Outdoor learning centre fees rise for Sandwell schools
The increase will see the cost of a four day stay rise by four to five pounds
The four centres which provide learning facilities for thousands of pupils are now self financing and no longer rely on council subsidies to fund their day-to-day running costs.
The success of Edgmond Hall, the Frank Chapman Centre, Ingestre Hall and the Plas Gwynant Outdoor Education Centre was revealed as Sandwell cabinet agreed increases in charges to schools for children’s breaks.
In report to councillors, education officers have said: “The proposed charges are for a two per cent increase to Sandwell schools and academy schools in line with inflation, and a three per cent increase for non Sandwell schools, with a resulting overall 2.4 per cent increase in term-time income in 2020/21.”
Proposing the increases they added some 6,000 Sandwell children and young people enjoy residential stays each year, while 2,000 make day visits.
Cllr Joyce Underhill, cabinet member for the best start in life, recommending acceptance of the increases said they were designed not to disadvantage local children.
Asked if the centres’ had high occupancy rates, she replied: “Yes, they are increasing year-on-year mainly because of vigorous marketing that has been done by the centres because they have to be self-sufficient."
Sandwell is one of the few councils to still operate outdoor education units after other authorities closed theirs due to budget cuts.
Cllr Underhiil said schools from outside the borough pay more to help lower the cost for Sandwell schools.