Charges for School Activities
Legislation allows schools to charge for certain activities which take place both inside and outside school hours. Norfolk County Council has adopted a policy, which it recommends to governors, but it is for governors of schools to decide whether or not to follow the policy. The School’s charging policy must be described in its prospectus, which can be obtained from the school. It is also a requirement that the School’s charging policy is provided on its’ website. If your son or daughter’s school governors follow the County Council’s charging policy, these are the activities and materials for which you will be charged:
Vocal or Instrumental tuition, which is not part of the syllabus for an approved public examination, part of the National Curriculum or provided under the first access to the key stage 2 Instrumental and Vocal Tuition Programme.
Charges may be made for tuition provided individually or to groups of any size, provided the tuition is provided at the request of the pupil’s parent. No charge may be made in respect of a pupil who is looked after by the local authority.
Ingredients and materials
Ingredients and materials for practical subjects where parents have indicated in advance that they wish to receive the finished articles.
Travel: Schools cannot charge for:
• Transporting registered pupils to or from school premises, where the local education authority has a statutory obligation to provide transport.
• Transporting registered pupils to other premises where arrangements have been made for pupils to be educated.
• Transport enabling a pupil to meet an examination requirement where prepared for that examination at the school.
Board and lodging
Board and lodging will be charged in all cases where a school activity involves pupils in nights away from home. The charge must not exceed the actual cost.
Activities outside school hours
A charge can be made for all non-residential activities, which take place wholly, or more than 50% outside school hours, where the child’s participation has been agreed in advance by the parents. The charge can include the cost of travel, entrance fees, insurance, books, equipment and any staff (teaching or non-teaching) engaged specifically for the activity.
Residential trips - a residential trip is deemed to take place outside school hours if the number of ‘missed’ school sessions is less than 50% of the number of half days taken up by the trip.
Pupils are away from noon on Wednesday to 9pm on Sunday. This counts as 9 half days including 5 school sessions, so the visit is deemed to have taken place during school hours.
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, part of a syllabus for a public examination 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 ask parents for voluntary contributions towards the cost of:
• Any activity taking place during school hours
• School Equipment
• General School Funds
Children of parents unwilling or unable to contribute may not be discriminated against. If insufficient voluntary contributions are received, with no alternative method to make up the shortfall, the activity should be cancelled. It is advisable to make parents aware from the outset of the possible cancellation of an activity if insufficient voluntary contributions are received.
Public Examinations - charges are made for the entry of a pupil for a prescribed examination for which he/she has not been prepared by the school, or where the pupil entered for examinations in the same subject with two examination boards.
Remission of charges - only parents who are in receipt of Universal Credit (when fully rolled out), Income Support, Working Families’ Credit, Disabled Person’s Tax Credit or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance are eligible for remission of charges. Remission of charges only applies to board and lodgings charges, which are levied directly by the LA or the school and where they relate to activities, deemed to take place wholly or partly in school hours.
Remission will not apply to such charges when they relate to activities wholly outside school hours, except if the activity is prescribed in a syllabus for a public examination, if it is prescribed by the National Curriculum or fulfils duties relating to Religious Education.
Parents who have difficulty meeting any charges should discuss the matter in confidence with the Headteacher.
Learning Outside the Classroom guidance:
Latest DfE guidelines: