Helpline

3rd October 1997 at 01:00
Q. Should we wait a whole year before changing the timing of the school day?

A

No. You are referring to the requirement that the matter had to be considered at the annual meeting of parents with the governing body. This was modified under the last government and the procedure is now set out in section 148 of the Education Act 1996.

The governors are now required to produce a statement of their proposals and to send it to parents at least two weeks in advance of a meeting called to consider the matter. They are obliged to consider any comments made at the meeting before going ahead, and they must give at least three months notice before the changes are put into effect.

The effect is that, with sensible planning, changes can be prepared during one school year for implementation at the beginning of the next.

Q

Is it right that pupils cannot travel in mini-buses with rear-facing seats?

A

Yes - absurd as it may seem- although the law relates only to organised trips. The relevant regulation is the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulation 1996 SI No 163. This provides that all pupils taking part in organised trips must sit in forward-facing seats with seat-belts.There is nothing to prevent teachers or other adults on the trip using rear-facing seats.

This does look like a classic case of well-intentioned regulation accidentally overlooking a thoroughly sensible point. I hope the Department of Transport will put it right before too long.

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