House of Commons
Other Bills before Parliament
Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)
|School Standards and Framework Bill
|EXPLANATORY AND FINANCIAL MEMORANDUM
| The Bill introduces a wide range of provisions relating to raising standards in schools and the establishment of a new schools framework. It gives effect to a significant number of the proposals set out in the White Paper "Excellence in Schools" (Cm 3681) published on 7 July 1997.
| The main provisions on raising school standards relate to placing limits on infant class sizes; the role and responsibilities of local education authorities (including power for the Secretary of State to secure proper performance of local education authority functions); the setting up of Education Action Zones; and arrangements for intervening in schools causing concern. The main provisions setting up the new schools framework relate to new categories for schools; the establishment, alteration and discontinuance of schools; school government; financial management; staffing and conduct; religious education and worship; and arrangements for the admission and selection of pupils. It also contains provisions relating to home-school agreements; work related learning at Key Stage 4; school meals; nursery education; partnership arrangements in Wales; for the dissolution of the Funding Agency for Schools and for changing the name of the Education Assets Board.
| The Bill extends to England and Wales only.
| Clauses 1 to 4 allow the Secretary of State to introduce limits on the maximum size of infant classes in maintained schools, to ensure that local education authorities (LEAs) and schools comply with such limits, and that grant may be paid to support the introduction of the limits.
| Clause 1 gives the Secretary of State powers to set limits for the maximum size of infant classes in maintained schools; determine the dates from which such limits will apply; set different maxima for different year groups, and apply these from different dates; and set out in regulations any exceptions to the limits that are to be imposed. It places a duty upon local education authorities and schools to exercise their functions so as to comply with any class size limits that may be imposed by the Secretary of State under these powers.
| Clause 2 places a duty upon local education authorities to prepare statements for the Secretary of State's approval setting out how they propose to implement any limits on class sizes introduced under clause 1, and upon others to provide any information that authorities may reasonably demand of them.
| Clause 3 empowers the Secretary of State to pay grants to LEAs to enable them to comply with limits on the size of infant classes. He may withhold such payments from any authority whose statement has not been approved by him. Grant may be made dependent upon the fulfilment of any conditions set out in regulations.
| Clause 4 defines terms used in clauses 1 to 3.
| Clause 5 places a duty on every LEA to exercise their functions with a view to promoting high standards of education for pupils of school age in their area.
| Clause 6 places a duty on every LEA to prepare an education development plan (EDP) consisting of a statement of their proposals for developing the provision of education for children in their area. It allows the Secretary of State to make regulations concerning the content and annexes of an EDP; outlines whom an authority should consult in preparing their EDP; and places authorities under a duty to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State.
| Clause 7 sets out the process whereby LEAs submit their EDPs to the Secretary of State for approval. The Secretary of State can approve, reject or ask for modifications to a plan. He will review LEAs' implementation of their plans and can withdraw his approval if he thinks fit.
| Clause 8 gives the Secretary of State powers to ensure that LEAs are performing their functions to an adequate standard. Where the Secretary of State is satisfied that a LEA is failing in the discharge of specified functions in relation to school education, he may direct an officer of the authority to secure that those specified functions are performed so as to achieve specified objectives or he may secure that another person performs those specified functions on behalf of the authority. The direction may, where it would be expedient or economical for the specified functions and other functions to be performed by one person, specify that that other person exercise those other functions, even though those other functions were not identified as failing.
| The clause also confers on the person who performs functions on behalf of the authority certain powers concerning entry to premises and access to information.
| Clause 9 provides for local government committees or sub-committees which deal with education business to include representatives of parents, and allows the Secretary of State make provision in regulations concerning their election, terms of office, voting rights, the application of other legislation to such committees or sub-committees, and any related matters.
| Clause 10 enables Education Action Zones to be established with the express purpose of raising standards in schools. They will exist for between three and five years in the first instance and will consist of clusters of schools who wish to work together within Zones for the purpose of raising standards.
| Clause 11 and Schedule 1 provide for the creation and termination of an Education Action Forum to lead each Zone. The Forum is to be a corporate body and these provisions set out the Forum's minimum membership requirements.
