The governing body cannot charge parents and pupils for any activity unless it has drawn up a charging policy. Moreover, when made, charges per pupil cannot exceed the actual costs incurred, which means that pupils who can pay should not be charged extra to cover the costs of those who cannot afford to.
The governing body must not charge for any activities which take place when the school is actually in session, excluding the break in the middle of the day. The exception is musical instrument tuition for individual pupils or pupils in groups of up to four, as long as such teaching is not an essential part of the National Curriculum or a public examination syllabus being followed by the pupil(s).
If the school wishes to run an activity during the school day for which it would need contributions from parents or others, it can invite voluntary contributions. However, no child should be excluded from such an activity because his or her parents cannot or will not contribute.
The school can charge for optional, extra activities provided mainly or wholly outside school hours as long as such teaching is not an essential part of the National Curriculum or religious education. Activities which are an essential part of the syllabus for an approved examination must be provided free.
Chapter 16 of A Guide to the Law for School Governors provides further, detailed guidance on residentials, use of mini-buses, public examinations and activities provided during school hours by external bodies.
The purpose of the policy is to ensure that, during the school day, all children have full and free access to a broad and balanced curriculum.
The school day is defined as:8.40 am -3.20pm
What was consulted?
The policy has been informed by A Guide to the Law for School Governors.
Relationship to other school policies
The policy complements the school's equal opportunities policy, curriculum policy and teaching and learning policy.
Roles and responsibilities of headteacher, other staff, governors
The headteacher will ensure that the following applies:
During the school day
All activities that are a necessary part of the National Curriculum plus religious education will be provided free of charge. This includes any materials, equipment and transport to take pupils between the school and the activity. It excludes charges made for teaching an individual pupil or groups of up to four pupils to play a musical instrument. Unless the teaching is an essential part of either the National Curriculum or a public examination syllabus being followed by the pupil(s), we will make a charge.
Voluntary contributions may be sought for activities during the school day which entail additional costs, [entrance fees to museums,zoo,farms and cost of travel.]
In these circumstances no pupil will be prevented from participating because his/her parents cannot or will not make a contribution.
From time to time we may invite a non-school based organisation such as [theatre groups] to arrange an activity during the school day.
Optional activities outside of the school day
We will charge for optional, extra activities provided outside of the school day, for example [sport club]. Such activities are not part of the National Curriculum or religious education, nor are they part of an examination syllabus.
Education partly during the school day
If a non-residential activity happens partly inside the school day and partly outside of it, there will be no charge if most of the time to be spent on the activity falls within the school day. Conversely, if the bigger proportion of time spent falls outside of the normal school day, charges will be made. When such activities are arranged parents will be told how the charges were calculated.
Charges will be made for board and lodging, except for pupils whose parents are in receipt of Income Support, Family Credit, Disability Working Allowance or an income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.
Other charges will be made to cover costs when the number of school sessions missed by the pupils totals half or more of the number of half-days taken up by the activity. In such cases parents will be told how the charges were calculated.
When charges are made for any activity, whether during or outside of the school day, they will be based on the actual costs incurred, divided by the total number of pupils participating. There will be no levy on those who can pay to support those who can't. Support for cases of hardship will come through voluntary contributions and fundraising.
Parents who would qualify for support are those who [list appropriate benefits or other criteria, e.g. those in receipt of Income Support, Family Credit, Disability Working Allowance or an income-based Jobseeker's Allowance].
The principles of best value will be applied when planning activities that incur costs to the school and/or charges to parents.
Arrangements for monitoring and evaluation
The Finance Committee of the governing body will monitor the impact of this policy by receiving on a annual basis a financial report on those activities that resulted in charges being levied, the subsidies awarded (without giving names) and the source of those subsidies.
Date established by governing body Jan 2016
Date for review Jan 2018