This policy is current as at 22/07/2018 06:43pm, AEST. Please refer to policy library website (https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library) for an updated version.

Community Use of School Facilities

Schools are encouraged to make their facilities available for use by the community. This must be for appropriate purposes and must not interfere with the school’s provision of quality learning programs.

1. Policy statement

1.1

Schools are valuable community assets which should be available for community use, when not required for school purposes.

1.2

Schools support families and communities by making facilities available for children’s services.

1.3

School facilities must only be used for activities that do not interfere with the school’s teaching and learning programs.

1.4

School facilities must only be used for activities which are consistent with the values of Public Education and the school’s purpose and goals.

1.5

Community use applications are determined on whether facilities are fit for the proposed use, the proposed use is appropriate and the proposed community user is suitable.

1.6

Priority is given to applications from community groups and organisations as listed in the implementation procedures.

1.7

Any necessary consultation between the school principal, other departmental officers, the community use applicant and other key stakeholders should be conducted prior to any agreement being signed.

1.8

A written agreement for the community use of school facilities is made to formalise the rights and obligations of both parties.

1.9

Community use involving the upgrading of facilities, children’s services, commercial ventures or uses for durations over 12 months should be referred to the local Assets Management Unit.

1.10

Community use agreements are subject to suspension or termination in circumstances of emergent school and department requirements.

1.11

Schools will charge appropriate fees for the use of their facilities. Community Languages Schools approved by the department:

  • have free access to school facilities for community language classes during school terms.
  • are not charged costs for utilities for community language classes during school terms.

1.12

The department provides funding to schools to assist in meeting additional costs in utilities arising from the free use of school facilities by approved Community Languages Schools.

2. Audience and applicability

2.1

The policy applies to all NSW public schools.

2.2

The policy relates to not-for-profit and for-profit community use of school facilities.

3. Context

3.1

School facilities are primarily for educating children and young people, however there are many times when school facilities are not in use.

3.2

The department encourages community and education groups to use school facilities in accordance with this policy when they are available.

3.3

This sharing of resources strengthens the partnership between schools and local communities.

3.4

Community use of school facilities benefits both schools and their communities through:

  • access to services to support families and communities.
  • enhanced co-operation and goodwill between the school and the community.
  • the provision of additional extracurricular learning opportunities.
  • better access for communities and schools to state-of-the-art facilities.
  • opportunities for parents and the broader community to become better informed about and participate in the school's operation and activities.
  • more effective use of valuable school facilities and
  • opportunities for the community to play a positive part in school security through out-of-hours use of the facilities.

4. Responsibilities and delegations

4.1 Principals

4.1.1

Work collaboratively with the local community to address identified needs through the use of school facilities.

4.1.2

Plan and promote mutually beneficial community use of school facilities. Manage community use of school facilities to the mutual benefit of the school and the community.

4.1.3

Receive applications for community use and evaluate each application in accordance with the implementation procedures, consideration of the needs of the local community and child protection requirements. When needed, consult with the local Asset Management Unit.

4.1.4

Adopt a risk management approach to community use of school facilities, including conducting a risk assessment, before approving any application.

4.1.5

Approve applications for community use and sign community use agreements consistent with their delegation.

4.1.6

Endorse and refer community use arrangements involving upgrading of facilities, children’s services, commercial ventures, or uses exceeding 12 months’ duration to the local Asset Management Unit.

4.1.7

Where the community user is an approved Community Languages School:

  • ensure that the department is notified of any variation in the use of school facilities.
  • allow free access to school facilities for community language classes during school terms.
  • disclose funding information in the annual financial statements.

4.2 Directors, Public Schools NSW

4.2.1

Liaise with the school and the community to resolve issues of availability or management of community use of school facilities and assist in dispute resolution.

4.2.2

Monitor the effective implementation of this policy and procedures.

4.3 Local Asset Management Units

4.3.1

Provide principals and Directors, Public Schools NSW with support and advice on proposals to enter into community use agreements, licences, leases and project deeds.

4.3.2

Assist principals and Directors, Public Schools NSW in the development, review, approval and termination of community use agreements, licences, leases and project deeds.

4.3.3

Review architectural plans for any proposed upgrade of facilities and ensure that they meet school, department and legal requirements and that the project has the approval of the Minister if required.

4.4 Asset Management Directorate

4.4.1

Assess and approve community use arrangements involving upgrading of facilities, children’s services, commercial ventures, or uses exceeding 12 months’ duration and all proposals by schools or community partners to terminate such an agreement before the end of the agreement.

4.4.2

Record details of all approved community use agreements, leases, licences, and project deeds on the Asset Management System.

4.5 Director, School Policy and Information Management

4.5.1

Develop and maintain policies, procedures and associated documentation relating to community use of school facilities.

4.6 Legal Services Directorate

4.6.1

Provide principals and directors with legal support and advice for community use agreements and assist with the drafting of complex agreements, licences and leases relating to community use of school facilities.

5. Monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements

5.1

Directors Public Schools NSW, in association with the Asset Management Directorate, will monitor the implementation of this policy.

5.2

The Manager, Schools Finance, will monitor the implementation of funding to schools hosting approved Community Languages Schools.

6. Contact

  • Operational and implementation enquiries – local Asset Management Unit, phone 132 779.
  • Community Languages School Program funding enquiries 02 9244 5730.
  • Enquiries on the foundation grant for use by Community Languages Schools – Schools Finance, phone 02 9244 5586.
  • Policy enquiries – Director, School Policy and Information Management 02 9244 5070.
  • To obtain accessible versions of supporting documents for this policy, call Policy Review Coordinator on 02 9266 8933.

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