This is Section 22 of the Guide to the Law, as published May 2012.
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This section explains that maintained school premises can be used for extended activities and community services. Details are also given about Transfer of Control Agreements (TofCAs).
USE OF PREMISES FOR EXTENDED ACTIVITIES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
1. Schools can accommodate extended and community services if they wish to do so, such as after-school clubs, adult education, out-of-school childcare, sport and youth clubs, and so on. Some schools offer facilities to voluntary organisations. School governing bodies may charge for the provision of extended and community services (see section 27(3) of Education Act 2002). This is subject to the restrictions on charging for education and admission in the Education Act 1996. How charges are applied is a matter for individual governing bodies.
2. Governing bodies may not use their delegated budget shares for anything other than the purposes of the school. The term “purposes of the school” would normally be construed as including all activities that bring an educational benefit to pupils at the school. The term also includes expenditure on pupils registered at other maintained schools and, from 1 April 2011, has also included expenditure on community facilities provided under section 27 of the Education Act 2002. The local authority’s scheme for financing schools should have a section on the financial framework within which schools providing community facilities must work; the Department for Education has issued statutory guidance on the content of LAs’ schemes.
3. Governing bodies can charge for the provision of extended and community services. Overall community use must at least cover its own costs. Profits raised through community use of schools belong to the LA on whose land the profits were made, but LAs may allow schools to keep the income that they generate.
4. The LA can give the governing bodies of community, community special and voluntary controlled schools directions as to how school premises should be used. These directions do not take away the governing body’s responsibility, but they can cover matters such as:
- regular bookings for the youth service or for adult education;
- security and caretaking;
- what costs should be covered by charges;
- the use of a central booking system;
- making sure that community use of the school’s facilities does not affect the day-to-day use of the facilities by pupils, for example by making sure that outdoor sports pitches are not overused.
5. The LA may give a direction to the governing body of a voluntary aided school to provide accommodation free of charge for the education or welfare of young people, if the LA is satisfied that there is no other suitable accommodation available on any weekday when it is not needed for the purposes of the school (subject to a maximum of three days in any week).
6. Directions given by LAs should be reasonable and not interfere too much with the governing body’s control. For example, the LA should not demand that the premises be made available to it if this would force the governing body to break booking agreements.
TRANSFER OF CONTROL AGREEMENTS
7. Governing bodies can enter into a Transfer of Control Agreement (TofCA) as a way of sharing control of the school premises with another body, or transferring control to it. The other body, known as the “controlling body”, will continue the occupation and use of the premises during the times specified in the agreement. Transferring control of the premises to local community groups, sports associations and service providers can enable school facilities to be used without needing ongoing management or administrative time from the school staff. The governing body of a community school must obtain the LA’s consent before entering into a TofCA that transfers control during school hours.
8. However, it may not be necessary for a school to enter into a TofCA to enable another organisation to use their premises. Alternatives can include: a school retaining overall control of the premises, while subletting use of part of their premises to another organisation; or a school entering into a Service Level Agreement with another organisation.
WHAT LEGISLATION DOES THIS REFER TO?
The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA 1998): section 40 and Schedule 13 – these provisions have been repealed but the repeals have not yet been commenced so they remain in force for the time being. Section 31 of the Education Act 2002 (which has not yet been brought into force) and regulations made under that section will eventually replace section 40 and Schedule 13.