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It is the responsibility of the Governing Body to formulate and review a policy on charges.
Governors have discretion over what charges they make for pupils’ activities. It should reflect any special circumstances for the school. The Governing Body must also prepare a remissions policy and set out the circumstances in which they would remit all or part of the charges.
The Authority is required by Section 110 of the Education Reform Act 1988 to determine policies for making charges for school activities which are permitted by Section 109 of the Act (its “charging policy”) and remitting such charges (its “remissions policy”).
Any charges made may not exceed the cost of the optional extra, and may include an appropriate element for:
Teaching staff costs, including the cost of travel/board/lodging, where a teacher/instructor has been engaged specifically for the purpose of providing the activity. (The cost of any teachers employed by the Authority under a contract of employment may not be included)
The cost of an optional extra should be determined on the basis of the cost to each individual pupil participating in the activity. The amount of any charge shall be payable by the parent of the pupil concerned although participation in any optional extra must be subject to parental agreement.
Every Governing Body shall determine a policy on charges for any optional extra.
Whilst Section 106 of the Act prohibits charging for prescribed public examinations for which registered pupils are prepared at school, where a pupil is entered for a prescribed public examination for which he/she has not been prepared by the school (e.g. where a pupil has received private tuition for the examination or where an examination re-sit is undertaken without further preparation since the occasion of the first examination entry) the cost of the examination entry shall be passed on to the parents.
A charge may be made for the entry fee if a pupil, with her parents’ agreement, is entered for a non-prescribed public examination.
If a pupil fails without good reason to complete the examination requirements for any public examination (prescribed or otherwise) for which an entry fee has been paid or is liable to be paid, then the fee can be recovered from the parent. Failure to complete the examination requirements might include failure to complete course work and/or failure to sit the final examination(s).
Where a parent asks for examination results to be re-scrutinised, the charge made by the examining body for this service will be passed on to the parent.
Section 100 of the Act requires that pupils whose parents are in receipt of income support or family credit may not be charged for board and lodging for participation in a residential visit which forms part of the curriculum for a prescribed public examination or is provided specifically to fulfil statutory duties under the national curriculum. In respect of other optional extra activities, governing bodies should give consideration to the use of funds at their disposal, in accordance with powers vested in them by Section 109 of the Act, to subsidise the activity and remit charges in full or in part to pupils participating whose parents are in receipt of income support.
The existence of policies on charging and remission of charges does not prohibit voluntary contributions being sought for the benefit of any school or in support of any school activity.
In making a request or invitation for voluntary contributions it must be made clear that there is no obligation to contribute and that registered pupils at the school will not be treated differently according to whether or not their parents have made any contribution.