All Queen Charlotte College students have received the same basic stationery sets to ensure they are all prepared for class this year.
Principal Tom Parsons said the packs were given to all 325 students and their parents sent a bill for $25 which could be paid through the year.
The college board of trustees started the scheme four years ago to ensure all students had the basic stationery requirements to learn at school.
They intended to ease the financial burden that often hit families after the holiday period by allowing them to pay in instalments throughout the year.
The packs also assured teachers that their students would have all the necessary resources from the start which created a "win-win situation" and freed them to deliver the curriculum, Mr Parsons said.
"Students start the year prepared, not by being growled at for not having the right gear . . . Providing standardised packs ensures that they all have the same start irrespective of the circumstances of the caregiver."
When the college started the project, some parents were suspicious it was a money generating exercise, but that was not the case now, Mr Parsons said.
"Sometimes a parent points out that better value on an individual item may have been purchased elsewhere but when we have checked, we have found that the item has either been not as good quality or not the same number of pages in the book and so on."
The college did not want to remove the parents' right to prepare their child how they saw fit, but rather hoped to make the process easier, he said.
The college underwent some major changes over the summer holidays with the installation of air-conditioning in the hall, heating equipment for the swimming pool and interactive white boards, among other additions.
The college roll fell from 365 in 2012 to 325 this year.
- The Marlborough Express
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