The Authority’s policy on charging for school activities in respect of schools maintained by the Wirral Authority is set out below:
1. The Wirral Education Authority endorses the principles that education in maintained schools should be free and that no pupil’s education should be affected by his or her parent’s unwillingness or inability to pay or to contribute towards the cost of the pupil’s education.
2. Pupils should not be required to pay for any materials, books, instruments or other equipment for use in connection with education provided during school hours; but schools may charge for or require the supply of ingredients or materials for practical subjects where parents have indicated in advance a wish to own the finished product.
3. A charge is made for instrumental music tuition provided by the Authority’s Instrumental Music Service in groups of up to 4.
4. No charge shall be made by the LEA or by any governing body for any activity taking place in school time, but charges may be made to cover the costs of board and lodging on residential trips. No charge shall be made for board and lodging if the pupil’s parents are in receipt of Income Support or Family Credit for any part of the period when the activity takes place.
5. No charge shall be made by the LEA or by any governing body in respect of staff or material costs at the Oaklands residential centre. No charge shall be made for travel to and from Oaklands if the visit takes place during school hours, but a charge may be made for travel at the discretion of the governors if the visit is an “optional extra”. A charge shall be made for board and lodging at Oaklands, but the charge shall be remitted if the pupil’s parents are in receipt of Income Support or Family Credit when the visit takes place.
6. (i) No charge shall be made for entry fees for prescribed public examinations for which registered pupils have been prepared at school. However, charges will be made in the following circumstances:
(a) for examinations for which the pupil has not been prepared at school;
(b) for examinations which are not prescribed;
(c) where the preparation provided by the school enables a pupil to enter for two or more examinations, the parents shall be charged for the cost of sitting the second and subsequent examinations; where fees vary, the parent shall be charged for the higher fees;
(d) if a pupil fails without good reason to complete all the examination requirements and is consequently ungraded in the examination
(ii) There shall be no remission of any charges levied in accordance with clauses (a) to (d) of paragraph 6(i).
7. In respect of activities defined as “optional extra” under the terms of the Education Reform Act 1988, charges may be made by the governors to cover the costs of board and lodging, travel, materials, books or other equipment, entrance fees, teaching and non-teaching staff and any other costs attributable to the provision of the activity.
8. In respect of travelling costs arising out of work experience placements, parents may be asked to meet those expenses and governing bodies should decide whether, and in what circumstances, to remit them.
9. The amount of charge permitted by the Education Reform Act 1988 and the decision whether to remit any such charge shall be determined by the governors where the cost of provision of the optional extra or the board and lodging is met by or from funds at the disposal of the governors and in any other case by the LEA.
10. Where charges, for example, for board and lodging, are to be remitted, the costs will be borne out of school funds.