| Clause 12 sets out the arrangements under which a governing body may, if they wish, pass some of their duties and responsibilities in running their school to the Forum. This means that in some cases the Forum could be acting to a degree as a common governing body for the Zone schools during the life of the Zone.
| Clause 13 allows for the disapplication of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1991 in relation to teachers in Zone schools.
| Clauses 14 to 19 set out powers of intervention in respect of schools causing concern.
| Clauses 14 to 17 allow a local education authority to issue a warning notice to a school where standards are unacceptably low or at risk. The LEA may appoint additional governors and suspend financial delegation at a maintained school which requires special measures or has serious weaknesses or to which a warning notice has been issued. The clauses also provide for the appointment of additional governors by the appropriate appointing authority of a voluntary aided school in certain circumstances.
| Clauses 18 and 19 contain provisions enabling the Secretary of State to appoint (and pay) additional governors and thereby take a controlling majority on the governing body of a maintained school requiring special measures; and to direct a LEA to discontinue a maintained school requiring special measures.
| Clause 20 sets out the categories into which schools will be divided in the new framework for schools: community, foundation and voluntary schools and community and foundation special schools. Schedule 2 provides for the allocation of LEA maintained schools to the new categories and the process by which grant-maintained schools will choose their new category, including cases where the final determination will be made by the Secretary of State.
| Clause 21 defines different kinds of foundation and voluntary school and different kinds of foundations separate from the school. It also enables the Secretary of State to make regulations governing foundation bodies established under this clause.
| Clause 22 sets out the duty of local education authorities to maintain publicly funded schools. Schedule 3 sets out the functions of governing bodies, local education authorities and the Secretary of State in relation to the funding of foundation, voluntary and foundation special schools.
| Clause 23 and Schedule 4 require each LEA to establish a school organisation committee for their area, and enable the Secretary of State to make regulations as to the constitution and proceedings of that committee.
| Clause 24 and Schedule 5 make provision for the appointment of adjudicators and enable the Secretary of State to make regulations for the procedure to be followed by them.
| Clause 25 requires each LEA to prepare a school organisation plan for their area and enables the Secretary of State to make regulations as to the contents, preparation and approval of the plan.
| Clause 26 allows regulations to be made enabling local education authorities in Wales to establish school organisation committees and enabling the Secretary of State to appoint adjudicators, or panels of adjudicators, for Wales. The provisions as to school organisation committees and adjudicators may be introduced in Wales with or without modifications. The clause also allows the Secretary of State to apply to Wales the provisions of Chapter II or VII of this Part or Chapter I of Part III which otherwise apply only in England, and to disapply provisions in those Chapters which apply exclusively to Wales.
| Clauses 27 and 28 and Schedule 6 provide for the publication of proposals for establishing, making prescribed alterations to or discontinuing any community, foundation or voluntary school, for decisions on these proposals to be made by the school organisation committee or adjudicator (in England) or by the Secretary of State (in Wales) and for the implementation of approved proposals.
| Clause 29 enables the governing body of a foundation or voluntary school to discontinue the school by serving two years' notice of their intention to do so and makes supplementary provisions relating to the discontinuance of a school.
| Clause 30 makes similar provision for community and foundation special schools to that in clauses 27 and 28 for community, foundation and voluntary schools.
| Clause 31 empowers the Secretary of State to direct the LEA to discontinue a community or foundation special school on health, safety or welfare grounds.
| Clause 32 prevents certain changes from being made to schools without the publication of proposals and enables the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring the provision of information concerning proposals published under clauses 27 to 31.
| Clause 33 and Schedule 7 give the Secretary of State a reserve power to direct LEAs and governing bodies to make proposals for the rationalisation of school places and provide for the Secretary of State to make such proposals himself.
| Clause 34 and Schedule 8 make provision for a school to change from one category to another. They provide that, except where the change is from voluntary aided to voluntary controlled status, a change of category cannot be made before the end of a period prescribed by regulations.
