Charging and Remissions Policy
Charging for Education in maintained schools
Charging for educational activities in schools is covered by the Education Reform Act 1988. The objectives behind the provisions are to maintain the right to free school education, to clarify the law and to maintain valuable optional provision.
The basic principle is that education for registered pupils in maintained schools should be free of charge if it:
- takes place in school hours (ie the hours when the school is in session not counting the midday break); or
- is outside school hours but is required as part of a syllabus for a prescribed public examination, or is part of the National Curriculum, or part of the statutory religious education.
Definition of charges
The charges to which the act refers, are those levied by governing bodies or LEAs, but not other bodies, and which are payable by pupils or their parents. It permits charges for such activities as school book club, after school clubs or youth organisations, which might be given access to the pupils via the school.
The act makes clear that ‘no charge’ includes admission to the school and the cost of materials, books, instruments or other equipment. ‘Equipment’ does not include clothing.
Voluntary contributions can be requested for any of the school’s activities. The school makes it clear that there is no obligation to make a contribution and that no pupil whose parents do not make a contribution will be treated differently on this account.
The Governing Body of St Stephens Junior School have agreed that all children should be asked to make a voluntary contribution each year to meet certain optional extras children have access to. This includes, but is not limited to, swimming, visitors, performing arts, science and theatre groups and themed activity days or weeks.
The Governing Body also reserves the right to ask for a contribution or to make a charge in the following circumstances for activities organised by the school: school journeys, visits and activities, individual instrumental tuition and the cost of materials on occasion where these are deemed to be over and above that required by the national curriculum requirements.
Education outside school hours, which does not fall into any of the ‘no charge’ categories, may be charged for. Parents must agree to their child participating and be willing to meet any charge although the school will help parents with the cost where possible.
Any charge made cannot exceed the cost of provision for each pupil. It can include a proportion of the transport cost, board and lodgings, materials and equipment. Also non-teaching staff costs and the appropriate proportion of teaching staff costs where a teacher or instructor has been engaged specifically for the purpose of providing the activity, eg a swimming instructor.
If there is a provision included in a delegated budget to cover all or part of the provision of an activity for which charges can be made, the governing body could still decide to make a charge.