A college has written a letter to oldsters warning them that they should pay their kid’s examination charges if they don’t come with none good purpose.
Schooling leaders mentioned the direct method was “uncommon” and confirmed “absolute disregard for psychological well being” of scholars showing for the examination.
Others, nonetheless, have mentioned that whereas colleges reserve the suitable to cost dad and mom “nothing new”, it might act as a option to “encourage candidates to come back”.
Seaford Head College in East Sussex final week wrote to GCSE college students, dad and mom and caregivers to supply further info forward of subsequent week’s exams.
It included recommendation on examination timing and different suggestions.
Nevertheless, the letter additionally warns that “if a pupil seems for the examination and fails to look in any element of the examination, the varsity might be liable to pay for that pupil and/or his/her dad and mom/caregivers.” might be anticipated to cost entry payment from
The final a part of the sentence was in daring sort.
The exception could be made solely in unexpected circumstances or on medical grounds, the letter added.
There are strict guidelines prohibiting state colleges from charging dad and mom for issues associated to their kid’s schooling. They aren’t allowed to cost the dad and mom for the examination payment if the scholar has been ready for it within the faculty.
Nevertheless, underneath the Schooling Act of 1996, a payment may very well be charged if a toddler doesn’t seem for the examination “with out good purpose”.
‘Absolute disregard’ for pupil’s psychological well being
Hilary Goldsmith, a faculty enterprise chief whose youngster is getting ready for GCSE at Seaford, mentioned she had by no means acquired such warnings earlier than.
She mentioned that together with the knowledge between the check suggestions confirmed “absolute disregard for psychological well being” of the scholars showing for the check. Those that are unlikely to take part might expertise “psychological well being considerations surrounding the exams.”
Greater than eight out of 10 headmasters report increased ranges of stress and anxiousness amongst examination pupils than in pre-pandemic years, in a brand new survey by Affiliation of College and Faculty leaders.
Goldsmith mentioned the letter may additionally put further strain on hard-to-reach households. Most GCSE entrance charges are round £40, however for some topics they’ll rise to round £80.
“There’s sufficient strain on the youngsters to get forward and do nicely,” Goldsmith mentioned.
Nevertheless, Seaford Head mentioned it was “frequent process” to incorporate the knowledge of their pre-exam correspondence to make sure that dad and mom had been conscious earlier than the examination. The college mentioned it by no means charged any pupil a payment for lacking a paper.
ASCL evaluation specialist Tom Middlehurst mentioned there may be “nothing new” about colleges reserving the suitable to cost dad and mom a payment when college students miss exams for no good purpose.
He added that some colleges might write to oldsters to make them conscious of their proper to take action “as a approach of encouraging candidates”.
Faculties should ‘discover the suitable steadiness’ in exams
Dan Morrow, chief govt of the Dartmoor Multi Academy Belief, mentioned it was uncommon for the varsity to “spotlight it entrance and middle” as a result of they had been normally “a part of the small print that no one actually worries about”.
He mentioned colleges wanted to seek out “the suitable steadiness between perceived persuasion and strain”.
Some colleges point out the payment on their web site. Bezgarth College in Barton-on-Humber states that folks may be charged between £6 and £40 per check “until a passable rationalization may be given”.
In the meantime, the examination info web page for Northfleet Faculty of Know-how in Kent warns that “failure to pay may end in your outcomes being withheld”.
The Joint Benefit Council says colleges can’t withhold outcomes like this. The college has since eliminated the road when contacted by College Week. It mentioned this was not a coverage and was included within the error.
In 2017, Colchester Academy College elevated its attendance by 1.1 % inside weeks of warning college students that non-attendees could be charged a payment to enter their GCSE exams.
The college had informed the media on the time that the variety of college students with lower than 90 % attendance had additionally come down by half.
Matthew Clements-Wheeler, former president of the Institute of College Enterprise Leaders (ISBL), mentioned that colleges are “doing the whole lot they’ll” to encourage examination attendance however that they should “pay attention to the character of communication with college students and One ought to “consider carefully” concerning the vowel.
The schooling division mentioned colleges ought to “be certain that all choices are explored for college students and households to look for the examination, earlier than contemplating charging charges”.