Questions around the Government’s vague donations policy and whether schools will still be able to ask for payments towards camps or other outdoor education programmes needs to be resolved quickly, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“Several weeks ago Education Minister Chris Hipkins was forced to confirm he would have to change his school donations policy so schools would be able to charge for camps, and still claim the $150 per student government grant.
“Unfortunately, we do not have the final detail around school camps and activities and will what can’t be asked for if a school takes the donation payment.
“Schools around the country have open evenings for parents coming up, and they need the details now so they can communicate what the school will be delivering next year.
“Principals have reported to me they are aware that the Minister plans to provide a legislative fix for the school camp issue. An SOP tabled directly in the House would deliberately bypass the Select Committee process and in my view is about the Minister’s desire to reduce scrutiny of the policy and not be accountable for his policy botch up.
“Schools wouldn’t be in this situation if Mr Hipkins had worked out the details of his policy at the outset and not rushed the Bill through Select Committee.
“School camps are important learning opportunities for children, and a key part of Kiwi children’s learning experience. The Minister needs to be clear about the detail of the policy regarding school camps and outdoor education.
“The Bill is scheduled to come back to the House next week, but schools want the information now.”