Parents may face shelling out more to send their children on school camps as some local principals say the cost to organise the "rite of passage" continues to rise.

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said meeting new health and safety requirements had made organising school camps more expensive.

"If we take parents on camp we have to pay for police vetting, if we want teachers to help out on abseiling and kayaking activities we have to ensure they're either accredited for it and have done the courses and pay for that, or if we don't do that, we have to get people in that have the expertise and pay them an hourly rate."

Walsh said the school had just spent $3500 auditing health and safety requirements of Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC).


"We're ending up with our PTA having to subsidise students that can't afford to go on the camp because we don't want them to miss out."

The cost had gone up by $20, so for a lot of parents it wouldn't be a big deal, but for others it would be, he said.

"It's a rite of passage for New Zealand students to enjoy the great outdoors and we have a lot of students who never experience the outdoors; go abseiling, kayaking, white water rafting. I just don't want it to become a disincentive because of the cost."

Walsh said an increase in operational funding would mean the school could meet health and safety requirements and avoid raising the cost of camps and trips for parents.

"We want to keep kids safe and meet health and safety regulations.

"But my plea would be increase our operational grant to ensure that every child irrespective of their socio-economic background gets an opportunity to enjoy these things."

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh says school camp costs are rising. Photo/file
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh says school camp costs are rising. Photo/file

Otonga Road Primary School principal Linda Woon agreed meeting health and safety regulations was driving up the cost of not just school camps but all outdoor trips.

"We have had to look to see where else we can save costs, instead of going to traditional camps we go to camps that are closer to reduce bus costs and we've had to shorten the length of time kids are at camp," Woon said.

She said It was not just camps either, it was water safety, surf safety and bush craft.

Woon said the rising cost of going on trips could mean Kiwi kids were not enjoying the outdoors as safely if they were not introduced to it in an education setting.

"Perhaps there might be more accidents, because there isn't the same knowledge of the walks or outdoors.

"Now it will be mostly those children whose parents have the time and ability to introduce them to those things," Woon said.

"Really it just isn't affordable.

"Maybe we need to accept that enjoying our great outdoors has a risk, and there's a cost to reducing the risk and being introduced to it safely."

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said the Government was "acutely aware many schools are under pressure due to years of underfunding under the previous government".

"We will be considering a range of measures in the 2018 Budget. This includes providing state and state integrated schools that opt-in, an additional $150 per student per year in exchange for their agreement not to ask for parental donations," Hipkins said.

"This policy will take a lot of financial pressure off schools and parents when schools plan for activities such as camps and trips."