The Governing Body have approved a policy to cover charging and remission for school activities and school visits. The policy reflects guidance from the Department of Education and our aim to provide activities that are fully inclusive.
‘Inspiring Learning, Celebrating Achievement, Strengthening Community’
Headley Park Charging and Remissions Policy
The charging and remissions policies adopted by the governing body ensures that statutory requirements are met and is intended to reflect the general principles of the Education Act which identifies activities for which:
1) Charges will not be made
2) Charges will be made
3) Charges may be waived
The Trust will seek voluntary contributions for any activity in order to benefit the schools or support a school activity whether during or outside school hours, residential or non-residential and including inviting parents to pay for materials or ingredients where they wish to own the finished product. However all requests for voluntary contributions will emphasise their voluntary nature and the fact that pupils of parents who do not make such contributions will be treated no differently from those who have. Such contributions will be genuinely voluntary. There is no limit to the level of voluntary contributions which parents or others can make to school activities, nor is there any restriction placed on the use which can be made of such contributions, provided they are used for the purpose specified in the request for them. They could, for example, be used to subsidise pupils from low-income families, or the cost of travel for accompanying teachers.
The Trust states that:
- If the activity cannot be funded without voluntary contributions the parents will be notified of this from the outset.
- No child will be excluded from an activity because the parents are unable to pay.
- If insufficient contributions are raised the trip or activity may have to be cancelled.
- If a parent is unwilling or unable to pay, their child will be given an equal chance to go on the visit.
Education Provided Within School Hours
Education provided by any school for its registered pupils should be free of charge if it takes place wholly or mainly during school hours, school hours being those hours when a school is actually in session and not including the break in the middle of the day. This means that neither the pupil nor his or her parents or guardian may be required to pay for, or to supply, any materials, books, instruments or other equipment for use in connection with education provided during school hours.
Education Provided Out of School Hours
Where education is provided out of school hours, charging is permitted, except where the education is provided:
- a) to fulfil any requirements specified in the syllabus for a prescribed Public examination; or
- b) specifically to fulfil statutory duties relating to the National Curriculum:
- c) to fulfil duties relating to Religious Education.
In these cases the only charge that may be made is for board and lodging or for residential trips.
The main exception to the principle of free education, which the law allows is that a charge may be made in respect of individual tuition in playing any musical instrument, even if such tuition takes place during school hours. Parental agreement must be obtained before a pupil is given that tuition.
- a) If a charge is made for each pupil it should not exceed the actual cost. If further funds are needed for additional costs e.g. to help hardship cases this must be by voluntary contributions or general fund raising.
- b) The permitted charge may include an allowance for the costs of teachers from the school who supervise the activity.
Board and Lodging on Residential Visits
Board & lodging on residential visits may be charged for whether or not the visit takes place within school time and whether or not the activity is provided to fulfil the requirements of
- the syllabus of a prescribed public examination; or
- of the National Curriculum; or
- to fulfil statutory duties relating to religious education.
Charges for board and lodging must not exceed the actual cost to the pupil. They must not, for example, include any element representing a share of the costs of staff accompanying the visit. (This may, however, be covered by voluntary contributions.)
The Trust will, as a statutory minimum, remit any charges for board and lodging in the case of pupils whose parents are in receipt of Income Support or Child Tax Credit etc. where the activity is deemed to take place in school hours. The Trust may wish to consider whether to remit charges in other circumstances.
‘Optional extra’ Activities
‘Optional extra’ activities are those which take place wholly or mainly outside school hours, but which are not provided as part of the syllabus for a prescribed public examination and are not required in order to fulfil statutory duties relating to the national curriculum or to religious education.
Participation will be on the basis of parental choice and a willingness to meet such charges as are made. Any charge made in respect of individual pupils may include an appropriate element for the following: a pupil’s travel costs; a pupil’s board and lodging; materials, books, instruments and other equipment; non-teaching staff costs; entrance fees to museums, theatres etc; insurance costs.
It should be noted that any charge for an ‘optional extra’ activity, as distinct from a request for a voluntary contribution, should not exceed the actual cost of providing that activity, divided equally by the number of pupils willing to participate. It may not, therefore, include an element of subsidy for any other pupils wishing to participate in the activity whose parents are unwilling or unable to pay the full charge.
The costs of teaching staff involved in optional extra activities may only be passed on through charges if:-
- they are engaged specifically by the governors for the purpose of providing the activity;
- they are employed by the governors to provide instrumental music tuition; or
- they are teachers already employed by the governors, who have been engaged on a separate contract for services to provide the optional extra.
Public Examination Entries
The schools are required to enter a pupil for each examination in a syllabus for a prescribed public examination for which the pupil has been prepared. A pupil is regarded as having been prepared for the syllabus at the school if the school has provided any part of the necessary preparation. The requirement to enter a pupil may only be lifted where, in the opinion of the governing body, there are educational reasons for not entering the pupil, or where the pupil’s parents request in writing that the pupil should not be entered.
If a pupil fails, without good reason, to complete the examination requirements for any public examination for which the governing body has paid or is liable to pay an entry fee, that fee can be recovered from parents.
School Minibuses or transport provided by the LA
Any transport provided in school hours by the LA or the school to carry particular pupils between parts of the school’s premises or between the school and any other place where education is to be provided by the LA or the school must be provided free of charge. However, if a pupil makes use of transport not provided by the LA or school to travel direct from home to an activity sanctioned, though not provided by the LA or the school, then parents may be asked to meet the cost of such travel. An example of this would be travel direct from home to work experience and vice versa.
Charging in Kind
The cost of ingredients, materials, equipment etc. needed for practical subjects such as craft or food technology, must be budgeted for and borne by the school. Parents who are willing to contribute in cash or kind can however be encouraged to do so on a voluntary basis.
The school may charge for, or require the supply of, ingredients and materials if parents have indicated in advance a wish to own the finished product, if there is one. Schools should obtain written confirmation from parents that they wish to supply or pay for materials on this basis.
Pupils must not be treated differently according to whether or not materials are being provided by their parents. The governors’ charging policy should make their policy on this clear. It should be recognised that much of the practical work in craft or food technology is of an investigative nature and will not necessarily result in a “finished product”, however this is an essential part of the learning process.
Breakages and Fines
There is nothing to prevent schools from asking parents to pay for the cost of replacing a broken window or defaced, damaged or lost textbook where this is the result of a pupil’s behaviour. Parents cannot, however, be taken to court for this money.
Any change in policy requires the approval of the Finance, Risk and Audit Committee.