Dec/Jan/Feb 1997/8                    111
 

"ACTION FOR EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS"

It is twelve months since the crisis in Further Education student maintenance became apparent, therefore, through this publication I would like to bring parents and students 'up to date'.
 

Students considering a Further Education Funding Council College.

The Further Education Funding Council, (F.E.F.C.), should be responsible for the maintenance of those students attending F.E.F.C. Colleges.  The majority of students from the Isles of Scilly presently attend a F.E.F.C. College, either as a day pupil or boarder.  Recent communication with the Funding Council, (Dec. 7th), indicated that they intend to fund student's maintenance at the present level of £2,200 per year.  It is not clear how they will administer this grant, however, £2,200 represents a cut in funding compared to previous years and many parents will be required to pay 'top ups'.

Students considering a Maintained School.

Parents should be aware of the guidelines received from the Dept. for Education and Employment.

"..when a student attends a maintained school parents are normally expected to pay for boarding and lodgings.  It would be for the parents to convince the Authority that the education suitable to the pupils age, ability and aptitude could not otherwise be provided.  The Authority must consider each case on its merits . It would be for the Authority to decide whether that provision could be provided by an F.E.F.C. Where the Authority conclude that a suitable education could not otherwise be provided than at a particular maintained school, it must pay the full cost of board and lodgings. "

It is unlawful for an Authority to fetter it's discretion by adopting a policy of not awarding any discretionary awards, regardless of circumstances.
Councillors in the past have always given careful and sympathetic consideration to the individual needs of each student, and take into account the students educational, social and emotional circumstances.
 

Students considering an Independent School.

The Local Education Authority does not have the power to award grants to students wishing to attend an independent school.
A number of parents have approached me asking for clarification regarding the L.E.A. Student Monitoring Form.
The grant given by the Authority is discretionary, therefore, to determine how a student is progressing their tutor is asked to complete a form each term which identifies the standard and effort the student is attaining in their work and the amount of unauthorised absences the student has taken.  This enables the Authority to provide support through the Pastoral Care Advisor to those students who may be having difficulties before they get into the situation of discontinuing their course.

To my knowledge a discretionary award has never been withheld until all the facts about a students performance have been established and discussed with the student, parent and college.  In the future it would be for the Funding Council to determine whether they wish to continue with the monitoring form for those students attending a F.E.F.C. College and for the Authority to decide whether they will continue monitoring any student they are fully funding.

Councillors and their Officers will hopefully be able to draw up a policy on post 16-19 education in time for new students to make an informed choice regarding their Further Education.

Finally, in the last twelve months members of the Action Group have worked with some councillors, initially Mrs. Tremblett and with Mr. Hygate to safeguard the future of post 16-19 education for local students.  From January lst, I will no longer be involved in this matter, as I believe it is time for a 'fresh mind', and other members of the Action Group are of the same opinion.  Any one who is interested in the issue of maintenance for post 16-19 students please contact me if you require copies of the Dept. of Education and Employment guidelines and contact telephone numbers.

Anita Bedford
(Action for Educational Rights)
 
 
 
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