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Boarding Schools

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 1 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the reason for the recent increase in the charges for the welfare inspection of boarding schools; whether notice of the increase was given to the organisations which represent schools with boarders; and what representations have been received relating to the new inspection service from boarding schools. [1103551

I have been asked to reply.It has always been the Government's policy that the recurrent regulatory costs of the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) should be borne by providers and purchasers of care. The Government consulted on the framework for fees during the summer of 2001. The consultation document, which was sent to all schools associations, set out how the NCSC was to regulate health and social care, the cost of this, its funding and fees. The costs of registration and inspection and the policy of full cost recovery (and the consequences for later years) were fully set out, as was the need for yearly fee increases.Since the NCSC came into operation, representations from boarding schools have related to the publication of inspection reports and the clarification of the status of a school for inspection purposes. There have been no comments on the NCSC inspection service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 12 March 2003, Official Report, column 297W, on private/public boarding schools, what discussions he has had with (a) the Department of Health, (b) local authorities and (c) the Independent Schools Council regarding placing looked after children in boarding schools. [110941]

My right hon. Friend recently met the Independent Schools Council to discuss a range of issues, including the placement of looked after children in boarding schools. This issue has not arisen to date during his regular discussions with either my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health or local authority representatives.