Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Sixth Report


APPENDIX VI

Memorandum by the Department for Education and Employment

EDUCATION (GRANT-MAINTAINED AND GRANT-MAINTAINED SPECIAL SCHOOLS) (FINANCE) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/996)

  The Joint Committee have requested a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)   Given that a comparison of the relevant characteristics of schools is required by regulation 6 for calculating a school's grant under regulation 4 or 5, explain how characteristics are determined where (as acknowledged by regulation 6(12)) there is in fact no actual school with which to make the comparison.

  Under regulation 6(3) the funding authority have, in determining the amount of annual maintenance grant for a grant-maintained school, to take into account the budget share that a comparable LEA maintained school would receive from the LEA. It does not matter whether or not there is a comparable maintained school because there does not have to be an actual school in existence with which to make the comparison.

  It may assist the Committee to give an example. Assume that the funding authority have to determine the amount of annual maintenance grant for a primary grant-maintained school. A comparable maintained school would, having regard to regulation 6(10), be a maintained county primary school which had the same relevant characteristics as the grant-maintained school. A characteristic is relevant for these purposes, having regard to regulation 6(10), if it is relevant for the purposes of the allocation formula in the LEA's scheme.

  The grant-maintained primary school in question is situated near to London and has 50 pupils and a swimming pool. The funding authority must look at what a comparable maintained school would have received as its budget share. There is in fact no LEA maintained school in the area with exactly the same characteristics but that does not matter. The funding authority look at the LEA's scheme and work out what the budget share of a primary school with 50 pupils would be. By far the greater part of the budget share will be based on pupil numbers and so the number of pupils in each age group is a relevant characteristic. Indeed the Regulations say specifically that this is so at regulation 6(10)(a)(i). In addition the scheme in question may also include in the budget share additional funds for small schools. If a comparable maintained school would fall within the definition of a small school in the LEA's scheme then the small size of the grant-maintained school will be a relevant characteristic.

  The school is situated near London and some LEAs near London make provision in their schemes for London Weighting. However, if the scheme of the LEA in question makes no such provision (and never has done) then this will not be a relevant characteristic. The school has a swimming pool unlike any LEA maintained school in the area. When this school acquired grant-maintained status the LEA varied its scheme so as to remove that factor. Regulation 6(4) provides that, where a scheme used to include a particular factor and it has subsequently been revised, varied or replaced, then it is deemed, for the purposes of determining a comparable maintained school's budget share, still to include it. The fact that the school has a swimming pool is therefore a relevant characteristic even though the scheme no longer contains such a factor.

  In short therefore relevant characteristics are determined in accordance with the Regulations by reference to the allocation formula in the LEA's scheme and it does not matter that there is no LEA maintained school with those exact same characteristics.

    (2)   Regulation 48(7) requires an aggregate amount to be calculated in the case of certain primary and secondary schools. Indicate what is represented by the aggregate amount. Is it the CFF floor for the schools described in the paragraph?

  The aggregate amount is indeed the CFF floor for the schools described in the paragraph. Regulation 48 provides for the determination of CFF floors. Paragraph (2) provides that in the case of certain schools the CFF floor shall be the amount determined by the funding authority in accordance with the following provisions of that regulation.

  Because paragraph (2) already states that the amount determined by the funding authority is the school's CFF floor, the Department thought that it was unnecessary to say in paragraphs (3), (5) and (7) that the amount so determined is the CFF floor.

  However the wording is no doubt not as clear as it might be and the Department will take this into account in next year's Regulations.

    (3)   Regulation 51 allows for further revisions of certain determinations. Explain why, in doing so, regulation 51 refers to determinations revised in accordance with its own terms as well as those of regulations 50 and 53.

  The reference to regulation 51 is an error. Regulation 51 states that a determination which has been revised in accordance with regulation 50, 51 or 53 may be further revised. This should have been a reference to regulation 50, 52 or 53. Fortunately it is unlikely that the funding authority will need to further revise an amount of maintenance grant which has already been revised in accordance with regulation 52. In this financial year the funding authority have not yet revised a determination in accordance with that regulation.

1st July 1997


 
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