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School fees and donations

It’s free to go to a state school — but the school can ask for donations towards their running costs.

School donations

School donations, or voluntary contributions, are optional — you can pay all, some, or none of the suggested donation.

Donations can be for general use or particular items — including curriculum-related items, such as:

  • textbooks
  • classroom equipment and materials
  • camps
  • swimming lessons — where all students are expected to take part
  • class trips.

If you’ve paid school donations, you can apply for a tax credit through Inland Revenue.

Tax credits for donations

State-integrated schools

State-integrated schools are schools that were private but have become part of the state system.

They can charge compulsory fees called ‘attendance dues’ for property-related costs. Otherwise, they have the same donation rules as state schools.

Other school costs

Schools can also ask you to pay for:

  • take-home items
  • canteen food
  • school uniforms sold by the school
  • activities or events that are not part of the school curriculum.

You need to agree to pay these charges. If you’re asked to pay for one of these items and cannot pay it, contact the school principal — you might be able to get financial help.

You’ll also need to provide exercise books, pens and pencils for your child to use at school.

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