Valley Gardens Middle School

Charging and Remissions Policy

1. Introduction

The Governing Body acknowledges the right of every student to receive free school education and understands that activities offered wholly or mainly during normal teaching time must be made available to all students regardless of their parents’ ability or willingness to help meet the cost.

The Governing Body also recognise the valuable contribution that the wide range of additional activities, trips and residential experiences can make towards students’ education and aim to promote and provide such activities both as part of a broad and balanced curriculum for the students of the school and as additional optional activities.

This policy is written in accordance with the DfE advice for the charging of school activities, published in November 1998 and updated in October 2014:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/514619/Charging_for_school_activities.pdf

2. The Legal Position

  1. In general, no charge can be made for admitting students to maintained schools. The general principle that no charge can be made for education in school hours (excluding the midday break) in maintained schools was first set out in the Education Reform Act 1988. Guidance came in the Circular 2/89, Education Reform Act 1988: Charges for School Activities.

 

The Circular explains that no charge can be made for any books, materials, instruments, equipment or transport for use in connection with education if the education is:

  1. Examinations

No charge can be made for entry to a public examination on the Secretary of State's prescribed list, except where the student without good reason fails to attend or meet the requirements of the examination (e.g. fails to submit coursework) where the Governing Body or Local Authority originally paid or agreed to pay the entry fee. An examination entry fee may also be charged to parents if:

                

  1. Admission

No charge can be made in connection with admission to a maintained school.

d) Finished Products

Where parents have expressed a wish in advance to have a finished product made at school (e.g. in craft, art or food and nutrition lessons) a charge can be made at cost price. The parents must know the charge for the product in advance.

e) Board and Lodging

A charge can be made for board and lodging on residential educational visits/activities, but parents who qualify for prescribed benefits and allowances are entitled to a remission of the charges.

Guidance on how to check the eligibility (for remission of charges) of children whose families receive tax credits can be accessed via the Department for Education website at www.education.gov.uk.

f) Transport

Transport to and from home to any activity not provided by, but permitted by, the school, can be charged for (the main example is work experience).

It is not possible to levy a compulsory charge for transport or admission costs for visits to museums, university etc., during school hours.

g) Voluntary Contributions

Parents may volunteer to pay for any educational activity. The school may request voluntary contributions for any visits/activities both inside and outside school time. However, NO student may be excluded from the activity for not having paid the contribution. The Headteacher and Governing Body may ask parents for a voluntary contribution towards the cost of:

Where there are not enough voluntary contributions to make the activity possible, and there is no way to make up the shortfall, then regretfully the activity will be cancelled.

h) Permitted Charges

The Governing Body reserves the right to make a charge for the following:

In all cases where a permitted charge is likely to be made the parents must be told the amount in advance.

i) Activities partly during school hours

In order to determine whether an activity that is undertaken partly during school hours and partly out of school hours the 50% rule is applied:

3. School Policy

The law allows Governing Bodies to charge only for the defined activities if they have first made a policy on charging and remissions.  This policy provides the Governing Body with the authority to levy a charge for particular occurrences as set out above.

4. Third Parties

The school is permitted to charge for the provision of educational services by a third party, but must ensure that the monies are paid directly to the third party organisation.

5. Voluntary Contributions

The Governing Body reserves the right to ask parents for a voluntary contribution towards the cost of:

Parents may be advised that the continuance of an activity may depend upon voluntary contributions but once it has been decided to run such an activity, no qualifying child will be excluded on the grounds of voluntary contributions.

6. Private use of facilities

Private use of the telephone and photocopying facilities by students are not permitted. In the rare case that a private telephone call is made it is deemed to be an emergency and no charge is made.

7. Remissions (EDITOR’S NOTE - Existing text in other school policies, doesn’t reflect current changes to benefits)

Parents of students who are in receipt of support payments that entitled them to free school meals will also be entitled to the remission of charges.  When arranging a chargeable activity such parents will be invited in confidence for the remission of charges in full or in part.  The Headteacher will make authorisation for such remission.

8. Equal Opportunities

The Headteacher will ensure that the school’s equal opportunities policies are observed in implementing the policy.         

9. Responsibilities

The Governing Body is responsible for making and reviewing the policy.

The Headteacher is responsible for the implementation of the policy and ensuring that staff, parents and students know the details as appropriate.

Other school staff may be responsible for implementing the policy as part of their overall responsibilities (e.g. the educational vists co-ordinator or Heads of Department etc)

10. Monitoring and Review

The School Business Manager will report on the policy to the Headteacher as appropriate.

The Headteacher will report to the Governors’ Resources Committee on any relevant aspects of the working of the policy as appropriate.

The Governing Body will review the policy every three years.

Agreed by Resources Committee

March 2018

Date for renewal

March 2021

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