Voluntary (aided or Controlled) schools usually comprise two charities that work interdependently
- the governing body, a corporate body created under the SSFA 1998, which runs the school
- the charity, usually called the foundation, which holds the land and buildings on trust for the provision of a school and/or for specified religious and educational purposes.
Each of these charities has its own charity trustees. Governors are charity trustees. Please refer to the Property Advisor for information of the trustees of the foundation.
The 'school' is the charitable activity of the governing body, not an entity in itself.
Use of the Site
It is implicit in the purpose of the charity that the governing body can use the site for its charitable activity 'school' without lease, licence or other agreement.
The governors have 'control of the premises' to decide on occasional or regular lettings. Governors also decide on significant other uses e.g. Pre-school, Out of Hours Clubs etc. Where these are not run by the governing body, the foundation trustees will be party to the legal agreement that allows the other party to occupy the site. The legal agreement will be a lease or licence. the legal agreement is on commercial terms.
The governing body should not agree to a use of the premises that is contrary to the purposes and practice of the Church of England. for advice on what is 'contrary please consult your local vicar.
The governing body can be directed by the Local Authority to allow use for certain purposes e.g. youth work. This rarely happens.
Legislation allows for certain uses e.g. for political meetings before elections. Only the Foundation governors of the governing body can decide the use of the premises on Sundays.
Revenue or Capital Expenditure
All revenue work to the premises is LA liability, but the funding is delegated to schools being part of the Direct Schools Grant (DSG). There is no governing body contribution to revenue work. All work costing less that £2,000 is automatically revenue expenditure.
All capital work at Voluntary Controlled (VC) school premises is LA liability, but certain responsibilities will have been delegated to schools in agreement with the Schools Forum.
All capital work at Voluntary Aided (VA) school premises is governing body liability except work to the playing fields.
The following examples are intended to provide guidance on how to decide what might be regarded as revenue (paid for from revenue budgets) and capital expenditure (which can be met from capital grant).
Localised repairs to a roof (patching or mending) should usually be met from revenue funds, because this would be regarded a normal repair and maintenance work. If the whole roof, or a substantial part of a large roof, needs to be replaced, then this could reasonably be regarded as capital.
Small repairs to playgrounds (filling individual potholes etc.) should normally be met from revenue funds, because this would be regarded as normal repair and maintenance work. If the whole of the playground needs to be resurfaced, then this might reasonably be regarded as a capital item.
a boiler has unexpectedly broken down, and requires a new part which will cost (1,800. This could have been regarded as either revenue (because it is repair and maintenance) or capital. The cost, however, dictates tha tit must be revenue because it is below the 'de minimis' threshold of £2,000.
Replacing a few damaged chairs or desks would be regarded as a revenue cost because it is normal wear and tear. if, however, as part of a refurbishment of a whole classroom, all of the furniture is to be replaced then it can be included as part of the capital project.
Capital Includes - Purchase of computer hardware and software where these are to be capitalised or are funded from capital grant; E-learning credit expenditure: ICT in schools capital expenditure. However capital cannot be used for leasing of IT equipment and warranties as these must be funded from revenue.
Devolved Formula Capital (DFC)
DFC is allocated annually to all schools on a formula - £4,000/schools=£11.25/primary pupil or £16.88/secondary pupil. As VAT cannot be reclaimed by VA schools their DFC allocations are greater.
The local authority holds grant for VC schools and the Diocese for VA schools. Each will have processes for accessing the grant. VA school governing bodies contribute 10% of the grant.
School Condition Allocations
this is a grant distributed to a 'Responsible Body' for allocation on priority condition work. Priority condition work are those items that if left unattended could close the school e.g. boiler replacement or renewing a flat roof.
The Responsibly Body for VC schools is the Local authority, for VA schools their diocese.
The VA strand of Condition capital is the Locally Co-ordinated Voluntary Aided Programme (LCVAP). LCVAP is an annual programme that runs with the financial year (April to March). VA head teachers receive a letter from the Diocese during the Autumn Term inviting them to submit a bid for funding in the next financial year. The bid includes; what the work is, why it needs to be done; the budget cost; how long it will take. VAT is applicable to condition works. Charities cannot reclaim VAT.
Advise should be sought from appropriately experienced persons e.g. architect or surveyor. School governors contribute 10% of the grant. A few VA school foundations have endowment funds which may assist governors with their liabilities. Diocesan consent is required for capital works above £10,000. The DfE website provides guidance on VA Capital
Stand alone academies
Academies comprise of three charities that work interdependently.
