Costs rise as families supply tech devices and lose Schoolkids Bonus.
The removal of the Federal Government’s Schoolkids Bonus and the introduction of Bring Your Own Device policies, has many parents reporting an increase in school costs this year.
The annual Schoolkids Bonus of $430 per primary school child and $856 per secondary student was phased out in July 2016.
“One of our big concerns is the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) issue where many schools are asking parents to bring technological support for kids to learn,” he said.
“That’s something that’s happening at different rates across different schools.
Bring Your Own Device concerns
Mr. Timms said BYOD policies in government schools were of particular concern to Parents and Citizens’ Associations.
“The equity issue is: can all families afford the same support?” he said.
“It’s also shifting away from the Government providing resourcing for education to families resourcing education.
“We did have a Government scheme where senior students were given a computer under the Gillard government, and now we’re seeing a push in some sectors for parents to provide computers.
“It’s not such an issue in primary schools, but it’s a big issue in secondary schools where students are expected to do more work online.”
Schools ‘cutting corners’
Early childhood classroom with lots of pencils.
PHOTO: Increasing numbers of parents are reportedly being asked to supply items such as tissues, sunscreen and whiteboard markers for classroom use. (ABC News)
Mr Timms also said schools were increasingly calling on parents to supply general classroom items including whiteboard markers, tissues and sunscreen.
“I think it’s an indication of the ongoing pressure on school principals and budgets,” he said.
“When funding is under threat, schools look at ways to cut corners and reduce operating costs and it comes down to things like: should we supply sunscreen, should parents supply sunscreen, should we supply tissues or should parents supply tissues?”
Mother-of-two and family support worker Karen Rea from Lismore in northern New South Wales said the loss of the Schoolkids Bonus had a big impact on her family.
“I tend to put money aside so that then when I need it I’ve got it there, and I wait for the sales just before school goes back as well,” she said.
“This year alone I spent $250 on shirts and shorts, then shoes on top of that, and that’s just the start … you’ve got everything from lunchboxes to headphones you need to supply for computers, everything adds up.
“There’s a lot of expense you have to fork out yourself and without that Government help it does make a difference.”
Article by ABC news.