Charging Policy

Sections 449-462 of the Education Act 1996 sets out the law on charging for school activities in schools maintained by local authorities in England. Academies (including free schools, studio schools and university technical colleges) are required through their funding agreements to comply with the law on charging for school activities.

Education School governing bodies and local authorities, cannot charge for:

• an admission application to any state funded school - paragraph 1.9 (n) of the ‘School Admissions Code 2012’ rules out requests for financial contributions as any part of the admissions process;

• education provided during school hours (including the supply of any materials, books, instruments or other equipment);

• education provided outside school hours if it is part of the national curriculum1, or part of a syllabus for a prescribed public examination that the pupil is being prepared for at the school, or part of religious education;

• instrumental or vocal tuition, for pupils learning individually or in groups, unless the tuition is provided at the request of the pupil’s parent;

• entry for a prescribed public examination, if the pupil has been prepared for it at the school; 

• examination re-sit(s) if the pupil is being prepared for the re-sit(s) at the school.

 

Schools and local authorities can charge for:

• any materials, books, instruments, or equipment, where the child’s parent wishes him/her to own them;

• optional extras (see page below);

• music and vocal tuition, in limited circumstances ;

• certain early years provision;

• community facilities - The powers to provide community facilities are under s.27(1) of the Education Act

Optional extras

Charges may be made for some activities that are known as ‘optional extras’. Where an optional extra is being provided, a charge can be made for providing materials, books, instruments, or equipment. Optional extras are:

• education provided outside of school time that is not: a) part of the national curriculum; b) part of a syllabus for a prescribed public examination that the pupil is being prepared for at the school; or c) part of religious education.

• examination entry fee(s) if the registered pupil has not been prepared for the examination(s) at the school;

• transport (other than transport that is required to take the pupil to school or to other premises where the local authority/governing body have arranged for the pupil to be provided with education);

• board and lodging for a pupil on a residential visit;

• extended day services offered to pupils (for example breakfast club, after-school clubs, tea and supervised homework sessions). In calculating the cost of optional extras an amount may be included in relation to:

• any materials, books, instruments, or equipment provided in connection with the optional extra;

• the cost of buildings and accommodation;

• non-teaching staff;

• teaching staff engaged under contracts for services purely to provide an optional extra, this includes supply teachers engaged specifically to provide the optional extra; and

• the cost, or an appropriate proportion of the costs, for teaching staff employed to provide tuition in playing a musical instrument, or vocal tuition, where the tuition is an optional extra.

Any charge made in respect of individual pupils must not exceed the actual cost of providing the optional extra activity, divided equally by the number of pupils participating. It must 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. Furthermore in cases where a small proportion of the activity takes place during school hours the charge cannot include the cost of alternative provision for those pupils who do 6 not wish to participate. Therefore no charge can be made for supply teachers to cover for those teachers who are absent from school accompanying pupils on a residential visit. Participation in any optional extra activity will be on the basis of parental choice and a willingness to meet the charges. Parental agreement is therefore a necessary prerequisite for the provision of an optional extra where charges will be made.

 

Transport Schools cannot charge for:

• transporting registered pupils to or from the school premises, where the local education authority has a statutory obligation to provide transport;

• transporting registered pupils to other premises where the governing body or local authority has arranged for pupils to be educated;

• transport that enables a pupil to meet an examination requirement when he has been prepared for that examination at the school; 

• transport provided in connection with an educational visit.

 

Residential visits Schools cannot charge for:

• education provided on any visit that takes place during school hours;

 • education provided on any visit that takes place outside school hours if it is part of the national curriculum, or part of a syllabus for a prescribed public examination that the pupil is being prepared for at the school, or part of religious education;

• supply teachers to cover for those teachers who are absent from school accompanying pupils on a residential visit. Schools can charge for:

• board and lodging and the charge must not exceed the actual cost.

 

Non-residential activities

If 50% or more of the time spent on the activity occurs during school hours, it is deemed to take place during school hours. Time spent on travel counts in this calculation if the travel itself occurs during school hours. School hours do not include the break in the middle of the day. Where less than 50% of the time spent on an activity falls during school hours, it is deemed to have taken place outside school hours. For example, an excursion might require pupils to leave school an hour before the school day ends, but the activity does not end until late in the evening.

Residential visits

If the number of school sessions taken up by the visit is equal to or greater than 50% of the number of half days spent on the visit, it is deemed to have taken place during school hours (even if some activities take place late in the evening). Whatever the starting and finishing times of the school day, regulations require that the school day is divided into 2 sessions. A ‘half day’ means any period of 12 hours ending with noon or midnight on any day.

May 2018

For more information and Frequently Asked Questions click here