DES Circular 7/75 (1975)

This circular explained how the Direct Grant Grammar Schools (Cessation of Grant) Regulations 1975 would be implemented.

The text of DES Circular 7/75 was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 30 September 2017.

Circular 7/75 (1975)
Phasing out of direct grants to grammar schools

Department of Education and Science
London: 1975
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

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Circular 7/75
(Department of Education and Science)

Circular 126/75
(Welsh Office)
30 July 1975

Joint Circular from





1. The Direct Grant Grammar Schools (Cessation of Grant) Regulations 1975 were made by the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the Secretary of State for Wales on 21 July 1975 and will come into operation on 21 August 1975. The regulations, a copy of which is being sent with this Circular to local education authorities and the governors of direct grant grammar schools, give effect to the intention of the Government, announced by the Secretary of State for Education and Science in the House of Commons on 11 March 1975, to end the present system of direct grants to grammar schools. The purpose of this Circular is to bring the new regulations to the attention of local education authorities and the proprietors of direct grant grammar schools and to offer guidance on their main provisions.


Cessation of Grant

2. Regulation 2 of the new regulations provides that grant shall cease to be payable to the proprietors of a direct grant grammar school when it becomes a maintained school or when it ceases to have any pupils in respect of whom grant is payable, whichever is the sooner. "Grant" includes capitation, sixth form and fee-remission grant, and also where applicable grant for special or experimental work, which will continue so long as other elements of the grant are payable in respect of pupils in the school. Until grant ceases completely to be payable, the school will continue to be recognised as a direct grant grammar school and remain subject to certain requirements of the Direct Grant Schools Regulations 1959; but some such requirements are modified or disapplied

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during the grant phasing-out period in the case of schools which are not going to enter the maintained system (see paragraph 9 below).

Grant for Pupils Admitted in 1976-7

3. Paragraph 1 of regulation 3 prescribes new conditions for the payment of grant in respect of pupils admitted in the educational year 1976-7. Grant may be paid to a school in respect of such pupils only if the proprietors have satisfied the Secretary of State by the end of 1975 that they intend the school to become a maintained comprehensive school and have notified a local education authority of their intention to consult the authority about statutory proposals to this effect.

4. All direct grant grammar schools have already been supplied with copies of a form of declaration of intent which, if completed on the authorisation of a school's governors and sent before 31 December 1975 to the Secretary of State and to a local education authority specified by the governors, will satisfy these conditions and thus ensure that grant is payable in respect of pupils admitted to the school in 1976-7. The Secretary of State will welcome an early indication of each school's intentions, whether or not the governors intend it to become part of the maintained system. A local education authority receiving a completed declaration of intent may expect the governors of the school concerned to follow it up at an early date by initiating or continuing discussions on the practical possibilities of the school's finding a place in the authority's system (see paragraph 13 onwards).

5. A direct grant school becoming maintained will, in the normal way, retain its identity as a separate institution. In certain cases, however, it may be more appropriate that the school should enter the maintained system in amalgamation with another non-maintained school or with an existing maintained school. In terms of the statutory proposals required to bring it about, the latter course would involve either a significant enlargement of the premises of the existing maintained school to take in those of the former direct grant school, or the formal closure of the maintained school and the establishment of a single new maintained school in the two sets of premises. By virtue of regulation 3(3) and corresponding provisions elsewhere in the new regulations a direct grant school whose premises become in any of these ways part of the premises of a maintained school will be regarded, for the purposes of the new regulations, as becoming maintained. Governors who intend their school to follow such a course may therefore make a declaration of intent in the standard terms, and the remainder of this Circular should be read accordingly.

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Grant for Pupils Admitted in Subsequent Years

6. Paragraph 2 of regulation 3 prescribes further conditions for the payment of grant in respect of pupils admitted in any educational year subsequent to 1976-7. Grant will be payable to a school in respect of such pupils only if the Secretary of State is satisfied on 1 January preceding the beginning of the relevant educational year that the proprietors' intention as declared in 1975 still holds good and that -

a. the proprietors are in consultation with the specified local education authority and the authority are not unwilling to maintain the school; and

b. either the necessary statutory proposals have been submitted to (and not rejected by) the Secretary of State or he is satisfied that there is good reason why they have not yet been submitted.

