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General Chat Thread, Charging students for printing - Legal? in General; Hi everyone, The head of IT at our establishment gave me the link to this site a while back and ...
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    Charging students for printing - Legal?

    Hi everyone,

    The head of IT at our establishment gave me the link to this site a while back and it has been a Godsend for most of the problems I have faced.

    However, we are currently trying to review our printing costs and have print credit software already setup (PCounter) which is running without too many hiccups.

    The problem is now that a lot of students (11-19 yr olds) here are running out of the print credits we set up at the beginning of this term (200 credits at 1 credit per page mono and 3 credits colour), and a mass email was sent out informing staff that students having printing problems were out of credits and should come to buy them from us.

    The issue was then raised is it legal to be charging students to print when education for them is free?

    Would be grateful for your experiences and feedback so that I can present our case to those who make the decisions

    Kind regards,

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    I don't know for definite but I don't think it is illegal. I know Art get kids to buy stuff they need, same for textiles, DT and Food tech. It may be a little (not sure it is the right word so sorry) unsavoury to some but illegal sounds a bit strong.
    As long as you give a reasonable amount to start with, don't set the levels too high and they all know the score then I can't see a problem.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    We do that here. I think that you can certainly justify it if you given a reasonable/fair 'free' credit at the beginning of the year.

    I charge as near to cost as possible, with mono prints being under a penny (we don't charge for paper). Given that the kids receive 2 at the beginning of the year and last year's credit rolls over it is pretty fair.

    You could probably liken it to stationery. You aren't expected to buy pens and pencils for the kids... it is something that they are expected to bring with them to school at their expense. Of course, if you are in a more deprived area where the pupils genuinely couldn't afford such a scheme it is an entirely different matter.

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    PEO
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    I think as long as the charges cover the costs and the school is not making a profit then you should be fine. Best bet would be to get in touch with you lea legal department for advice.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Education is not free ... it is an entitlement. There is a difference ... but enough of the semantics.

    Print costs are large ... as part of a controlled and sustainable approach to budgeting you should be requesting enough toner and paper to cover what a student needs to produce as part of the curriculum.

    However ... and this is the good bit. As part of your school's / college's drive to economic wellbeing you need to ensure students can budget. A real world example can be driven home by the idea of print credits. A reasonable allocation is given to students and you should stick with that. Students who want to print out pics of their favourite footballer / car / boots / etc have to cough up the cash. Students that abuse the system by printing out repeated rubbish ... cough up the cash. Students need to learn appropriate printing in the same way that we might budget to make sure we have enough petrol to get to work.

    It also ticks a number of boxes for your SLT! :-) just throw in 'work related learning' and see Senior Manglement shudder!

  6. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    projector1 (1st October 2009)

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    Diello's Avatar
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    As long as students & parents are informed before hand, then no legality issues as long as it's agreed with SLT and the money is handled in the prescribed way for the school.

    We generally say you can have more for free if the report of your printing shows it's applicable schoolwork, if it's shown that you've been abusing it for personal/unneeded printing, than it's reasonable to expect those to be paid for, as that printing is non-educational - so they're not so much paying for MORE credits, as they are for those they wasted.

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    contink's Avatar
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    Here you go... a nice little explanation to keep you ticking over...



    As with all education, our children will learn a number of important extra-curricular life skills such as budgeting, prioritising and cost management, something our printer credit system helps impress on the students. This has recently become especially relevant given the current focus on credit in the news media. To this end it is expected that some children will overrun in the first term but learn to manage their usage as they learn from the experience. The process of spending their own money to make up their printing balance is likely to further reinforce this learning process.

    Additionally there is an increasing concern regarding the environmental impact of printing and the associated waste, so our children and staff are encouraged to keep their printing to a minimum.

    We fully recognise that some children will have no printing facilities at home and that some extra-ordinary situations do exist (These can be examined on a case by case basis). However, it should be noted that the charges applied to students who require additional credits in schools are a small proportion compared to those incurred directly by the school or those with the facilities at home.

