Under the terms of the 1988 Education Act the regulations governing the charges schools can make for school visits and materials used in practical lessons to make things are complex and potentially restrictive on the work schools can do in these areas. The main points are as follows:
1. The school may not charge for any journey specifically required for GCSE or A Level work.
2. The school may not charge for any trip arranged during school time whether it be a day visit or a stay in a hostel or hotel, unless parents are willing to pay voluntarily for their children to go.
3. In all instances where a school activity involves students in nights away from home, a charge will be made to meet the costs of board and lodging.
4. Where school visits etc. are arranged outside school hours, the parents can be charged for the costs of such visits.
5. Students whose parents are in receipt of income support or family credit may not be charged for board and lodging when taking part in a residential visit which is required by the syllabus of a prescribed public examination. 6. The school may not charge for the cost of materials used by children in school to make things in various lessons or in projects, unless the child wishes to keep the item made, in which case the parents have to pay.
This means that unless parents are willing to pay voluntarily for their children to take part in school visits and are also willing to pay for the materials used in practical lessons, then such visits will not take place and the scope of practical work will be drastically reduced, since the school cannot afford to pay for visits, nor can it afford to pay for the expensive materials often used up to now in practical work.
Therefore, parents are informed of this situation and are invited to give voluntary financial support in these areas as they have done in the past. So far they have given the school their full support in this.