§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will state the functions and duties that his proposed legislation(a) requires education funding authorities to perform and (b) which any Secretary of State may require them to perform; and on what basis payment of grant to them will be calculated.
§ Mr. Forth
Under the proposed legislation, as set out in the Education Bill introduced to Parliament on 30 October, the Funding Agency for Schools has the functions summarised below. Payments of grant by the DFE to the FAS will be calculated on the basis of forecasts of projected expenditure on both the grants that the funding agency must make to schools, and the agency's own running costs.
The Schools Funding Council for Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.174W
FUNCTIONS OF THE FAS
A. Functions of the FAS where no order has been made conferring responsibility for providing sufficient school places:
1. The FAS is to be responsible for paying annual maintenance grant to the governing bodies of all GM schools in England, the amount of which is to be determined by the Agency in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State.
2. Regulations may provide for the payment by the FAS of capital and special purpose grants to the governing bodies of GM schools.
3. The FAS is to be responsible for paying grant to the new GM governing body of a school acquiring GM status in respect of any expenditure incurred by them up to the date of implementation of the proposals where it is incurred for the purpose of, or in connection with, the transition of the school to GM status.
4. The FAS is to have power to pay grants to the governing body of any GM school which is being discontinued where it is for the purpose of discharging any of the liabilities of the governing body or for meeting any of the costs of the winding up.
5. The FAS is to have similar grant paying functions to those referred to in paragraphs 1 to 4 above in relation to schools conducted by education associations.
6. The FAS is to be under a duty to provide the Secretary of State with such information or advice in connection with any of his functions relating to the provision of education as he may from time to time require. It is also to have the power to provide the Secretary of State with such information and advice as it thinks fit.
7. The FAS is to be under a duty to make such reports and returns, and to give such information, to any LEA as the authority may require for the purpose of its functions.
B. Functions of the Secretary of State in relation to the GM sector which he may transfer to the FAS.
8. The Secretary of State may by order transfer to the FAS (either generally or in specified circumstances) the following of his functions in relation to the GM sector—
- (a) the making of new instruments of governments and their modification, and the making and variation of articles of government;,
- (b) the function of determining proposals by a governing body significantly to change the character or enlarge the premises of a GM school;
- (c) the power to authorise the transfer of a GM school to a new site;
- (d) the function of determining proposals by a governing body to discontinue a GM school;
- (e) the power in certain circumstances to vary trust deeds relating to GM schools; and
- (f) the power by order to make such provision as appropriate in connection with a school's transition to GM status.
C. Additional functions of the FAS where an order has been made conferring responsibility for providing sufficient school places.
9. Where at least 10 per cent. of pupils educated in maintained schools (other than special schools) are educated in the GM sector, the Secretary of State may make an order the effect of which is to place a duty on the FAS, as well as the LEA, to secure the provision of sufficient school places. The functions set out below are exercisable by the FAS where such an order has been made.
10. The FAS is to have the power to propose the establishment and discontinuance of GM schools, after consultation with such persons as appear to it to be appropriate. The Secretary of State must approve proposals to which objections have been made, or which he has "called in" or if the proposals name a sponsor of the school. The FAS is also to have the power to propose that a significant change in character, or significant enlargement of the premises, be made to a GM school.
11. The FAS is to have the power to direct that the approved admission number of a GM school be increased. The function of the Secretary of State in approving variations to the admission number proposed by the governing body of a GM school also transfers to the FAS.175W
12. The Secretary of State may make regulations requiring the FAS to provide him and LEAs with such information as may be prescribed relating to the provision of education in a LEA area for which they have responsibility. The FAS is to compile such information, and to make such provision for conducting, or assisting in the conduct of research, as is necessary for the purpose of providing the information required under the regulations.
13. Where at least 75 per cent. of pupils educated in maintained schools (other than special schools) are educated in the GM sector (or at least 10 per cent. of pupils are so educated and the LEA requests the order to be made), the Secretary of State may make an order the effect of which is to impose on the FAS the sole responsibility for securing sufficient school places in the LEA's area. Where such an order is made, as well as the functions referred to in paragraphs 10 to 12 above, the power of the LEA to direct a child's admission to a specific school also transfers to the FAS.