Administering the STAR programme
Before a student can take part in a STAR activity, they need the informed consent of their parents or guardians and their teachers.
The consent process ensures all parties understand:
- the reasons for placing the student in a particular course
- how the course will benefit the student and meet their particular needs
- how the course will contribute to meeting STAR objectives.
It is not necessary to obtain parental consent for each event in a series of events, provided that:
- the school has the consent of parents for a student's participation in the school's STAR programme (one or more events)
- parents and whānau are provided with the vital information about each event.
Schools retain responsibility for the enrolment and attendance of their students while they are attending STAR courses with outside providers. The legal requirements for school attendance are outlined in Appendix 3 to Chapter 1 of the Ministry of Education's Funding, Staffing and Allowances Handbook.
External providers will help schools meet these requirements by keeping attendance records and sending them to the school, and the school and the provider will communicate about absences. This arrangement should be clearly set out in the memorandum of understanding between the provider and the school.
Education outside the classroom (EOTC), and health and safety
Off site STAR courses are regarded as education outside the classroom (EOTC). EOTC is "curriculum-based teaching and learning that extends the four walls of the classroom" (EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the curriculum alive).
The school's EOTC policy and procedures should provide the STAR coordinator with the appropriate health and safety procedures for all STAR activities.
Under the Education Act 1989, reinforced by the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995, boards of trustees are legally responsible for the students who take part in EOTC.
"While school boards have overall legal responsibility to provide a safe physical and emotional environments for students … they do not always have direct control over school-related activities. Where school management and staff take on active responsibility, they must exercise this responsibility with due care and within board policy. When an outside provider is contracted by the board, it is expected that the board will retain overall responsibility and accountability and plan accordingly." EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the curriculum alive.
The EOTC guidelines point out that EOTC activities can provide students with the opportunity for great gains but that there is also the potential for loss. Examples of loss include death, physical injury, psychological injury, a lost person, damage to the environment and damage to equipment.
As well as putting in place procedures to mitigate against such loss; schools, providers and workplaces also need to have procedures to deal with any that do occur (for example, procedures to deal with a serious physical injury and with the associated trauma).
If there is an accident during an EOTC event, a board may be held accountable whether the accident is caused by the actions or omissions of a teacher, outside helper, student or commercial operator contracted by the board. Whether accountability goes as far as legal liability for the accident will depend on whether the board complied with its legal obligations when planning and carrying out the EOTC programme.
The STAR coordinator will ensure:
- external providers are aware of their responsibilities while students are on their premises
- external providers have adequate health and safety procedures in place
- the procedures are detailed in the memorandum of understanding.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org [no spam] to order a copy of the book and CD-ROM, EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the curriculum alive.
When students are on work experience, the primary responsibility for health and safety matters rests with the management of the workplace. The Department of Labour provides guidance, via pamphlets and the Internet, to employers who have people undertaking work experience in their workplace. This information can be sourced from The Department of Labour’s website.
Work Experience Notice 2004
To comply with the Work Experience Notice 2004 the STAR coordinator will ensure that:
- there is written documentation of the work experience practices that will be followed and that this is approved by the board of trustees (this can be part of the school’s STAR policy)
- students have consent from their parents, whānau or guardian to take part in the programme
- the only cost, if any, charged to students or their families is for travel to and from the workplace
- student’s attendance is monitored and recorded as if they are attending school
- student’s are not paid
- student’s are not required to join or belong to a union
- student’s will not do any work that is arduous or dangerous given their age or stage of development.
The STAR coordinator will also organise an agreement between each participating student, the school and the employer that covers:
- the knowledge and skills that will be attained
- the assessment method
- the supervision that will be provided for the student
- the student’s attendance hours in the workplace
- which school rules and workplace rules will apply
- procedures (if any) for early withdrawal from the work-based learning or work experience.
