Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twelfth Report


Memorandum by the Department for Education and Employment


  1. In her letter to Mr Croft dated 29 October sent on behalf of the Committee, Miss Gardner asked the Department to submit a memorandum on the following points concerning the above Regulations:

    (1)    The rules for determining the amount of remission of fees are contained in regulations 10 to 13, 15 and 16 (and the Schedules). Regulation 14 requires the school to determine remission questions by reference to a school year. Explain how the regulation 14 provision for determining remission questions could affect the rules so as to call for the provision in regulation 11(5) that regulations 11, 12 and 13 are to have effect notwithstanding regulation 14.

    (2)    Regulation 11(5) refers to regulation 14 "or any other provision of these Regulations" in giving precedence to regulations 11 to 13. What other provisions could be in issue?

    (3)    Schedule 2, paragraph 1 provides for full remission of fees where relevant income does not exceed £10,135 but the Table in paragraph 2(1) provides for partial remission to begin at £9,969. Explain the apparent discrepancy.

  2. Dealing with each point in turn, the Department's response appears below.

Point (1) - regulation 14

  3. Regulation 14 of S.I. 1997/1968 restates the provisions of regulation 13 of S.I. 1995/2016 (and previous Regulations governing the Assisted Places Scheme). It provides that it is for schools to determine "remission questions" (as defined in regulation 8); and that they must do so for every assisted place holder on an annual basis even though, in a previous school year for example, the parents may not have been entitled to any remission of fees because their joint income was too high. Remission questions are to be determined for a whole school year, or for that part during which the pupil holds an assisted place (he might leave part way through a year) or where parents have different numbers of their children holding assisted places at different times (and, quite possibly, at different schools) - regulation 14(2) refers.

  4. However regulations 11 to 13 place restrictions on the amount of fee remission to which parents of assisted pupils would otherwise be entitled. For example regulation 11(1) is designed to deal principally with the situation where parents withdraw their child from their school without giving the requisite notice; it means that those parents are not eligible for remission of fees in respect of any period in which their child is not a pupil at the school, even if they are legally liable to pay those fees. Regulation 12(3) provides that parents of an assisted pupil will not be eligible for any remission of fees for a particular school year unless they apply for remission at the appropriate time and supply all information required by the school to investigate their means. And regulation 13 allows the Secretary of State to direct that a parent who had supplied false information as to his means was not to receive any remission of fees for a particular school year.

  5. Regulation 11(5) is meant to ensure that, where such restrictions are applicable in the case of an assisted pupil, the duty imposed on his school by regulation 14 to determine remission questions in respect of each school year would not invariably arise. So, for example, where the Secretary of State had made a direction under regulation 13 that that pupil's parents were not to receive any remission of fees in a particular school year, his school would not be required to determine any remission questions for that year under regulation 14.

Point (2) - regulation 11(5)

  6. Regulation 16 specifies that fees are to be remitted in accordance with Schedule 2, but regulation 11(5) means that this provision would not necessarily apply in a case where one of the restrictions on the remission of fees specified in regulations 11 to 13 had effect.

Point (3) - Schedule 2, paragraphs 1 and 2

  7. Where their "relevant income" exceeds £10,135, parents are required to contribute to school fees the proportion of their relevant income over £9,969 specified in the Table in paragraph 2. The threshold in paragraph 1 is set at a higher figure than the starting point of the income scale in paragraph 2 because it is considered inappropriate to require schools to collect sums of less than £15 by way of parental contribution to fees. The difference between £10,135 ("the threshold") and £9,969 (the lowest point on the income scale) is £166 - and 9 per cent. (the relevant percentage of income in that income band to be paid by way of contribution) of £166 is £14.94. But if the threshold in paragraph 1 coincided with the starting point of the paragraph 2 scale, it would mean that schools would have to collect uneconomically small sums - as little as £3 or £6 - from parents whose relevant income only just exceeded the paragraph 1 threshold.

3rd November 1997

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1997
Prepared 19 December 1997