| Clause 35 and Schedules 9, 10 and 11 alter the current requirements regarding the constitution of school governing bodies in the light of the new schools framework. They provide for the governing bodies of all maintained schools to have additional parent governors and governors appointed by the LEA. Part I of Schedule 9 describes the categories of governors to be appointed. Part II sets out details of the composition of the governing body by type of school. Schedule 10 provides for governing bodies to be incorporated bodies and sets out their powers. Schedule 11 deals with membership, proceedings, expenses, training and clerking. Part I enables the Secretary of State to make regulations on membership and proceedings. Part II enables the Secretary of State to make regulations on allowances and requires LEAs to provide information and training. Part III enables the Secretary of State to make regulations on the appointment and dismissal of clerks to governing bodies.
| Clause 36 and Schedule 12 make new provision about the content of instruments of government, including provision about the school name and the way in which instruments are made, reviewed and varied.
| Clause 37 places a new duty on governing bodies to conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement and enables the Secretary of State to make regulations setting out terms of reference for the governing body.
| Clause 38 deals with the governing body's additional functions. It places a new duty on governing bodies to establish procedures for dealing with complaints about the school. It enables governing bodies to require pupils to attend outside the school premises. It requires community, voluntary controlled and community special schools to comply with any direction on health or safety given by the LEA. These provisions apply direct rather than through articles of government. (This is different from the position under the Education Act 1996.)
| Clause 40 concerns the responsibility for fixing dates of terms and holidays and times of session, and the procedure for varying the times of sessions. These provisions also now are to apply direct rather than through articles of government.
| Clause 39 and Schedule 13 make provision for the control by the governing body of a maintained school of the occupation and use of the school's premises.
| Clause 41 replaces section 161 of, and Schedule 17 to, the Education Act 1996. Like those provisions, it places a duty on the governing body of a maintained school to produce an annual report. However, unlike those provisions, the content of the report is to be determined pursuant to regulations, rather than the articles of government. The clause also replaces section 165 of the Education Act 1996. As with that section, the provision made relates to duties on the governing body and the head teacher of a maintained school to provide information about the discharge of their respective functions.
| Clause 42 concerns governors' annual parents' meetings. These provisions now apply direct rather than through articles of government. The Secretary of State may make regulations about how those proceedings should be conducted and who should be treated as a parent of a registered pupil.
| Clauses 43 to 51 replace Chapter V of Part II of the Education Act 1996, and make revised provision for the funding by LEAs of schools maintained by them (except pupil referral units and nursery schools). The main changes involve the use of regulations to deal with certain matters hitherto covered by LEA "schemes".
| Clause 43 requires each LEA, in each financial year, to allocate a budget share to each of their maintained schools (as defined in that clause). The budget shares are to be determined in accordance with clauses 44 and 45.
| Clause 44 defines the LEA's Aggregated Schools Budget (ASB) as equal to their General Schools Budget (GSB) less such amounts as are set aside by the LEA in accordance with regulations. The precise scope of the GSB will itself be defined in regulations.
| Clause 45 requires the LEA to distribute the ASB between schools in the form of budget shares determined in accordance with regulations. As well as dealing with the calculation of budget shares, the regulations may lay down consultation requirements.
| Clause 46 and Schedule 14 require each LEA to prepare a "scheme" regulating prescribed matters connected with the financing of schools. Schemes will be subject to the Secretary of State's approval. Schedule 14 deals with procedures for their preparation, approval, and revision.
| Clause 47 provides for the delegation of budgets to the governing bodies of all maintained schools (with limited and temporary exceptions).
| Clause 48 empowers a governing body, subject to their LEA's schemes, to spend their delegated budget share as they see fit for the purposes of the school, or for other prescribed purposes.
| Clause 49 and Schedule 15 enable a LEA to suspend a governing body's right to a delegated budget on grounds of financial mismanagement or breaches of rules under the LEA's scheme. Schedule 15 also deals with such matters as the review of suspensions by the LEA and the right of schools to appeal to the Secretary of State.
| Clause 50 requires LEAs to prepare and publish financial statements before the beginning and after the end of each financial year, in accordance with regulations.
| Clause 51 makes provision for the certification of statements prepared under clause 50.
| Clause 52 and Schedule 16 contain provisions relating to the school staffing duties and responsibilities of governing bodies and LEAs in the case of community, voluntary controlled and community special schools.
| Clause 53 and Schedule 17 contain provisions relating to the school staffing duties and responsibilities of governing bodies and LEAs in the case of foundation, voluntary aided and foundation special schools.
