Parent Payments Policy at GWSPS
School Council sets Parent Payments each year in line with the Department of Education & Training (DET) guidelines. Parent payments are requested to enhance the educational opportunities for students and further enrich the teaching and learning program. Parent contributions in all forms are highly valued by school communities as they ensure all students can access a broad range of learning opportunities and support their aspirations.
In any request for payment to parents/guardians, the charges will be clearly identified as belonging to one of the following categories with clear specification of the items, their description and costs:
• Essential Student Learning Items
These are items, activities or services that are essential to support student learning of the standard curriculum. These are items that the school considers essential for all students and which students take possession of. The school chooses to purchase student essential items in bulk for students to use, enabling considerable savings to parents due to our sizeable buying power.
Parents may choose to provide the items themselves from the available detailed list, but only after consultation with the Assistant Principal to avoid the risk of highlighting that any child is different e.g. teacher asks children to get out their yellow writing book and a child has a blue one, or the item does not meet the specification. In the event that a parent chooses to provide their child’s essential education items, there will still be an amount charged to the parent to cover items that are not able to be provided by the parent e.g. educational software, art room consumables, etc.
• Optional Items
These are items, activities or services that are offered to support and enhance instruction of the standard curriculum program. These are provided on a user-pays basis. This applies to such things as selected sporting activities/events, classroom incursions/excursions, camps and swimming programs.
• Voluntary Financial Contributions
Parents are invited to make donations to the school for any of the following purposes. Non-consumables contribution, ICT contribution, sporting equipment contribution, school maintenance contribution, Library contribution and buildings contribution. Any contributions made to the Building Fund are tax-deductible.
Once approved by School Council, the school issues the annual Parent Payments letter with a family statement, in term 4 of each year, for the following year. This timing allows a minimum of 6 weeks’ notice prior to the due date for payment and ensures that students receive all essential student learning items when they commence school in the new year.
There are several options available:
A Pay the full amount before the end of term 4 in the preceding year.
B Pay the full amount by the due date in term 1.
C Pay in instalments through consultation with the Business Manager
D Alternative payment arrangement through consultation with the Business Manager
We encourage any parent experiencing financial stress, to contact the Lisa McLellan, the Business Manager, to establish a payment plan and make payments on a regular basis. Confidential arrangements can be made by calling the school office to speak with the Business Manager on 03 9560 6371 or via email email@example.com.
1. Telephone the school office with your credit card details.
2. Come into the office and pay with cash, cheque, credit card or EFTPOS.
3. Pay by BPAY. Your BPAY details will be on your family statement.
4. You may choose to send cash or credit card details to school with your child, however we cannot accept any responsibility for the safety of these methods of payment.
The school staff will adhere to the following guidelines:
• Communicate with parents and offer support in a respectful manner
• Ensure information on payment options is easily accessible and understood by parents so that they know what to expect and what supports they can access
• Ensure parents from non-English speaking backgrounds understand notices and information or inform the Assistant Principal of the need for translation services
• Ensure parents are provided with early notice of annual payment requests for Parent Contributions (i.e. a minimum of six weeks’ notice prior to the end of the previous school year). This enables parents to save and budget accordingly
• Ensure parents are provided with reasonable notice of any other payment requests that arise during the school year including camps, excursions and incursions, ensuring parents have a clear understanding of the full financial contribution being sought
• Be sensitive to any change communicated by the parent which may indicate hardship
• Ensure the status and details of any financial arrangements are kept confidential and only shared with the relevant school personnel
• Ensure parents experiencing hardship are not pursued for outstanding school fees from one year to the next
• No use of debt collectors to obtain outstanding school funds owed to the school from parents
• Issue only one reminder notice per year to parents for voluntary financial contributions
• Invoices/statements for unpaid essential items, or optional items accepted by parents, are not generated more than monthly or according to the parent payment arrangement with the school.
• Ensure staff are aware of the school’s Hardship Policy
• Ensure parents experiencing hardship are aware of the support available to avoid stress, disengagement and avoidance
• Ensure families feel they can approach the school to discuss their concerns and be supported in a respectful and confidential manner
• Ensure the student’s access to educational opportunities is not impacted
Family Support Options
• CSEF (Camps, Sports, Excursions Fund)
• Payment Plans
• State Schools Relief
• Provision of second hand uniform
• Local community supports
Consideration is provided to families experiencing long term hardship or short term crisis on a confidential, case by case basis. Families are encouraged to contact the school’s parent payment contact, Lisa McLellan, the Business Manager, via the office, by phone 9560 6371 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion.
Communication with Families
The following related documents are available on the school website and can be obtained in hard copy form from the school office staff:
• Parent Payment Policy & Implementation
• Parent Payment Policy
• Hardship Policy
• Parent Payments in Victorian Government Schools – Frequently Asked Questions for Parents
All general enquiries can be directed to any of the school office staff. Any concerns or complaints can be directed to Lisa McLellan, Business Manager or Julia Rankine, the Assistant Principal.
This policy will be reviewed annually. School Council approves, monitors and reviews the Hardship Policy on a regular basis to ensure:
• access, equity and inclusion
• engagement and support
• respect and confidentiality
• transparency and accountability.
This policy was last ratified by School Council on: 10/10/2016.