School costs add up


High school student Alex Bove. Picture: Jon Hewson         www.communitypix.com.au   d449843
High school student Alex Bove. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d449843

Charity the Smith Family is calling for more donations as more people approach it for financial support for school books and uniforms.

Kenwick mother Shanti Bove said it was costing about $2000 a year to send her son Alex to Southern River High School.

“It has become expensive with excursions, school fees especially if you are a one income house hold, she said.

“It has become quite expensive with books and things – the cost of living generally has become expensive.”

Southern River College principal Everal Pearse said it can get expensive, especially in secondary education, but it was still affordable.

“Technology and the use of laptops is becoming more prevalent as a way of teaching and learning. Families have many options to ensure that their child can have access, while leasing or purchasing laptops,” she said.

“Public education continues to be one of cheapest options for families wanting quality programs and educational experiences for their child’s future.”

South Metropolitan region MLC and Opposition spokeswomann for education Sue Ellery said there were some items on school lists that should not be there.

“School booklists look a lot different than they used to with cleaning products like spray and wipe among the items that parents must purchase at the start of the school year,” she said.

“As a result of the Liberal Government’s cuts to education, schools are having to ask parents to pay for more.”

The Smith Family’s WA general manager Lorna Woodley said the need was growing for support.

“We are talking about children in Australia who are growing up in extreme hardship, in low-income families that struggle to provide even the basic necessities at home, let alone for school,” she said.

“Their families may also be dealing with the challenges of sickness, disability or unemployment.”

Education Minister Peter Collier said WA’s education system was world class and available for all, despite family financial circumstances.

“Voluntary contributions, of $60 per year for primary students and $235 for secondary students are exactly that – voluntary,” he said.

“No child is disadvantaged if his or her parents cannot pay voluntary contributions.

“Uniforms and stationery items are modestly priced, and schools often hold second-hand book and uniform sales.”

The state government does have a secondary assistance scheme which is available to parents or independent secondary students who hold eligible concession cards.

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