| Clause 54 contains provisions relating to the staffing duties and responsibilities of governing bodies and LEAs in the case of maintained schools where non-school activities are undertaken on school premises.
| Clause 55 sets out for maintained schools the duties and responsibilities of governing bodies and LEAs with regard to payments in respect of staff dismissals or premature retirements, or for the purpose of securing the resignation of staff.
| Clause 56 makes further provision in relation to staffing duties and responsibilities for governing bodies of maintained schools with a religious character, with respect to the appointment and dismissal of teachers.
| Clause 57 provides a general protection for teachers and non-teaching staff in secular maintained schools against any disadvantage in employment on the basis of their religious opinions or worship or lack of them, or for not giving religious education.
| Clause 58 sets out the respective employment safeguards for both the governing bodies of maintained schools with a religious character and teachers and non-teaching staff of such schools with respect to the religious opinions and worship of staff.
| Clause 59 requires the governing body and head teacher of every maintained school to make and publicise a policy for the promotion of good discipline.
| Clause 60 gives the LEA reserve powers to take steps to prevent a breakdown of discipline within maintained schools.
| Clause 61 allows a head teacher to exclude a pupil either for a fixed period or periods of up to 45 days in any one school year or permanently.
| Clause 62 requires the head teacher to inform the parent and, in certain circumstances, the governing body and the LEA, of an exclusion.
| Clause 63 requires the governing body to consider parental representations and direct reinstatement in certain circumstances.
| Clause 64 and Schedule 18 require the LEA to make arrangements enabling the relevant person to appeal against a decision by the governing body of a maintained school not to reinstate a pupil.
| Clause 65 and Schedule 19 set out who is responsible for securing statutory religious education (RE), and describe the nature of RE in each of the following three categories: community schools, and foundation and voluntary schools without a religious character; foundation and voluntary controlled schools with a religious character; and voluntary aided schools with a religious character. The clause also explains that schools with a religious character will be designated by regulations.
| Clause 66 and Schedule 20 set out who is responsible for securing statutory collective worship, and describe the nature of collective worship in the following categories: community schools and secular foundation schools; and foundation schools with a religious character and all voluntary schools.
| Clause 67 sets out certain exceptions and special arrangements relating both to RE and collective worship, including: parents' right to withdraw their children; arrangements for children so withdrawn to receive RE elsewhere; and additional arrangements for children at maintained boarding schools.
| Clause 68 enables provision to be made by regulations for new schools.
| Clause 69 provides safeguards for staff whose employer changes from a LEA to a governing body, or vice versa, on the appointed day. The appointed day is the day when a maintained school is allocated its new status in the new framework created by this Bill. It also states the duties and responsibilities of a governing bodies or a LEA in the case of a school with staff so affected.
| Clause 70 and Schedule 21 set out the arrangements for transfers of land on the appointed day.
| Clause 71 and Schedule 22 set out rules which apply when governing bodies, group foundations or trustees dispose of school land and buildings which are no longer required by a continuing or a discontinued foundation, voluntary school or foundation special school.
| Clauses 72 and 73 make miscellaneous provision in relation to maintained schools. They enable schools to provide further education and enable the Secretary of State to modify employment law in relation to the staffing of schools.
| Clause 74 enables the Secretary of State to modify trust deeds relating to schools which are, or are to become, foundation, voluntary or foundation special schools in consequence of the operation of any provision of the Bill.
| Clause 75 requires the Secretary of State to issue a Code of Practice to which an admission authority (or a person to whom admission functions have been delegated), an adjudicator and an appeal committee must have regard in carrying out their functions under this Chapter.
| Clause 76 requires the Secretary of State to prepare a draft Code of Practice and consult such persons as he thinks fit. Provision is also made for seeking Parliamentary approval.
| Clause 77 requires LEAs to make arrangements for parents to express a preference as to the school they wish their child to attend, and requires LEAs and the governing bodies of maintained schools to comply with that preference unless any of the stated exceptions apply. It now also provides that the exception based on prejudice to the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources may apply where complying with the preference would cause the limit on class sizes to be breached (contrary to the duty in clause 1(4)).
