Q As an LEA school, are we allowed under section 5 of the 1988 Act to include a "Young People's Community Award Scheme" in our taught key stage 4 curriculum? Pupils are awarded various levels of certification under the scheme.

A Since Sir Ron Dearing revised the requirements, schools have regained a measure of freedom to determine at least some parts of their curriculum at this level.

Many schools manage to include a great deal of valuable work, including community projects, under the general heading of personal and social education.

Your admirable project would fall into that category and I should have no hesitation in including it. The awards made under the scheme may not be officially recognised, but they should form a useful part of the students' records of achievement.

Q Who is responsible for paying for home tuition for pupils on the rolls of grant-maintained schools?

A That rather depends upon the circumstances. If the pupil is being provided with home tuition because he has been excluded from the school, it could well be argued that the school, while it retains the pupil on its roll and receives funding for him, is responsible for the provision. Once, however, the exclusion has become permanent and the pupil has been removed from the roll, the responsibility will revert to the appropriate local authority.

The more common case for home tuition is where a pupil is absent because of illness, whether mental or physical. Here, the situation is quite clear and is set out in section 298 of the Education Act 1993, where it is laid down that the duty to provide education "otherwise than at school" for such children is imposed on the local authority, regardless of the type of school which the pupil normally attends.

Archimedes Questions should be sent to Helpline, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Fax: 0171-782 3200.

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