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Children Act 1989 (Higher Education Bursary)(England) Regulations 2009

2009 No. 2274

These Regulations are made under section 23C(5B) of the Children Act 1989 (“the 1989 Act”). As this is the first time the powers in section 23C(5B)(b) (prescribing the meaning of “higher education” for the purposes of section 23C(5A)) have been exercised, the Regulations have been laid in draft before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament in accordance with section 104(3A) and (3B) of the 1989 Act.

Section 23C of the 1989 Act sets out local authority functions in relation to former relevant children, that is young persons aged 18 and over who were but are no longer “looked after” by the authority. These functions include in particular giving the former relevant child financial assistance in connection with his education or training (subsection (4)). By inserting new subsections (5A) to (5C) in section 23C, section 21 of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 added a new duty to pay a higher education bursary to a former relevant child who pursues higher education in accordance with their pathway plan. This bursary is payable in addition to financial assistance under subsection (4). These Regulations make provision for the payment of the bursary by a local authority in England to a former relevant child who is pursuing a course of higher education started on or after 1st September 2008.

Regulation 2 prescribes that the bursary is £2000.

Regulation 3 defines higher education by reference to the courses designated as higher education courses by Regulations made under section 22 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998. These are the Education (Student Support)(No.2) Regulations 2008 (as amended) and the Education (Student Support)(Dance and Drama) Regulations 1999 (also amended), which include first degree and equivalent higher education qualifications, both full-time and part-time courses and some courses delivered by distance learning. The new duty applies to any course that lasts for at least two academic years.

Regulation 4 provides for the payment of the bursary to any former relevant child who has embarked on a course of higher education since 1st September 2008. It is for the authority to decide, after consultation with the former relevant child, whether to pay the bursary as a lump sum or by instalments.

If the bursary is to be paid as a lump sum, it must be paid at the start of the course. If it is to be paid by instalments, it is up to the authority to decide, after consultation with the former relevant child, the amount and timing of each payment, as well as the total number of payments. The only restriction is that the final instalment must be paid before the end of the last year of the course or at the start of the fourth year of the course, whichever is the earlier.
Paragraphs (5) and (6) of regulation 4 give the local authority power to cease paying instalments if the former relevant child ceases to pursue a higher education course and to recover any sums paid by mistake to any person.
An impact assessment has been produced for this instrument. There is no impact on the costs of business, charities or voluntary bodies. The impact on the public sector is minimal.

Made: 21st August 2009
Coming into force in accordance with regulation 1.