| Clause 78 disapplies the clause 77 duty for a period of two years in cases where the child concerned has been excluded from two or more schools.
| Clause 79 defines the terms "admission authority" and "admission arrangements".
| Clause 80 sets out the procedures to be followed by admission authorities in determining their admission arrangements, including a requirement for consultation. It also requires the adjudicator (or, in Wales, the Secretary of State) to consider proposed in-year variations to those arrangements.
| Clause 81 sets out the circumstances in which admission authorities may refer objections about proposed admission arrangements to either the adjudicator or the Secretary of State. (The Secretary of State rather than the adjudicator considers denominational issues.) The clause sets out the procedures for reaching and publishing decisions on such objections as they apply to the adjudicator and the Secretary of State. It also provides for associated regulations to be made.
| Clause 82 provides for a LEA and the governing body of a foundation or voluntary aided school to make arrangements for the admission of pupils which will preserve the particular religious character of the school. The adjudicator or the Secretary of State may decide such matters where agreement between the LEA and governing body cannot be achieved. This extends a similar provision which now applies to aided and special agreement schools.
| Clause 83 sets out the requirements for and enables regulations to be made about the publication of information by LEAs and school governing bodies.
| Clause 84 and Schedule 23 provide for the determination, variation and review of standard numbers for admission to community, foundation and voluntary schools.
| Clause 85 and Schedule 24 require admission authorities to make arrangements for parents to appeal against their decision, provide for joint arrangements to be made and set out the detailed arrangements which apply to appeals brought by parents against admissions decisions taken by local education authorities and governing bodies.
| Clause 86 and Schedule 25 disapply the duty to make arrangements for parental appeals against refusal of admission where the provisions of clause 78 apply, and require the LEA to make arrangements for the governing body of a school for which the LEA are the admission authority to appeal against the LEA's decision that such a pupil should be admitted. The Schedule sets out the detailed arrangements which apply to an appeal brought by the governing body of a school (where the LEA is responsible for admissions) against the LEA's decision to admit to that school a pupil who has been excluded from two or more schools and to whom the provisions of clause 78 apply.
| Clause 87 empowers a LEA to direct a school to admit a child who has been refused admission to, or permanently excluded from, all schools within reasonable distance from his home. But it precludes a direction where the child's admission would put the school in breach of the class size duty (clause 1(4)).
| Clause 88 sets out the procedure to be followed by the local education authority in issuing a direction under clause 87.
| Clause 89 disapplies certain requirements relating to admission arrangements where a child is admitted for nursery education, where admission is to a special school, or where a child has a statement of special educational needs. The Secretary of State is given a power to prescribe admission arrangements relating to community or foundation special schools.
| Clause 90 prohibits any maintained school from operating admission arrangements which select pupils by ability or aptitude unless it is a grammar school or the arrangements are permitted forms of selection as set out in clauses 91 to 94.
| Clause 91 enables a school which selects by aptitude or ability at the beginning of the 1997-98 school year to continue to do so providing there is no increase in the proportion of pupils selected or change in the basis upon which they are selected. This clause does not apply to grammar schools.
| Clause 92 allows schools to select by ability if the arrangements are designed to secure the admission of pupils by reference to ability bands which are representative of the spread of ability amongst applicants and in which no level of ability is substantially over-represented or under-represented. The introduction of such banding arrangements is to be one of the alterations prescribed for the purposes of clause 27 (publication of statutory proposals).
| Clause 93 allows schools to select a proportion of pupils on the basis of aptitude for one or more subjects, to be prescribed in regulations, providing any such arrangements do not involve either a test for aptitude in a subject other than the one in question or a test of ability.
| Clause 94 specifies the procedures to be followed with regard to the abandonment or variation of the different forms of permitted selection.
| Clauses 95 to 97 relate to parental ballots on future admissions to grammar schools.
| Clause 95 enables the Secretary of State to make an order specifying which schools are grammar schools for this purpose.
| Clause 96 gives the Secretary of State the power to make regulations enabling parents to petition for a ballot to determine whether particular grammar schools or groups of grammar schools should retain their selective admission arrangements.
| Clause 97 provides that, in the event of a ballot in favour of ending selective admissions at a grammar school or schools, a duty is placed on the admission authorities to bring forward revised non-selective admission arrangements.
