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School charging parents comes under attack

13 March 2015

A state school has come under fire over reports it asked prospective parents for cash when offering places. The school is reportedly now facing investigations from the EFA and the OSA into potential breaches of the Admissions Code.

The Code is clear that schools cannot give priority to children on the basis of any financial support parents may give to the school. However, once admitted, schools can ask parents for voluntary contributions for the benefit of the school or any school activities. Upon doing so, they must ensure that parents are clear that there is no obligation to make any contribution and that their child will not be excluded from an activity simply because they are unwilling or unable to pay.

School policies on charging and remissions must comply with DfE guidance and be clear, transparent and accessible. Schools are increasingly asking for contributions to help plug widening gaps in their funding, but a failure to communicate the voluntary nature of these could result in damaging press and unwelcome scrutiny.

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