HC Deb 13 December 1988 vol 143 cc489-90W
Mr. Latham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a statement on the effect of the new statutory requirements on charging of fees on visiting drama groups, poetry readings or other artistic professionals coming into schools to perform for children; and what representations he has received from head teachers in that regard.

Mr. Butcher

My right hon. Friend has no reason to believe that the level of visits by groups of performers to schools need change markedly as a result of the provisions of the Education Reform Act. The Act clarifies earlier legislation in establishing that schools may not charge for any provision offered during school hours, with the exception of individual music tuition. Charges may be made for activities provided outside school hours, unless these are required for a prescribed examination syllabus or for the national curriculum.

Restrictions on charging do not prevent local authorities or schools from seeking voluntary contributions in support of particular activities, and we are confident that parents will continue to support activities which they regard and have regarded in the past as educationally worth while. There has been a small number of representations from head teachers which mention this issue. A draft circular of advice to local authorities and schools was issued for consultation in September. The Department is now analysing the responses to consultation and plans to issue final guidance early in January 1989.