Emergency notice

This policy is current as at 04/07/2020 06:57am, AEST. Please refer to policy library website (https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library) for an updated version.

Preschool Class Fees in Government Schools

This policy applies to all NSW Government preschool classes. It outlines the general principles governing the fee processes, as well as information on collecting fees, fee relief and/or exemption.

1. Policy statement

1.1

Parents and carers are required to pay full fees for their child’s attendance at the preschool class, unless they are eligible for fee relief or fee exemption.

1.2

Department preschools are required to prioritise the neediest children in the local community, who are unable to access other early childhood centres.

1.2.1

Fees will vary across government schools with preschool classes. They will be set with reference to each school’s relative Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) value.

1.2.2

Schools with lower ICSEA value will attract lower fees. This recognises the cumulative effect of high concentrations of low socioeconomic disadvantage.

1.2.3

The department reviews attendance fees for government school preschool classes annually.

1.2.4

Fees will be rounded down to the nearest dollar.

1.2.5

There is provision for fee relief and full fee exemption (see section 1.3).

1.2.6

The fees will be broadly in line with community sectors that have similar cohorts of children.

1.2.7

Parents will pay a pro rata fee where their children attend a half-day session. The fee for each half day will be half that of the full day fee.

1.2.8

Fees are payable for the days the school is open, excluding pupil free days.

1.2.9

Schools with preschool classes will generate an invoice through the school finance system for the billing period. Schools will determine this period locally to best meet the needs of families (for example, weekly or each term).

1.2.10

There are no other compulsory fees for preschool attendance.

1.3

Eligibility for fee relief or full-fee exemption is determined as follows:

1.3.1

Table 1: Eligibility for fee relief or full-fee exemption

Eligibility

School ICSEA value

Fee relief/exemption

Children from low-income families*

900 or more

50% of full fee
(unless eligible for short- or long-term exemption)

Children from low-income families*

700 to 899

10% of full fee
(unless eligible for short- or long-term exemption)

Aboriginal children

N/A

50% of full fee
(unless eligible for short- or long-term exemption or low income fee relief)

All children

Up to 699

Fee exempt

*As determined by a current Commonwealth Health Care Card.

1.3.2

In exceptional circumstances, the principal can exercise discretion and grant a full-fee exemption where the child would not otherwise be able to attend.

1.4 Non-payment of fees – follow up action

1.4.1

The principal is required to follow up fees that have been outstanding for one month and to develop a plan for fee recovery. This could include reduced fees or, in exceptional circumstances, fee exemption if the child would otherwise not be able to attend the preschool program.

1.4.2

Recovery actions to be used by schools are detailed in Section 13 Finance in Schools Handbook (FISH).

2. Audience and applicability

2.1

This policy applies to all NSW Government school preschool classes.

3. Context

3.1

The NSW Department of Education operates preschool classes in 100 schools. These classes were established to provide a preschool education for children one year before school entry in areas of disadvantage, with a particular focus on children:

  • living in low socioeconomic circumstances
  • who are refugees or from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • with disabilities
  • who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

4. Responsibilities and delegations

4.1

Parents:

  • pay the required fee for their child’s attendance at the preschool class, unless they are eligible for fee relief or fee exemption (refer 1.3)
  • present the original Commonwealth Health Care Card to the school to verify the relevant fee level.

4.2

Principals:

  • ensure that fees are collected in line with this policy
  • ensure the school uses the school finance system to prepare an invoice for the billing period, which the school will determine locally (for example, weekly or each term)
  • ensure fee relief or fee exemption is provided for eligible families (refer 1.3)
  • where fees have been outstanding for one month, develop a plan for fee recovery , fee relief or fee exemption where the child would otherwise not be able to attend the preschool program
  • retain records and information at the school in relation to fee relief
  • assess the child’s eligibility for any fee relief or exemption by verifying the child has a current Commonwealth Health Care Card
  • forward all monies collected to the NSW Department of Education Cashier, by email at EDConnect.accountsreceivable@det.nsw.edu.au no later than 7 working days after the end of each school term.

4.3

Directors, educational leadership, in schools for which they are responsible:

  • monitor the implementation of procedures for fees in schools with preschool classes
  • monitor the appropriateness of fee relief and/or fee exemption provision in schools with preschool classes.

5. Monitoring and review

5.1

The Early Learning and Primary Education unit is responsible for monitoring the implementation of this policy and reviewing its effectiveness, at least every three years.

6. Contact

6.1

Early Learning Coordinator
02 7814 3775
earlylearning@det.nsw.edu.au

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