| Clauses 98 and 99 require the governing body of every maintained school and every city technology college and city college for the technology of the arts to adopt, in consultation with parents, a home-school agreement and in so doing to have regard to any guidance from the Secretary of State.
| Clause 100 extends the period during which pupils can undertake work experience as part of their education. It permits work experience from the beginning of Year 10 to the end of Year 11.
| Clause 101 amends section 18(1) of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to allow further education corporations, in collaboration with local education authorities, to provide secondary education to pupils at Key Stage 4. It also amends the Act to ensure that, except in circumstances prescribed by regulations, such pupils do not receive secondary education in a room where, at the same time, a college is providing further education.
| Clause 102 enables the Secretary of State to make regulations which will set out compulsory nutritional standards for school lunches.
| Clause 103 places a duty on LEAs to offer a paid meal service and provides that, where a LEA provides milk to a pupil who is entitled to free school meals, the milk must be free whenever it is provided.
| Clause 104 defines nursery education.
| Clause 105 places a duty on LEAs to secure that the provision of nursery education for their area (whether provided by the LEA or otherwise) is sufficient to meet the needs of resident children who have not reached compulsory school age but have reached an age specified in regulations. LEAs must have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State.
| Clause 106 places a duty on each LEA to establish an Early Years Development Partnership and to take responsibility for arranging meetings of the Partnership.
| Clause 107 places a duty on each LEA to prepare an Early Years Development Plan for their area and to update the Plan in accordance with guidance. The Plan must be drawn up in collaboration with the Early Years Development Partnership.
| Clause 108 sets out how the LEA's Plan will be approved by the Secretary of State and provides for the LEA to be notified of the Secretary of State's decision or his requests for amendments to the Plan.
| Clause 109 and Schedule 26 set out the arrangements for the inspection of nursery education as defined in clause 104. The Schedule deals with: the general functions of the Chief Inspector; the organisation of inspectors and the frequency of inspections; the registration of nursery education inspectors; the training of inspectors; the impartiality of inspectors; reports by inspectors; annual reports by the Chief Inspector; and the reserve powers of the Chief Inspector.
| Clause 110 obliges LEAs and nursery education providers and their employees to have regard to the provisions of the code of practice issued under section 313 of the Education Act 1996 for children with special educational needs. The Secretary of State will publish a document explaining how the practical guidance contained in the code applies in certain circumstances.
| Clause 111 allows for section 548(3) of the Education Act 1996 (pupils who may not be given corporal punishment) to be extended to cover pupils for whom nursery education is provided under this Bill by LEAs and those receiving financial assistance from LEAs.
| Clauses 112 and 113 and Schedule 27 enable Welsh further education institutions to provide full-time and part-time education for persons over 16 but under the age of 19, at one or more schools maintained by local education authorities in Wales under a partnership arrangement; and empower the Further Education Funding Council for Wales to give financial support for the purposes of any partnership arrangements made in Wales.
| Clause 113 modifies the Education Act 1996 in its application to such arrangements.
| Clause 114 provides for the dissolution of the Funding Agency for Schools by order and transfers all assets and liabilities of the Agency to the Secretary of State.
| Clause 115 provides for the repeal of section 21 of the Education Act 1996 which enables the Secretary of State to establish the Schools Funding Council for Wales. (The Secretary of State has not exercised his powers under that section.)
| Clause 116 gives Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools the power to publish in any manner, including by electronic means, reports produced by members of the Inspectorate. The clause also confers qualified privilege for the purposes of the law of defamation on any such publication.
| Clause 117 provides for the name of the Education Assets Board to be changed to the Education Transfer Council.
| Clauses 118 to 124 make general provision relating to the Bill.
| Clause 118 enables the Secretary of State to make orders and regulations by statutory instrument. It provides for the Secretary of State to make different provision for different cases, circumstances or areas, and to make transitional provisions. The clause also allows provision to be made for Wales which is different from that for England.
| Clauses 120 and 123 and Schedules 28, 29 and 30, make provision for minor and consequential amendments, repeals and transitional arrangements.
|Financial effects of the Bill
| The Bill affects central and local government expenditure in a number of areas.
