30th June 1995 at 01:00
If we admit adults to our sixth-form courses, are we entitled to a capitation grant for them?

No. There is no prohibition on recruiting adults to classes in school, but you will no receive funds for doing so, either from an LEA or from the Funding Agency. You are, however, able to charge such students an appropriate fee.

I took up my present position in an LEA school earlier this year, having previously served in a GM-school. I am now pregnant and have been told that I have minimal entitlement to maternity benefit, in spite of my nine years of service.

I am afraid you have not taken sufficient note of the small print in relation to your most recent appointment.

Maternity rights, in common with other employment rights, are acquired as a result of continuous service with one employer - they are not transferred from one to another. In the case of teachers employed by local authorities, there is an agreement that service with one LEA will be treated as continuous on transfer to another. So, if you had moved from one LEA- controlled school to another, you would have preserved your rights.

You would even have preserved your rights, had you moved from LEA to grant-maintained because GM schools adopted that arrangement to retain the goodwill of their teachers.

Unfortunately, this does not automatically apply to the reverse move. Many LEAs have chosen to accept continuity but some, possibly motivated by their opposition to the concept of GM schools, have not.

Can a school prevent a student from sitting an examination because he turns up to school inappropriately dressed?

Technically, the answer is "yes". Attendance at school for an exam is in no way different from attendance on any other day and, if a school has a strictly enforced dress code, it is not obliged to relax it.

Given that pupils are well aware of the policy, there is equally no reason why the school should not seek to recover the fee from the parents because the pupil has failed, without good reason, to take the exam.

But an instant response of that nature may not be the wisest or most humane. I am inclined to think that the best response is to let him get away with it once, but send a prompt message to his parents to insist there be no repetition.

Questions should be sent to Helpline, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY

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