School fees

Since 1848, parents and guardians in financial difficulty were exempt from paying school fees right up until when all school fees were abolished in 1925.

Year School fees
1848 The Board of National Education recommended that school fees should range from 1 penny to 1 shilling per child per week, and that local school boards were to set the rate.
1853 The Board of National Education recommended a minimum of 3 pence per child per week. Any school fee above this amount was to be decided by local school board.
1867 The 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.
1880 The Public Instruction Act 1880 reduced primary school fees to 3 pence per child per week, and to 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, with the money 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, which was a small fraction of the 8 guineas a year it cost to attend a high school.
1883 High school fees were set at 2 guineas per child per quarter, and were then increased to 3 guineas in 1893.
1906 Primary and superior public school fees were abolished from the 8th October 1906.
1911 High school fees abolished from the 1st January 1911.
1923 High school fees of 2 guineas per quarter were reintroduced from the 1st January 1923, but were subject to means testing.
1925 High school fees finally abolished.
1995 Voluntary contributions were introduced to enable parents and guardians to enhance educational and sporting school programs.


  • Historical
  • School operations

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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