- The academy trust (academy proprietor) is the charity. the academy is the charitable activity of the academy trust.
- The governors of the academy trust are charity trustees and company directors
- The charity usually called the foundation, which holds the land and buildings on the trust for the provision of a school and/or for specified religious and educational purposes.
Groups of Academies
An academy trust that run a number of academy schools is called a multi-academy trust. the above three charities applies but;
- the academy trust is one single charity
- the directors of the academy trust are the charity trustees and company directors
- each individual school may have its own governors (sitting on a local governing body), but in this arrangement they are not charity trustees: they are sub-committees with delegated authority
Use of the Site
Unlike Voluntary schools academies occupy the premises through formal agreements.
The Playing Fields
These are usually owned by the local authority. The agreement is a 125 year lease. The Academy Trust is responsible for maintenance and insurance. Consent is required for works. A sub lease cannot be granted.
The agreement for the land and buildings owned by the charitable foundation is the Church Supplemental Agreement (CSA). It is most akin to a Licence that allows the academy trust to occupy whilst it fulfils the purposes of the foundation. The academy trust is responsible for maintenance and insurance. Consent is required for works. Insurance is to be in the joint names of the foundation and the academy trust. The foundations assets are not to be valued in the academy trust accounts.
Capital and Revenue Expenditure
The definitions used in the voluntary schools section above apply. The academy's Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State applies.
Devolved Formula Capital (DFC)
The formula allocation for VC schools applies. DFC is paid to the academy trust.
Condition Improvement Fund (CIF)
This is the equivalent fund for academies for condition work. it is subject to a competitive bid process. Details of the annual fund can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/condition-improvement-fund
Remember the CSA requires approval to works.
The Local Authority has the duty to ensure sufficient school places are provided. Governing bodies cannot be directed to expand their school. The process should be one of agreement.
The LA responsibility to provides places does not automatically mean it commissions and undertakes building work at VA schools or academies. This should be by agreement and protect the governors’ premises responsibilities by way of collateral warranties from the contractor and any party with a design role.
Particular Church School Requirements
A school with a Religious Character is subject to section 48 (denominational) inspection. The inspection will look for physical expression of the religious character of the school in
1 Displays or symbol in the school entrance - allow space and provide focus lighting.
2.The suitability of the school hall for collective worship:
i. being big enough for the whole school to gather together - demonstrate by furniture layout;
ii. that worship is an important part of the life of the school - demonstrate by being able to change the mood of the hall for worship and lighing and having wall space for Christian symbols, and, at times, room for a communion table, (demonstrated through furniture layout).
3. Aids to contemplation/reflection - a quiet area in the grounds and display space inside.
It is Christian understanding that each person is unique and special to God. Our purpose is to love each other as an outworking of God’s love to us.
Listed below are some ways in which Christian values can be expressed through how the school is managed and designed. Whilst they are particularly relevant to significant change in the premises they apply to any change and how decisions are made on what to do.
- Creativity Mankind made in God’s image is creative and should pursue excellence making the very most of the design. Quality materials designed and assembled in a first class way.
- Care of the world Exercised in the choices of materials, construction methods and design so as to reduce the energy demand to heat, cool and light the building. The expectation is that design will rely on natural ventilation rather than energy intensive and costly mechanical ventilation.
- Community Sufficient space to worship together as a school. Space to promote positive interaction; dining together and in socialising in small groups both inside and outside. A welcoming building, where the entrance is clear and without barriers ( physical or visual) that would exclude anyone and with generous space to greet and welcome visitors.
- Symbols and Symbolism As an aid to the worship of God. Expressing in the design (and artwork) something of the 'otherness' of God. this could be in the contrast of scale of the large and the small, light and shade, in intricate detail, colour and material.
Clever Classrooms. Based on the results of the HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, clear evidence has been found that well-designed primary schools boost children’s academic performance in reading, writing and maths. Differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms explain 16% of the variation in learning progress over a year for the 3766 pupils included in the study. Or to make this more tangible, it is estimated that the impact of moving an ‘average’ child from the least effective to the most effective space would be around 1.3 sub-levels, a big impact when pupils typically make 2 sub-levels progress a year.
Learning to improve School energy efficiency. By the Carbon Trust.