7. The Secretary of State expects to have received not later than the end of 1976 appropriate statutory proposals in respect of the generality of schools which have expressed the intention of coming into the maintained system. No grant will be payable to any school in respect of pupils admitted after the educational year 1976-7 if by the end of 1976 proposals have already been submitted and rejected; nor will it be payable to a school for which proposals have not by then been submitted unless the governors are able to satisfy the Secretary of State in a particular case that there are special reasons why this could not have been done. In each such case he will expect the proposals to be made at the earliest appropriate opportunity in 1977. The Secretary of State will carry out a further review at the end of 1977 to determine whether there is any remaining school whose circumstances are so exceptional that proposals could not by then have reasonably been submitted; if not there will be no further deferment of the phasing-out of grants.

8. Once grant has ceased to be payable in respect of any one year's intake, it will not be payable in respect of any subsequent year's intake. Thus, once the phasing-out of grant to a school has commenced, it will continue until in due course the payment of grant ceases altogether and the school as a result ceases to be a direct grant school.

Removal of Controls

9. Regulation 4 makes provision to remove or disapply certain controls imposed by the Direct Grant Schools Regulations 1959 in respect of schools in which the phasing-out of grants has commenced. In the case of such a school:

a. the provisions of the 1959 Regulations as regards the constitution

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of the governing body are replaced by a requirement for the governing body to be constituted as may appear appropriate to the Secretary of State after consultation with the proprietors. This will permit the governing body of a school to be reconstituted by order made by the Secretary of State under section 1(2)(c) of the Education Act 1973 without impairing the right of the proprietors to apply to the Charity Commissioners for a new scheme if they prefer;

b. the approval of the Secretary of State to the provision or alteration of premises will no longer be required;

c. the requirements of the 1959 Regulations as regards charges for school dinners, arrangements for admission (including free and reserved places) and the approval and remission of fees will apply only in respect of pupils for whom grant is still payable, so long as any such pupils remain in the school.

Grants to Schools Becoming Maintained

10. Regulation 5 enables the Secretary of State, when a direct grant grammar school becomes a county or voluntary school, to pay grants to the proprietors in order to cover:

a. the outstanding balance of certain capital debts incurred before 11 March 1975 in connection with the provision of premises or equipment. Grant will be paid only in respect of debts which have been serviced from tuition fees approved by the Secretary of State;

b. 85% of any expenditure incurred on approved building projects undertaken after 10 March 1975 and before the school becomes maintained. Only expenditure on approved building work undertaken to meet emergency or other exceptional circumstances during this period will be considered for grant under this head;

c. any expenses necessarily incurred in connection with the school becoming maintained. In particular, this will enable the Secretary of State to make grants, if necessary, to meet unavoidable deficits attributable to expenditure of one kind or another from income (eg compensatory or redundancy payments to staff) for purposes connected with the transition to the maintained system. The Secretary of State will exercise his discretion to make grants under this head only if he is satisfied that the expenditure was essential and of such a nature that without it the governors would not have been able to make, or look for

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the concurrence of the local education authority in making, the formal proposal to become maintained.
Assistance with Fees

11. Regulation 6 has the effect that, for the purposes of the Regulations for Scholarships and Other Benefits 1945, pupils taking up places at direct grant schools for which grant is no longer payable may be treated in the same way as pupils taking up places at independent schools. The new Regulations leave unchanged the powers and obligations of authorities under Section 6 of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1953.



12. Entry to the maintained system is effected by the approval of the Secretary of State of formal proposals made to him under section 13 of the Education Act 1944 (as amended). If the proposal is that the direct grant school should be maintained as a county school, it must be made by the local education authority under section 13(1)(b); if it is that the direct grant school should be maintained as a voluntary school (whether controlled or aided), it must be made by the proprietors, after consultation with the local education authority, under section 13(2). A straightforward proposal for the maintenance of a direct grant grammar school as a voluntary school, if made with the concurrence of the local education authority, the proprietors and any trustees with a vested interest in the school premises, is exempted by the proviso to section 13(3) from the public notice and objection provisions of that sub-section. If, however, the proposal involves amalgamation of the direct grant school with an existing school (see paragraph 5 above) this exemption does not apply unless the other school is also a direct grant school.

