Schools provide students with free instruction and ensure students have free access to all items, activities and services that are used by the school to fulfil the standard curriculum requirements in requirements in Victorian Curriculum F-10, VCE (including the VCE Vocational Major) and the Victorian Pathways Certificate.
Schools may invite you to:
- make a voluntary financial contribution to support the school
- purchase extra-curricular items and activities
- purchase educational items to own.
You are not required to make payments or voluntary financial contributions to your school. Schools cannot refuse your child instruction in the standard curriculum if you do not contribute.
This page explains how schools can request payments from parents.
Voluntary financial contributions
You may be invited to make voluntary financial contributions to support your school.
You can make Curriculum Contributions, which support your school's delivery of the Curriculum. These contributions will be for a specified purpose such as for shared equipment and classroom materials.
You can make Other Contributions, which support the school more generally. These contributions will also be for a specified purpose, like supporting non-Curriculum based school programs or buying new equipment.
Extra-curricular items and activities
Schools may request payments for extra-curricular items and activities. These are items and activities that enhance or broaden the schooling experience of students and are above and beyond what your school provides for free to deliver the Curriculum. You can choose whether to pay for them. They are offered on a user-pays basis.
Extra-curricular items and activities include:
- optional activities, excursions and programs
- class photos
- social events like formals
- materials that are more expensive than needed for the standard curriculum. For example, using mahogany wood in a woodworking class instead of standard pine wood.
Items that you would prefer to own
You may also be invited to supply or purchase educational items for your child to use and own. For example, you may prefer to buy your own:
- book list items
- digital devices.
Your child will generally need to wear a school uniform, although each school sets their own rules for school uniforms. You should speak to your school to find out their rules.
Some schools have a uniform supplier or shop where you can buy uniforms. They may also sell uniforms second hand.
You can get help with school uniforms if your child is starting prep or year 7 and is eligible to receive the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund. Your school may also have other support available.
Speak to your school for more information.
Laptops and tablets
Some schools have a program where you buy or rent a laptop or tablet from a third-party provider.
In most cases you can use your own device if you prefer. The school can give you information on which devices can connect to their network. You may need to buy extra software if you're using your own device.
If you do not rent, buy or bring your own device, the school will provide a device for your child to use when needed.
Schools may also request a voluntary Curriculum Contribution for school-owned devices and related costs.
Who determines parent payment requests
Each school council decides their own voluntary financial contributions and extra-curricular items and activities.
Schools set their payment requests so they can meet their local community's needs. They can also set their own priorities and run different subjects. This means your requests may be different to parents in other schools.
For transparency, your school must have their payment requests published on their school website and a link to the Department of Education and Training's Parent Payments Policy on the same page.
For more information:
- read the Parent Payments that schools must follow
- find a one page overview of the policy .
Financial help for families
Your school cannot stop your child from learning the standard curriculum if you don't make a contribution.
You may still experience difficulties paying for:
- extra-curricular items and activities that are suitable for your child
- uniform items
- educational items for your child to own.
There are options if you're having financial difficulties. Read more about help with school costs and fees.
How to lower your costs
- Buy second hand items and uniforms where possible. Ask your school about their uniform shop and swap days.
- Ask for iron-on logos for uniforms.
- Use your own laptop or tablet if it's compatible with the school's network.
- Apply for a scholarship if your child is eligible.
For more information
If you don't understand the payments you have been invited to make, speak to your school first.
For general queries about the Parent Payments Policy you can contact the Department of Education's general enquiries line on 1800 338 663 or email email@example.com.
Reviewed 25 January 2023