, who said that the stationery cover would mean all children would be able to start the year on an equal footing.

Hipkins said earlier this week that 416,000 students nationwide would be "better-off" next year with their schools' signing-up to the scheme.

It's been introduced after years of concern about donations sought from parents during the school year, particularly when they could mean pupils from less well-off families could miss-out on some opportunities.

He was pleased the school communities would be no longer under pressure to pay "donations" and added:

"We know how difficult it can be for parents to afford the donations that schools request."

The scheme, involving $62.5 million in additional government funding and designed to make education more affordable to greater numbers, would take significant pressure off many families, he said.