To ensure STAR funds are used appropriately:
- the executive officer will hold the funds in a separate section of the school’s accounts and will have in place systems to easily identify how the funds are used
- day-to-day financial administration for the STAR programme can be delegated in total to the STAR coordinator by the principal
- the STAR coordinator is responsible for maintaining records for accountability purposes, in particular for reporting to the Ministry of Education on behalf of the principal/board of trustees, using the STAR Funding Report form provided by the Ministry of Education
- a report on the use of the funds will be presented to the board as part of the STAR annual report.
The STAR coordinator (or STAR team) is responsible for deciding the best use of the funding. When there are conflicting priorities and the STAR funding cannot meet all the prioritised needs, the coordinator will work with the principal to find a suitable solution.
Exemplar: Administering the programme
The Ministry of Education's Funding, Staffing and Allowances Handbook, Appendix 3 to Chapter 1, sets out the funding formula which is updated annually.
Coordinators can see the amount their school received by asking to see the operational funding entitlement information from the principal or the executive officer (or accounts manager).
STAR funding is not intended to cover the full costs of all STAR courses. STAR funding is provided as a ‘top up’ to a school's entitlement staffing and per-pupil funding. The operational funding and staffing entitlement that students on STAR courses generate as regular students should also contribute towards resourcing STAR courses.
STAR is intended as a resource to help students move into further education or employment and is not intended to cover school administration costs because these are provided for in the operational grant. Levies for administration, heating, lighting, water, or rooms are considered examples of inappropriate STAR funding use.
In keeping with the concept of free State education, schools may not charge fees or for any equipment (except any take-home component) or activity associated with STAR-funded courses.
If the STAR funding is insufficient to cover the full costs of a course, schools are expected to contribute the balance from their operational funding and staffing entitlement.
Schools can choose to receive just part of their STAR funding and the STAR-funding request form will indicate the portion of the funding required in the following year.
Appendix 3 to Chapter 1 of the Funding, Staffing and Allowances Handbook includes a table that shows the options available to your school if you have unused STAR funding at the end of the school year.
Up to 10% of STAR funding may be carried forward to the following year without applying to the Ministry of Education. The STAR coordinator can expect these funds to be available at the start of the new school year. This may mean that the coordinator needs to set up special year-end accounting procedures with the executive officer for STAR accounts.
Schools with a rollover in excess of 10% are required to complete an excess rollover funding form, in consultation with and available from their STAR advisor/facilitator.
If school boards of trustees do not intend to use all their STAR funding allocation, they can opt to receive just a portion of it. Boards should use the Roll over template to indicate the portion of the funding they would like to receive.
Resource J is a Roll Over template [PDF; 69kb]
Each school develops a policy for covering the transport costs associated with STAR courses. The options could include:
- paying for all of it out of STAR funding
- asking the parents to contribute some money towards it and paying the balance out of STAR funds
- paying for all of it out of the operational grant.
If the travel is STAR related, the student shouldn't bear the full cost of transport.
Resource K is a Transport Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) [Word; 45kb] - provided by The Learning Project
Some schools charge parents a refundable bond before they allow students to enter a STAR-based programme or participate in STAR-funded courses. This is permitted, provided the school places careful boundaries around it that are outlined in the STAR policy and are clearly communicated to parents.
Documentation to students and parents should make clear:
- the reason for the bond
- how it is to be paid
- how and when it is to be repaid
- the circumstances under which it will be forfeited.
A bond will not be repaid if:
- a student withdraws from a course that has been paid for from the STAR funds, and it is too late to get a refund of these fees
- a student does not attend all or part of a STAR-funded course they have enrolled in, and the absence is not covered by a medical certificate or equivalent documentation
- a student does not meet agreed conditions in regard to course completion.
In special circumstances, the STAR coordinator, in consultation with the principal, can waive the payment of the bond, or its forfeiture.
I agree that [name] should be subject to the polytechnic's regulations when attending classes, and I acknowledge that his/her continuation in the programme will be dependent on satisfactory attendance and conduct.
I take responsibility for his/her transport and enclose a cheque for the bond of $20.00. I acknowledge that [school] will pay approximately $50.00 per day out of STAR funding for my son/daughter to attend this course.