    As with all consumables in schools. Printing is a finite resource that cannot be used irresponsibly. As such applying credits helps reduce waste, and ensures that other aspects of the children's education are not reduced or lost due to consumables spending.


    ... and yes I used to write policy documents when I worked in Social Care...


    I'd provide a few examples of actual costs incurred by the schools in terms of maintenance, paper, ink/toner, etc and also look at some cost of ownership studies for a few inkjets likely to be in homes as well.. That way if anyone pushes you can provide them with clear proof that you are actually providing a value for money printing service.

    Nothing in life is "free" and if parents are under the misapprehension that it is, they need a good firm wake-up call now.

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    We monitor our printers with..erm..one sec..oh yes, Print Manager Plus. We don't set credits, but we do monthly billing direct to departments, for staff printing.

    Basically, every month we pull a report out of Access, print a slip, they sign, we hand to accounts for a funds transfer. We also do "focussed" billing for individual lessons if they're taking the mickey..Leisure and Tourism for instance.

    Same as if depts want toners..we buy in bulk, they want one, they sign the handover cost and we take the money. Paper too..by the ream, or by the box.

    It's amazing how fast they adapt and how much more careful they are...we've even had English staff using the LRC after hours and hammering the printer in there..boy, are they in for a shock if they think they're under our radar.

    As far as kids are concerned, "Coursework" printing is free, within reason. Wasted paper is charged for, as are stupidity misprints or outright abuse. Out of hours printing to take home for non-curricular stuff is..5p a page or thereabouts. They're happy with that, and pay without being asked!

    If they want something from the waxjet phaser, it's a bit more, but again they're happy to pay it.

    Legality I'm not sure on, but nobody complains, so..

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    bossman's Avatar
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    Printer credits here:
    Staff - department printer = unlimited,
    anywhere outside their dept = allotted 200 printer credits per week.
    Students - year 7 - 9 = 30 printer credits per week
    Students - year 10 - 11 = 50 printer credits per week

    Costs = Colour 5 credits, Mono = 2 credits

    This has worked very well for us, the students and staff appreciate our eco friendly approach and we don't have to charge anything for it.
    Last edited by bossman; 21st April 2008 at 04:34 PM. Reason: forgot some text

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    Yeah I would charge them if they are printing out things such as non school work such as a girl at my school does ( Prints out Zac Efron pics each day) also I would give more credits to students in classes where they need to do alot of printing such as my BTEC IT class we have to print out all our assignments.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    We use pcounter, each week we give each student a set amount. We charge or its free for tops if they can justify them.

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    Thanks for your replies I will put all this together and argue our case.

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Education is not free ... it is an entitlement. There is a difference ... but enough of the semantics.
    Not sure you're correct there - the 1996 Education Act states that schools may not charge for school activities that happen within school hours and are regarded as necessary for the delivery of the curriculum. Even traditional chargeables such as ingredients for cookery are not chargeable unless the parents have requested that the finished product is taken home. School can ask for "voluntary contributions" but a child cannot be treated less favourably if the parents do not pay. There are some exceptions for music tuition etc.

    Excerpt from Gateshead LEA

    Education must be free of charge if it takes place completely or mainly during school hours. If the number of places available for a particular activity is limited, the school must decide which pupils should be given the chance to take part.This should not have anything to do with parents wanting or
    being able to contribute to the cost.

    Schools must not charge for materials, books, instruments or other equipment, but they can invite parents to provide or pay for materials for practical lessons. Schools should only make a charge if parents have said in advance that they want to keep the finished product.

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    contink's Avatar
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    That would apply 100% if the school was charging for ALL printing but the school is providing a set allowance of X credit per term/week or whatever with which to meet the needs of the pupils.

    Doubtless a review of what was required and when, would provide a suitable backup to the level set.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    the forthcoming major increase in toner prices
    First I've heard of that. Can you elaborate?

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