School fees

From 1848 to 1880 tuition fees paid by pupils were used by teachers to augment their income. From 1880 until school fees were abolished, fees were paid into consolidated revenue and teachers' salaries were increased in compensation. Parents in financial difficulty circumstances were exempted from payment of school fees.


The Board of National Education recommended that school fees should range from 1 penny to 1 shilling per child per week; local school board to set the rate.

The Board of National Education recommended a minimum of 3 pence per child per week; any amount above this to be decided by local school board.

Council of Education recommended that local school boards set fees according to local economic conditions. Generally fees ranged between 6 pence and 1 shilling per child per week, with reductions for members of one family.

The Public Instruction Act reduced primary school fees to 3 pence per child per week with a maximum of 1 shilling per family per week. From 1881 to 1884 fees for post-primary pupils in Superior Public Schools were 1 guinea per quarter; contrary to the general practice, the money was divided among the teachers involved. From April 1884 these fees reverted to 3 pence per child per week, a little more than ½ a guinea a year, and only a small fraction of the 8 guineas a year it cost to attend a High School.

High School fees set at 2 guineas per child per quarter, increased to 3 guineas in 1893.


Primary and Superior Public School fees abolished from 8 October 1906.

High School fees abolished from 1 January 1911.

High School fees of 2 guineas per quarter reintroduced from 1 January 1923, subject to a means test.

High School fees abolished.

From 1950

Voluntary contributions were introduced to enable parents and guardians to enhance educational and sporting school programs.