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Education Act 2002

Provision of services

Sections 199 to 101
Section 199 and Schedule 19: Transport for persons over compulsory school age

386.These provisions are designed to give effect to improved planning, coherence and publicity of local transport policies for pupils of sixth form age.

387.The amendments give LEAs a co-ordinating role in developing policies with key partners to provide effective and efficient transport arrangements for post 16 students. Every LEA will draw up and publish a policy statement setting out the provision of, or support for, transport for students of 16-19 or those completing courses started whilst 16-19. The new section 509AB of the EA 96 contains new criteria that must be considered in devising policies. These are that: no student is prevented from attending FE because of a lack of services or support, choice, costs and the need to travel beyond local LEA boundaries. The policy statement will include provision and support made by schools and FE colleges in the local area. Section 509AA(8) makes it clear that LEAs can make transport arrangements over and above those set out in the policy statement and so allows the LEA and its partners flexibility to respond to changing or unforeseen circumstances where particular cases occur that are not contained in their policy statement. Section 509AA(9) provides that the Secretary of State or the NAW can direct an LEA to make arrangements for transport which are not in the statement. Section 509AC contains definitions.

Section 200: Remission of charges relating to residential trips

388.Section 457 of the EA 96 makes provision about charging for school activities. Subsection (4) provides for the remission of charges in respect of board and lodging for a pupil on a residential trip where that pupil’s parent is in receipt of certain state benefits. The section amends that subsection so as to allow the Secretary of State (or the NAW) to prescribe additional benefits or tax credits that, the receipt of which, will enable the charges in question to be remitted. This flexibility is required to keep pace with changes to the tax credit and benefit system in the Tax Credit Act 2002, and to prevent children’s entitlement to the remission of such charges being lost as a result of the changes.

Section 201: LEA functions concerning school lunches, milk etc.

389.This section replaces section 512 of the EA 96 with three new sections.

390.The new section 512 is along the lines of the existing provision but makes two changes:

  • It enables the Secretary of State (or the NAW), by order, to set conditions that must be met before an LEA is required to provide school lunches. It is intended to use this power to restrict the entitlement to free lunches to those children who are required to attend over the lunch period. Those children who are currently entitled to free school lunches but would lose their entitlement as a result of this change will have their position protected by transitional provisions.

  • It extends free school lunch entitlement to eligible children of nursery age who receive education, funded by the LEA, in settings outside the maintained sector. This change will place those children whose parents receive entitling benefits, but who currently are not entitled to free school lunches because their education is provided in private or voluntary nursery settings on the same footing as children educated in the maintained sector.

391.The new section 512ZA requires an LEA to charge for any meals and milk provided, except as provided for by new section 512ZB. It also unifies the charging regime for pupils and persons who are no longer pupils because they have attained the age of 19 in one provision whereas they are currently dealt with separately.

392.The new section 512ZB makes the provision of free lunches conditional on a request for free lunches being made by, or on behalf of, a child. This brings the law into line with current practice and ensures that LEAs have legislative backing to resist requests for monetary compensation for the loss of free meals where no application has been made.

393.Section 512ZB also allows the Secretary of State (or the NAW) to prescribe additional benefits or tax credits, the receipt of which will entitle the parent of a child to request a free school lunch (and, where provision is made, free milk). This flexibility is required to keep pace with changes to the Tax Credit and Benefit System proposed within the new Tax Credit Act, and to prevent the loss of children’s entitlement to free lunches (and, where provision is made, free milk) as a result of the changes.

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