| Clauses 1 to 4 provide for limits on infant class sizes. Although the clauses do not contain details of what the maximum infant class sizes are to be, nor the dates from which these are to apply, costings are based on the assumption that in the 2001-02 school year no child should be in a single teacher infant class of over 30 pupils. The revenue cost of reducing infant class sizes in England and Wales over the three financial years (1999-2000 to 2001-02) has been estimated as: in 1999-2000, £23 million; in 2000-01, £64 million; and in 2001-02, £106 million.
| Funding to support the reductions in infant class sizes will be derived from the savings from phasing out the Assisted Places Scheme (by means of the Education (Schools) Act 1997). Any extra capital costs will be met from the existing capital expenditure budget, through a change in the criteria for bids.
| Clause 9 which provides for education committees to include parent representatives will have a minor financial impact on local government because of the cost of administering the procedures for electing such representatives. The cost will depend on the detailed procedures and provisions to be set out in regulations.
| Clauses 10 to 13 relate to Education Action Zones. The Government has indicated that it will provide a grant of £250,000 to each Zone through the Education Action Forum to cover administrative costs, for undertaking locally-conceived initiatives, and to buy in additional teaching expertise. The total grant is likely to be £1.5 million for the financial year 1998-99. In addition, sponsorship for a similar amount to match the Department for Education and Employment's grant to each Zone will be sought from the private sector. The costs for these proposals would be contained within the Government's published spending plans.
| The provisions set out in Part II of the Bill (clauses 20 to 74) provide for the introduction of a new framework for schools. This does not of itself affect school funding levels although the implementation will entail some limited administrative costs for schools, LEAs and central Government. These will be taken into account in the annual review of local authority spending needs and the allocation of the Department for Education and Employment's programme budgets. Those areas with specific financial effects are discussed further below.
| Clauses 20 to 22 include the procedures by which grant-maintained schools will choose the category in the new framework which they wish to join. The cost of administering any parental ballots which are needed will be met by central government through a contract with an independent ballot administration agency.
| Clauses 23 to 34 provide for the introduction of local decision making on school organisation matters. These proposals would give rise to some new central government and local authority expenditure. This would be partially offset by savings to Departmental running costs. The net cost, including the establishment of school organisation committees and adjudicators and the publication of school organisation plans, is expected to be approximately £1.2 million in the financial year 1998-99 and around £1 million each year thereafter. There may also be some additional financial responsibility on LEAs to provide sites and buildings for voluntary controlled, foundation and foundation special schools. The interests of LEAs will, however, be protected and they will be able to recover compensation.
| Clauses 35 to 42 provide for changes to the government of maintained schools. There will be changes to the composition of school governing bodies. The inclusion of more elected parents on school governing bodies can be accommodated within existing school and LEA budgets as there are already well established procedures. The introduction of LEA governors on foundation school governing bodies will be largely balanced by a reduction in the number of LEA governors on other schools. LEAs are currently responsible for making instruments and articles of government. The abolition of articles of government will more than compensate LEAs for the administrative burden of making new instruments for all schools under clause 36. The savings to LEAs from not having to make articles will continue into future years.
| Clauses 43 to 51, which provide for new arrangements for the financial management of schools are likely to lead to some marginal short-term costs for local government in preparing to implement the new arrangements for local management of schools, but otherwise these arrangements should be financially neutral.
| Clause 65 and Schedule 19 relate to the provision of Religious Education. The Standing Advisory Councils for RE, funded by LEAs, will become responsible for advising foundation schools without a religious character which may create a small additional burden, depending on the number of these schools in a LEA's area. The costs of preparing a list of schools with a religious character would be absorbed within Department for Education and Employment running costs.
| Clause 71 relates to the disposal of land and buildings. The power to recover voluntary aided school grant is to be changed so as to enable the Secretary of State to recover grant where, on disposal, the sale proceeds of grant aided school buildings are not recycled within the maintained school system. Other than this the aided school grants system is virtually unchanged. Where a LEA is under a duty to provide and convey a site for a foundation or voluntary school the LEA will have a new duty to meet the reasonable costs of the governing body, the foundation body or the trustees in relation to the conveyance. This is already common practice in some LEAs.
