A student resource scheme enables a parent to enter into a written agreement with the school that, in return for payment of a specified annual participation fee, provides for the participating student’s temporary use of prescribed textbooks and other resources and/or for the purchase by the parent of consumables and materials for the student’s use.
The scheme is not to be used to raise funds for other purposes. Participation fees are to be directly applied to fund the service delivered by the scheme.
The scheme provides the entire package for the specified participation fee and subject fees, if included, and is not available in parts unless specifically provided for by the school in the scheme fee structure.
The scheme is to be referred to by the school as the Student Resource Scheme, regardless of the extent of goods and services provided by the scheme, for example textbooks, hire of musical instruments, hire of IT devices.
The operation of the scheme is required to be supported annually by the Parents and Citizens’ Association (P&C), and the scheme may be managed by the school or the P&C, but not by a third party unless approved by the principal. While the principal or P&C may enter into supply arrangements for items provided by the scheme, the principal or P&C ultimately remains responsible for the management of the scheme.
The school and the P&C share decision-making and responsibility for the scheme.
Participation in the scheme is voluntary, and no obligation is placed on a parent to participate. A parent’s decision to participate is based on consideration of the value afforded by the scheme.
If a parent chooses to participate in the scheme and completes a Participation Agreement Form, a participation fee be due and payable by the parent.
On lodgement of the completed and signed Participation Agreement Form with the school and/or payment of the participation fee in accordance with the agreed payment arrangement, the school shall provide the items to the student when due for the student’s use.
Payment of the participation fee by the parent is a requirement for continued participation in the scheme. An unpaid fee will be subject to the school’s debt recovery processes.
Where parents have opted for the textbook and resource allowance to be paid to the school, the allowance must be applied to offset the scheme participation fee.
A parent who does not wish to join the scheme is responsible for providing the student with the items that would otherwise have been provided to the student by the scheme as detailed on the Year Level Requirements List and/or Subject Requirements List, to enhance the student's ability to engage with the curriculum.
The school must develop a process to cater for students who are not participating in the scheme to ensure the student is not educationally disadvantaged through non-participation.
Parents of secondary school-aged students who choose not to participate in the scheme will receive the textbook and resource allowance directly from the school.
The amount of the participation fee is to be defensible and reasonable, and supported by documentation provided by the school to parents on the details of the scheme. The documentation will assist a parent to make an informed decision on the benefits of participating in the scheme, and will include:
- Year Level Requirements List specifying:
- all textbooks, resources, consumables and materials that a student is required to have for each year level
- which of the listed items are provided to the student by participation in the scheme
- which of the listed items are provided by the scheme for the temporary use of the participating student and must be returned to the school in good condition
- component costs of the items provided by participation in the scheme
- which of the listed items are not provided by participation in the scheme and are to be provided to the student by the parent.
- Subject Requirements List specifying:
- all goods and services required for specific subjects undertaken by the student including their component costs
- which of the listed items are provided by the scheme for the permanent use of the participating student and may be retained, or are consumed in the education process
- the annual participation fee for the scheme or capacity to calculate a total annual participation fee where a selection of components and costs are available in the scheme
- the Participation Agreement Form.
The Year Level Requirements List and/or Subject Requirements List and component costing will also assist a parent to calculate and substantiate an entitlement for the Schoolkids Bonus.
The student resource scheme includes textbooks and/or educational resources that, in the absence of the scheme, would normally be purchased by the parent for the student’s use at school. The scheme may include printed material such as workbooks and worksheets, produced by the school in lieu of a prescribed textbook.
The scheme may also include electronic devices which may be used to access internet educational content and/or activities, or through electronic textbooks and/or resources, which may be used to enhance the student’s learning experience.
To ensure that the operation of the scheme is consistent with legislative and policy requirements, a standard Participation Agreement Form is prescribed for use by schools. A school community may resolve to amend the standard form. Amendments must be supported by the P&C and approved by the regional director before being implemented.
Following regional director approval, requests for amendment to the Participation Agreement Form should be directed to Finance Branch who will make the requested changes and provide the school with the updated form.
The State Education Fee Matrix reflects the goods and services commonly provided to a student and included in school fees. The list is intended to be informative rather than definitive, and is provided as a guide only. The purpose of the matrix is to inform the legislative authority and appropriate charging scheme for the provision of the goods or services. The matrix is not intended to encourage the introduction of a new fee in a school.
All items provided for temporary student use by the scheme remain the property of the scheme and shall be returned at the end of the education program or school year or when the student leaves the school, whichever is the earlier. Items provided for temporary student use shall be kept in good condition by the student. Where an issued item is lost or negligently damaged or not returned, the parent may be invoiced and required to pay the replacement cost of the item.
The student resource scheme does not include:
- a voluntary financial contributions request to supplement the instruction, administration and facilities for the education of the student at the school
- student internet access
- resources funded by the state through appropriation funding to support the teaching of the Australian curriculum
- optional school activities such as excursions, camps, performances, and formals.
Before a student can be considered for participation in an optional school activity, a parent who has joined the scheme is expected to have:
- fully paid the scheme participation fee or
- paid the scheme participation fee up to and including the term in which the school activity takes place or
- made regular on-going payments towards the scheme annual participation fee, as previously arranged with the principal or
- been exempted by the principal from paying all or part of the scheme participation fee.
The principal is to use discretion in choosing to exclude a student from an optional school activity due to non-payment of the scheme participation fee. A student, whose parent has joined the scheme but not paid the participation fee, will continue to be provided with instruction, administration and facilities for the education of the student at the school.
A student resource scheme is not to be a deterrent to a student enrolling at a particular school or choosing a particular subject. The Department works to support all students and families, and to ensure that students are able to access the resources they need to engage with the curriculum. No student should be disadvantaged educationally because of financial hardship, and discretion and sensitivity are to be exercised in managing these issues.
Parents experiencing financial hardship are encouraged to contact the principal or designated officer to discuss payment or resourcing options that may be available to accommodate their circumstances, including the waiving of a fee, entirely or partly, by the principal. Onus of proof of being so affected is on the parent, and might include possession of a current Health Care Card or other evidence to establish financial hardship.
In considering information from a parent to substantiate financial hardship, the school must comply with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and the Information Privacy Principles contained in Schedule 3 of that Act. The extent of information requested and the way that it is sought should be fair and not unreasonably intrude into the personal affairs of the parent. The principal should document the reason for making a decision to waive a fee, entirely or partly, but is not required to retain copies of the information from a parent.