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Priory Woods School & Arts College

Priory Woods School & Arts College A Special Place to Learn

Charging Policy

1. Aims

Our school aims to:

  • Have robust, clear processes in place for charging and remissions
  • Clearly set out the types of activity that can be charged for and when charges will be made

The children at Priory Woods School access a wide range of opportunities within a broad and balanced curriculum both in and out of the school day. Priory woods heavily subsidises activities in and out of school to avoid where possible, charges to parents/carers. Priory Woods School has elements of funding that subsidises a significant number of these activities so there is a minimal cost to families.

There are a high proportion of families who are classed as deprived at Priory Woods School and a lot of families on low incomes or benefits. These families may not be able to afford to meet any charges that the school could impose or to make voluntary contributions. The school would still ask these families for voluntary contributions but would not exclude any children from activities if no contribution is forthcoming. Any appropriate charges that the school were entitled to make under Department for Education Guidance to these families would not result in their child being excluded from accessing additional opportunities.

The school currently has 64% of pupils on Pupil Premium (Feb 2018) opportunities. Over the 22 years the school has been open, a number of mechanisms have been put in place to ensure all children have access not only to a broad and balanced curriculum but additional opportunities on top of statutory requirements.

The Funding Streams that Priory Woods School access include:

The School Fund – monies are accessible through fundraising initiatives to subsidise school trips, out of school experiences, Christmas gifts, school equipment and class resources

The Friends of Priory Woods School – a charity set up solely to support the children of Priory Woods School. The charity supports major projects in school, e.g. fundraising for capital projects, minibuses, as well as being able to provide additional support as required.

2. Legislation and guidance

This policy is based on advice from the Department for Education (DfE) on charging for school activities and the Education Act 1996, sections 449-462 of which set out the law on charging for school activities in maintained schools in England.

3. Definitions

  • Charge: a fee payable for specifically defined activities
  • Remission: the cancellation of a charge which would normally be payable

4. Roles and responsibilities

4.1 The governing board

The governing board has overall responsibility for approving the charging and remissions policy, but can delegate this to a committee, an individual governor or the headteacher.

The governing board also has overall responsibility for monitoring the implementation of this policy.  

4.2 The head teacher / SBM

The head teacher and School Business Manager are responsible for ensuring staff are familiar with the charging and remissions policy, and that it is being applied consistently.

4.3 Staff

Our staff are responsible for:

  • Implementing the charging and remissions policy consistently
  • Notifying the head teacher / SBM of any specific circumstances which they are unsure about or where they are not certain if the policy applies

The senior leadership team will provide staff with appropriate training in relation to this policy and its implementation.

4.4   Parents

Parents are expected to notify staff or the headteacher of any concerns or queries regarding the charging and remissions policy.

5. Where charges cannot be made 

Below we set out what the school cannot charge for:

5.1 Education

  • Education provided during school hours (including the supply of any materials, books, instruments or other equipment)
  • Education provided outside school hours as part of the curriculum.
  • 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 examination / assessment if the pupil has been prepared for it at the school

5.2   Transport

  • All transport during school hours will be free of charge.

5.3   Residential visits

  • 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 School curriculum.
  • A syllabus for a prescribed assessment that the pupil is being prepared for at the school
  • Religious education
  • Supply teachers to cover for those teachers who are absent from school accompanying pupils on a residential visit.

6. Where charges can be made

Below we set out what the school can charge for.

6.1   Education

  • Any materials, books, instruments or equipment, where the child’s parent wishes him or her to own them
  • Optional extras (see below)
  • Music and vocal tuition, in limited circumstances
  • Community facilities

6.2   Optional extras

We are able to charge for activities known as ‘optional extras’. In these cases, the school can charge for providing materials, books, instruments or equipment. The following are optional extras:

  • Education provided outside of school time that is not part of:
  • The school curriculum
  • A syllabus for a prescribed assessment that the pupil is being prepared for at the school
  • Religious education
  • Transport (other than transport that is required to take the pupil to school or to other premises where the local authority/governing board has 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 (such as breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, tea and supervised homework sessions)

When 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 (including supply teachers engaged specifically to provide the optional extra)
  • 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 will not be greater than the actual cost of providing the optional extra activity, divided equally by the number of pupils participating.

Any charge will not include an element of subsidy for any other pupils who wish to take part in the activity but whose parents are unwilling or unable to pay the full charge.

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 not wish to participate.

Parental agreement is necessary for the provision of an optional extra which is to be charged for.

6.3   Music tuition

The school can charge for vocal or instrumental tuition provided either individually or to groups of pupils, provided that the tuition is provided at the request of the pupil’s parent.

Charges may not exceed the cost of the provision, including the cost of the staff giving the tuition.

Charges cannot be made:

  • If the teaching is an essential part of the national curriculum
  • For a pupil who is looked after by a local authority

6.4   Residential visits

We can charge for board and lodging on residential visits, but the charge must not exceed the actual cost. 

7. Voluntary contributions

As an exception to the requirements set out in section 5 of this policy, the school is able to ask for voluntary contributions from parents to fund activities during school hours which would not otherwise be possible.

Some activities for which the school may ask parents for voluntary contributions include:

A reduced contributions towards the board and lodge costs on residential visits when section 9 applies.

Contributions towards Educational Visits

A termly contribution towards the cost of the fruit trolley, juice money and class trips out.

There is no obligation for parents to make any contribution, and no child will be excluded from an activity if their parents are unwilling or unable to pay. If the school is unable to raise enough funds for an activity or visit then it will be cancelled.

8. Activities this school charges for

The school will charge for the following activities:

  • Cost of Board and Lodgings on Residential Visits
  • Costs / Contributions to Costs of Educational Visits

For regular activities, the charges for each activity will be determined by the governing board in line with costs and reviewed annually each year. Parents will be informed of the charges when pupils attend residential trips / educational visits.

9. Remissions

In some circumstances the school may not charge for items or activities set out in sections 6 and 8 of this policy. This will be at the discretion of the governing board and will depend on the activity in question.

9.1   Remissions for residential visits

Parents who can prove they are in receipt of the following benefits will be exempt from paying the cost of board and lodging for residential visits:

  • Universal credit in prescribed circumstances
  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit, provided that Working Tax Credit is not also received and the family’s income (as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) does not exceed £16,105
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • An income related employment and support allowance that was introduced on 27 October 2008

10. Monitoring arrangements

The Head teacher monitors charges and remissions, and ensures these comply with this policy.

This policy will be reviewed by the SBM annually. At every review, the policy will be approved by the Governing Body.