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charging for school trips - is this legal?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by angelfish1, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. The school I'm a governor at has just sent a letter home stating that a forthcoming trip is part of literacy work and therefore parents are required to pay £10 towards cost of bus, and no subsidies are available.
    I thought it was illegal to insist on money for trips that are part of the curriculum, and not to ask for voluntary contributions, even if yo u have to say 'the trip will not run if we do not get enough money'.
    I've googled 'law charging school trips' etc, but I can't find anything specific on it. Does anyone know where the law on this is spelt out?
    Thanks.
     
  2. http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/atoz/c/chargingforactivities/
    "Where education is provided wholly or mainly during school
    hours, it should be free. It is therefore not possible to levy a
    compulsory charge for transport or admission costs for swimming lessons or for
    visits to museums, etc. during school hours."
    http://www.governornet.co.uk/cropArticle.cfm?topicAreaId=28&contentId=701&mode=further
    Says much the same thing and gives references to the relevant law. Section 451 of the 1996 Education Act seems to be the relevant bit: "required as part of a syllabus for
    a prescribed public examination which is a syllabus for which the pupil
    is being prepared at the school"
    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1996/ukpga_19960056_en_28#pt6-ch3-pb2-l1g451

     
  3. Thank you. That's just what I need.
    NOw to see what the reaction is when I try and (tactfully!) bring it up....
     
  4. It may just be a badly-worded request by the school, rather than ignorance of the law, but I think a lot of schools aren't clear about when they are and are not allowed to ask for money, and what they have to do if people can't or won't pay. A first step might be to find out whether the school has a written policy to cover that.
     
  5. R13

    R13 New commenter

    As Governors you should have agreed a policy on charging - you should check your copy or ask for one
     
  6. I suspect it's been worded like that deliberately to try and make sure the trip goes ahead, as we often have parents who don't contribute. I will ask for the policy (I've only been a governor for a little while so I don't know when it was last reviewed or even if there is one) - I hadn't thought of that.
    Thank you.

     
  7. My school often request 'voluntary contributions' for educational visits. As the trip would not go ahead if lots of families did not pay, they are told that in the initial info.
     
  8. That's how it's always been worded where I work - or letters state that visit is NOT part of curriculum, therefore onyl those paying will go and the others will have ordinary timetable provided.
    But this definitely stated that the trip is part of literacy, and therefore required, and that parents have to pay £10.
     
  9. The law says that education is free so you cannot charge for it. You can organise a trip and ask for costs other than curriculum, e.g cost of the coach, but even this should be voluntary - why should someone pay extra for what is free?. Remember that some parents are on benefits which could affect their ability to pay. They have rights.Trips are a worthwhile experience but it can depend on the parental support enourmously.Your school should, by law, have a chargings policy. Check this out, but don't be entirely surprised if one doesn't exist!! The practical measure of this is to state in the letter that "if the costs cannot be met by the contributions, then the trip may be cancelled". It can save you a lot of hassle later!! However, if you really feel it's worth it, ask the governors to pay for it, or ask the head/LA for funding. Better still, find funding yourself. Try http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/atoz/c/chargingforactivities/

    I have charities can help. Try to search then out. Good luck!
     
  10. The law says that education is free so you cannot charge for it. You can organise a trip and ask for costs other than curriculum, e.g cost of the coach, but even this should be voluntary - why should someone pay extra for what is free?. Remember that some parents are on benefits which could affect their ability to pay. They have rights.Trips are a worthwhile experience but it can depend on the parental support enourmously.Your school should, by law, have a chargings policy. Check this out, but don't be entirely surprised if one doesn't exist!! The practical measure of this is to state in the letter that "if the costs cannot be met by the contributions, then the trip may be cancelled". It can save you a lot of hassle later!! However, if you really feel it's worth it, ask the governors to pay for it, or ask the head/LA for funding. Better still, find funding yourself. Try http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/atoz/c/chargingforactivities/

    I have charities can help. Try to search then out. Good luck!
    raised
     
  11. What about a morning trip to the pantomime etc? As it isn't curriculum based can a school only take those who pay?


     
  12. I can't find chapter and verse, but my understanding is that schools can't exclude children from any school-time activity because their parents haven't paid a voluntary contribution, because that's discriminating against children from low-income families. The school either has to take everyone who wants to go, or cancel the trip if not enough contributions have been received. Think about it - if you are asking for a "voluntary" contribution but refusing a place on the trip to anyone who hasn't paid, is that actually a voluntary contribution?
     

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