| Clauses 95 to 97 provide for parental ballots on future admissions to grammar schools. The costs resulting from the provisions for grammar school ballots would depend largely on how many such ballots are triggered by local parents through parental petitions. The main costs will relate to expenditure incurred by the body which is awarded the contract to check any petition and, as necessary, administer a ballot. These costs will be met by central government.
| Clause 98, which provides a statutory requirement for all schools to have written home-school agreements, would increase local government expenditure. The development of home-school agreements is likely to cost around £1.6m in financial year 1998-99 and some £0.5m each year thereafter.
| Clauses 102 and 103 make provision in relation to school meals. The nutritional standards for school lunches will be determined following public consultation. Their introduction would not necessarily lead to an increase in the cost of free school meals. Most LEAs already operate a paid meals service. Those which do not may have to incur some additional expenditure on capital and running costs to meet the new duty.
| Clauses 104 to 111 make provisions relating to nursery education. LEAs are already funded through the normal routes for the provision of early years education. The extent to which LEAs exercise the power to provide nursery education varies considerably. The Government's aim is to provide opportunities for early years education for all children below compulsory school age. The establishment of Early Years Development Partnerships and the drawing up of Plans should build on existing good practice. The duty to secure nursery education will have financial implications for LEAs and the additional burdens on LEAs will be taken into account in the annual review of local authority spending needs.
| Clauses 114 to 115 which provide for the dissolution of the Funding Agency for Schools are unlikely to have a significant effect on either local or central government expenditure. The savings which result from the closure of the Agency are not likely to be significant and will be offset in part by the liabilities of the Agency on dissolution which transfer to the Secretary of State. There will also be modest pressure on LEAs when the Funding Agency for Schools is dissolved and LEAs take over responsibility for administering capital funding for foundation schools. Funding for former grant-maintained schools in the new schools framework would be contained within the Government's published spending plans.
|Effect of Bill on public service manpower
| The placing of limits on infant class sizes should not lead to any changes in the staff of Government departments. When local authorities submit statements of how they intend to introduce the class size limits, these can be handled within existing staffing levels. It is intended that almost all the funds will be spent on employing extra teachers, so, apart from increases in the number of teachers, there should be no increases in the staffing of local authorities. The preparation of statements is an additional task for authorities, but it should be possible for this to be handled within existing staffing levels.
| The provisions relating to intervention in schools causing concern give LEAs new powers and duties, notably to issue a warning notice to a maintained school and to suspend financial delegation at a maintained school with serious weaknesses or subject to a formal warning. Administration of these will lead to a redirection in effort by LEA staff, but the staffing implications for individual LEAs will depend on the extent to which LEAs choose to exercise these powers and their existing staffing capacity in this area.
| The introduction of local decision making on school organisation would be likely to lead to a reduction of some 50 posts in the staffing of the Department for Education and Employment. It might also require some increase in the staffing of LEAs.
| The provisions relating to school meals could lead to a small increase in the number of local authority school meals staff needed to implement the standards. Small numbers of local authority staff might be involved in monitoring compliance with the nutritional standards but the staffing implications for individual local authorities will vary according to the nutritional standards and monitoring arrangements already in place. Local authorities which do not have, or have restricted, paid meals services will probably need to appoint additional school meals staff to meet the new duty. It will have no effect on authorities which already operate a paid meals service.
| The expansion of nursery education is likely to lead to an increase in teaching and administrative support for nursery providers, some of which will be in the public education system.
| The closure of the Funding Agency for Schools will not affect central government manpower needs. There will be reductions in public service manpower as a result of the closure of the Agency but some of the staff may find alternative employment in the public sector. There may also be a small increase in manpower in those LEA areas where a significant number of schools have opted for grant-maintained status. The staffing implications for individual LEAs will depend on the extent to which there is an increased responsibility for school funding, planning of school places (particularly in areas where the Agency had shared or sole responsibility for planning) and school admissions in the new schools framework.
|Business compliance cost assessment
| The inspection of private and voluntary providers of nursery education does not create any new burdens on these businesses. The Bill restates the provisions in the Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Act 1996 and does not therefore require a new compliance cost assessment.
|© Parliamentary copyright 1997
|Prepared 4 December 1997