13. Where an authority are approached with a view to a direct grant school's finding a place in their system the Secretary of State hopes they will give it the most serious consideration, and do everything they can to facilitate the transition for any school willing to make it. He recognises that in some cases the acceptance of generally small and hitherto selective schools, some with a boarding element, into local comprehensive systems will present problems, but he hopes that both sides will make every effort to reach agreement wherever possible on the statutory proposals to be submitted to him at the appropriate time.

14. The Secretary of State wishes to emphasise that the Department will be ready to offer all possible help in any discussions between authorities and

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schools. He asks authorities to inform the Department if they propose to notify the governors of a school that they will not support statutory proposals by the governors or make such proposals themselves. Such notification would, by virtue of paragraph 3(2)(b) of the new regulations, make it impossible for the Secretary of State to pay grant in respect of pupils admitted to the school subsequently, and he would wish to satisfy himself that, in all the circumstances, it was reasonable for the authority to proceed with it.

Proposed Admission Arrangements

15. To conform with the Government's policy on the organisation of secondary education as set out in Circular 4/74, the regulations provide (paragraph 3(1)(a)) that the proprietors' intention should be that their school should be maintained as a county or voluntary school where the admission of pupils is not based wholly or partly on selection by reference to ability or aptitude, and no formal proposal which does not meet this condition will be approved by the Secretary of State. If, after a school has become maintained casual vacancies arise in forms which were admitted while the school was a selective school, they may be filled on a suitably selective basis. In other respects the arrangements for admission to a maintained school which was formerly a direct grant school will be those specified in the articles of government which will be made in the normal way in accordance with the requirements of the Education Acts.


16. The Secretary of State will not withhold approval from a proposal that a direct grant school should be maintained as a county or voluntary school solely on the ground that the premises of the school are not, or in their proposed new function would not be, of the standard required by the Standards for School Premises Regulations 1959. It will be for governors or local education authorities, as the case may be, to bring the premises up to the prescribed standard as soon as may be. No special allocation of resources will be made for this purpose in building programmes. It will be for the maintaining authority to deal with the building requirements of maintained schools which were formerly direct grant schools on the same basis, both as to priorities and programming procedures, as other maintained schools. Responsibility for the cost of any such building work, and any associated financial arrangements, will be those appropriate to the type and classification of the maintained school,


17. Questions affecting the staff of direct grant schools which enter the maintained system may arise in connection with qualified teacher (QT) status, salaries and further employment.

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18. While no guarantee can be given that QT status will automatically be granted to teachers entering the maintained system who do not already possess it, the Department will be ready to consider an application from a local education authority for QT status on the basis of service and experience and qualifications in respect of any teacher without that status; the procedure is, set out in paragraphs 15 and 16 of Circular 11/73. The Department will also be ready to receive enquiries on this subject from individual teachers; any such enquiry should be made in writing, addressed to Teachers' Salaries and Qualifications Division, DES, Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington, Co Durham, and should make clear that it concerns a person who is teaching in a direct grant grammar school. For teachers with QT status who have not completed a period of probation, the Department will be prepared to waive probation on the recommendation of the local education authority.

19. The provisions in the Burnham Salaries document which relate to safeguarding of salaries do not apply to staff hitherto employed in direct grant schools; but the Secretary of State hopes that, where a direct grant school enters the maintained system, arrangements can be made to maintain as far as possible the salary and position which each member of staff had before the change in status of the school. Similarly the Secretary of State hopes that the local education authority will make every effort to find appropriate employment for all members of staff either in the school or elsewhere in the authority's service. Where this does not prove to be possible, the issue of compensation for termination of employment by the school governors will arise: this matter is under consideration by the Department.

Boarding Schools

20. It will be open to the governors of any direct grant boarding school to propose, after consultation with the local education authority, that the school shall enter the maintained system as a boarding school. The Secretary of State hopes that such proposals will be made whenever, in the view of the governors and the authority, there is a continuing boarding need which would be met by the school. As with proposals for day schools, proposals for boarding schools must also provide for the admission of pupils to be without reference to ability or aptitude.


21. It is the hope of the Secretary of State that the schools and local education authorities will, as quickly as is consistent with a proper consideration of the courses of action open in particular cases, reach decisions of principle

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and carry them into effect so that prolonged uncertainty about the future of the schools can be avoided in the interests of all concerned.

WD Pile

Leslie Jones

To Local Education Authorities
and the governors of Direct Grant
Grammar Schools.