Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments First Report


Memorandum from the Department for Education and Skills


1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on two points relating to the Education (Grants) (Music, Ballet and Choir Schools) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2002:

It seems to the Committee that the approach taken in regulation 2 of this instrument to amending regulation 5 of the 2001 Regulations is flawed in two respects ­

(a) Given the restrictions in paragraph (2) on the amount of grant that may be paid, the amendments do not allow the Secretary of State to pay grant in respect of the new categories of expenditure; and

(b) It is unsatisfactory to extend the definition of "expenditure in operating the Scheme" to include the categories of expenditure referred to in sub­paragraph (b), when these seem to be unconnected with the operation of the Scheme.

2. With regard to point (a), since regulation 5(2) of the 2001 Regulations is now made expressly subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the effect is that paragraph (2) does not prevent the payment of grant in respect of expenditure falling within paragraph (4). With regard to point (b), the Department accepts that another approach (and one perhaps more attractive in drafting terms) to the inclusion of the organisation of summer schools would have been to insert a separate power to pay grant in respect of such expenditure.

3. However, the summer schools, which are to be funded under the amendments to regulation 5 contained in the 2002 Regulations, are not considered by the Department to be separate from the aided pupil scheme. They are very similar in purpose (by providing an opportunity to benefit from the specialist education in question to those children who might otherwise not be able to do so) and moreover, by attracting new pupils to the schools, aim to extend the Scheme by advertising it to a greater number of children who might thus be encouraged to apply to the Scheme and benefit from the assistance available. The definition of the Scheme in regulation (2) of the 2001 Regulations refers to the scheme "described in Schedule 1", which does not have the effect of exclusively limiting the ambit of the Scheme in all respects to the provisions of Schedule 1.

4. Moreover, as a matter of practicality, the effect of these Regulations will be of relatively short duration. A new funding power is conferred on the Secretary of State under section 14 of the Education Act 2002 which is not dependent on regulations for further effect. Section 14 was commenced on 2 October 2002. In future, grant schemes such as these will be governed by a simple administrative scheme put in place in respect of funds paid directly under the Act. For this reason, no useful purpose is served by undertaking either to amend the Regulations or to take an alternative approach when next making the Regulations, which are likely to be revoked after the end of the present school year

30 October 2002

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