The law regarding what may, and may not, be charged in respect of activities provided by the school within and outside the school day has always been difficult to interpret and apply fairly to all pupils. The government have set out the law on charges for school activities in Sections 449-462 and of the Education Act 1996. DFES Circular 2/89 explains and provides guidance on those sections. The LEA set down its charging policy in April 1989. In accordance with the requirement of the 1996 Act governors are required to state their policy with regard to charges and their policy in respect of any circumstances in which their purpose to remit (in whole, or in part) any charge which would otherwise be payable to them in accordance with their charging and remissions policy that apply in the school.
The aims of the charging policy are to:
- Maintain the right to free school education.
- Enable all pupils to take full advantage of the activities provided by the school.
The objectives of the charging policy are:
- To ensure that activities offered in school time should be available to all pupils regardless of their parents ability or willingness to help meet the cost.
- To identify those activities for which charges may be levied to determine which charges will be remitted for parents experiencing hardship.
- To invite voluntary contributions for the benefit of the school in support of anyactivity organised by the school either during or outside school hours.
- To ensure that the responsibilities for the charging policy are clearly and appropriately allocated, to ensure that the operation of the policy is systematicallyreviewed and the findings acted upon.
It is the policy of the governing body:
- To levy a charge for the provision of music tuition to pupils, either individually or in groups of four or less except where it is provided to fulfil any requirements specified in the syllabus for a prescribed public examination; or specifically to fulfil statutory duties relating to the National Curriculum.
- To levy a charge for the board and lodging element of a residential activity. Governors will remit such charges to parents in receipt of income support family credit, an income based job seekers allowance or disability working allowance in respect of any period wholly or partly comprised in the time spent on the trip where the education provided on the trip is education in respect of which no charge may be made.
For activities Outside school hours
To levy a charge for all activities provided outside school with the following exceptions:
- No charge will be made if the activity is an essential part of the basic curriculum. The board and lodging element of a residential activity will be remitted to parents in receipt of income support, family credit, job seekers allowance or disability working allowance if requested.
- Education outside school hours other than education which is an essential part of the and participation will be on the basis of parental choice and a willingness to meet such charges as are made, and the agreement of the parents is therefore an essential prerequisite for the provision of optional extras for which charges are made.
For all activities
To request voluntary contributions from all parents for school activities in or out of school time which can only be provided if there is sufficient voluntary funding.
It is the policy of the governing body:
- To remit charges for board and lodging to parents in receipt of income support and family credit if requested.
- To delegate to the chairman and the head teacher the determination of any individual case arising from the implementation of the policy.
Note: The governing body may remit in full or in part the charge for music tuition in respect of parents experiencing hardship.
The governing body will agree a fund with the budget to support this policy.
Authority for the day-to-day management of the fund will be devolved to the head public funds.
Staff organising activities must do so within the provisions of this policy. Plans, at the draft stage, should be submitted to the senior leadership team for consideration and approval.
Monitoring & evaluation
The head teacher has the responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the policy.
The head teacher will monitor the implementation of the policy and provide the governing body with a financial report as part of the normal termly reconciliation of the school budget. Every three years the implementation of the policy will be evaluated and the
views sought of parents, pupils, teachers and governors.
During school hours
Parents may make a voluntary contribution to:
- Individual music tuition except where it is provided to fulfil any requirements specified in the syllabus for prescribed public examination; or specifically to fulfil statutory duties relating to the National Curriculum.
- The board and lodging element of all residential trips and visits except the cost of transport direct from home to an activity sanctioned, though not provided by the LEA or school, such as work experience.
- The cost of ingredients or materials if parents have indicated in advance that they wish to own the finished product.
Outside school hours
defined as falling wholly or mainly outside of school hours provided that the activities are not :
- To fulfil any requirements specified in the syllabus for a prescribed public examination Specifically to fulfil statutory duties relating to the National Curriculum.
- Specifically to fulfil statutory duties relating to religious education.
- Participation in the optional extra activity is on the basis of parental choice and a willingness to meet the charges.
Note: The terms above do not prohibit charging for board and lodging except where parents are in receipt of income support or family credit and have requested not to do so.
The charges may include an element for:
- A pupil’s travel costs board and lodging costs, except where the parents are in receipt of income support or family credit, job seekers allowance or disability working allowance, or other financial circumstances known to the school prevent payment.
- Materials, books, instruments and other equipment.
- Non-teaching staff costs.
- Entrance fees to museums, castles, theatres, etc.
- Insurance costs.
- The engagement of teaching staff specifically for providing the activity and supplying such staff with travel, board and lodging, providing that if they are employed by the LEA or governors, they are employed to provide individual music tuition and engaged on a separate contract for services to provide the optional extra.
The contract may take the form of a letter inviting the teacher to provide certain services for a specific activity taking place at a specified time, in return for payment of expenses and, where appropriate, a fee.
Charges for individual pupils may not:
- Exceed the actual cost of providing the optional extra activity divided by the number of pupils willing participate.
- Include an element of subsidy for pupils whose parents wish them to participate but are unwilling or able to apply.
- Include the cost of alternative provision for more pupils who do not wish to participate, where a small part of the activity takes place in school hours.
The school may seek voluntary contributions for the benefit of the school or any school activities from parents to include the costs for accompanying teachers for any school activity but:
- Such contributions are genuinely voluntary and there is no obligation on a parent to make any contribution.
- Pupils will not be treated differently according to whether or not parents have made a contribution.
- Parents will be informed of the level of contribution and whether the activity could still take place if parents were reluctant to support it.
There is no limit on the level of voluntary contributions sought.
The statutory minimum remissions policy must provide for complete remission of board and lodging charges if requested to pupils whose parents receive income support or family credit if an activity takes place during school hours; or is out of school hours but covered by requirements relating to prescribed examinations syllabuses or duties relating to the National Curriculum or duties relating to religious education. The remissions policy must be kept under review by the governing body or LEA by whom it was determined.