Reviewed by: Ravinder Athwal, Resources Committee, 17th May 2021
Next Review: Summer 2023
The Governing Body regards the school buildings and grounds (which are owned by Lewisham Council) as a community asset and will make every reasonable effort to enable them to be used as much as possible.
However, the overriding aim of the Governing Body is to support the school in providing the best possible education for its pupils, the promotion of equality of opportunity and the community cohesion of the local area. Any lettings of the premises to outside organisations will be considered with this in mind.
Definition of a letting
A letting may be defined as:
“Any use of the school buildings and ground by parties other than the school and its partners. This may be a community group (such as a local music group or football team), or a commercial organisation (such as the local branch of ‘Weight Watchers’)”.
The following activities fall within the corporate life of the school. These activities are not considered to be lettings and costs arising from these uses are therefore a legitimate charge against the school’s delegated budget:
- Governing body meetings
- Extra-curricular activities for pupils organised by the school
- School performances
- Family learning
- Parents’ meetings
- Meetings of the PTA
- PTA organised events
- Services provided by partner organisations such as Global Camps
Priority for lettings
The Governing Body is mindful of the needs in the local area and has carried out an assessment of local needs. This information has been used to assess the priorities for lettings.
The following lettings are especially encouraged:
- Lettings to ethnic minority groups such as mother tongue or supplementary schools
- Educational activities open to school pupils and their families
- Recreational activities open to school pupils and their families
- Activities organised by local community groups for the benefit of the local community
- Lettings to parents attached to the school
- Lettings to people living in the school’s local community
- Lettings to voluntary organisations
- Lettings to parent support groups
- Lettings to self help groups
- Faith groups
- Lettings to women’s groups
- Lettings to people with a disability
- Lettings to low income groups
- Lettings to children’s groups
- Lettings youth groups
The following activities are not considered to be appropriate for lettings as they are either well provided for in the local area; are not deemed to be compatible with the ethos of the school or are not able to be accommodated within the school’s facilities:
- Commercial activities with little potential to generate income or support for the school
- Events selling alcohol
- Activities promoting gambling.
Hours of Opening
The premises are available for use between the hours of 9am (09:00hrs) and 11pm (23:00hrs) Monday – Saturday and 9am (09:00hrs) and 10.30pm (22:30hrs) on Sundays. (NO EXTENSIONS SHALL BE GRANTED), excluding all Bank/Public Holidays, when the buildings are not open to any user. Use of the premises on Bank/Public Holidays must be made by prior separate arrangement.
Types of Lettings
The Governing Body has agreed to define lettings under the following categories:
School Lettings for activities for pupils or their parents and carers that provide educational benefit to pupils, which the school wishes to subsidise
Community Lettings for other community activities which should be made on the basis of full cost recovery
Commercial lettings will be charged on a cost plus an income margin for the school.
The Governing Body is responsible for setting charges for the letting of the school premises. These are set out in the school’s charging policy.
The scale of charges will be reviewed annually by the governing body for implementation from the beginning of the next financial year, with effect from 1st April of that year. Details of current charges will be provided in advance of any letting being agreed.
For the purpose of charging, the headteacher and school business manager are empowered to determine to which group any particular individual or organisation belongs. They are also able to offer any discounts or agree a subsidy for any lettings, as they deem appropriate. The basis of charging will be determined by the purpose for which a letting is arranged.
The school is constrained by law to apply value added tax to all transactions where this is appropriate. The letting of rooms for non-sporting activities is exempt of VAT, whereas sports lettings are subject to VAT.
The minimum hire period will be one hour. The school reserves the right to require a deposit over and above the hiring charge as a surety against damage to the premises (including any equipment) or the premises being left in an unacceptable condition necessitating their incurring additional cost for cleaning, caretaking or other expenses.
The school will seek to recover any cost incurred by the school that are unavoidable and result directly from the cancellation of a letting. The timescale and charges for cancellations are set out in the Terms and Conditions of use.
Conduct of users
No litter shall be left on or about the premises that is likely to cause an environmental concern and nuisance to local residents.
No animals shall be permitted on the premises other than trained guide dogs accompanying blind persons.
No activity shall be carried out on the premises which, in the opinion of the school, could be regarded as obscene or which contravenes the Race Relations or Sex Discrimination Acts or which contravenes the school’s Equal Opportunities Policy.
The activity of users shall not generate a level of noise (on arrival or at departure) likely to cause persistent discomfort to nearby residents.
All noise (including music) should be kept within the level set by the local authority’s environmental health department. Music or amplified sound should not be played on the premises after 11.00 (23:00hrs) – Monday to Saturday and 10.30pm (22:30hrs) – Sundays.
Users shall not park their vehicles in a way likely to cause a nuisance to local residents.
The ‘responsible person’ shall be the stated hirer which is the person who has control of the premises and persons in connection with carrying out its activity. All hirers must act in accordance with current fire safety regulation at all times.
- Take measures to reduce and mitigate the risk and spread of fire on the premises.
- Fire exits, fire exit routes and all means of escape must be used safely and kept free from any obstructions at all times.
- Fire evacuation (drills) should be carried out every six months.
- Internal fire doors are to be kept closed at all times.
- Firefighting appliances must be kept in their proper places, only used by their proper purposes and must not be damaged in any way.
- The means for detecting or warning of fire such as fire alarms or smoke detectors must not be damaged in any way.
- Items of equipment and combustible materials must be stored safely, kept to a minimum with unwanted items disposed of periodically.
- Be aware and follow all emergency procedures concerning ’action to be taken in the event of fire’ on the premises.
- Instruct employees and organisers of the activity in fire safety.
Use of the premises and its facilities is subject to hirers accepting responsibility for returning furniture and equipment to their positions prior to use & for securing doors & windows as directed by the Premises Manager or other authorised school employee. ALL USERS SHALL LEAVE THE PREMISES IN A CLEAN AND TIDY CONDITION, ALTHOUGH THIS APPLIES ONLY TO REMOVING RUBBISH, SWEEPING FLOORS & WIPING KITCHEN SURFACES. ALL OTHER CLEANING WILL BE CARRIED OUT BY STAFF OF THE SCHOOL AT NO EXTRA CHARGE. Users failing to meet these conditions may forfeit their deposit.
The Head teacher has delegated authority to determine the security risk for each letting and will be responsible for allocating a continuous security presence or other control measure.
Management of lettings
The Governing Body has delegated day-to-day responsibility for lettings to the headteacher in accordance with the Governing Body’s policy. Where appropriate, the headteacher may delegate all or part of this responsibility, such as security, child protection to other members of staff, whilst still retaining overall responsibility for the lettings process.
If the headteacher has any concern about whether a particular request for a letting is appropriate or not, he will consult with the chair of governors.
The school should ensure that the terms of any contract for lettings such as supplementary schools; theatre groups; sports activities; cubs and scouts etc, that will require the contractor to employ staff or use volunteers to work with, or provide services for children, regardless of whether they attend the school or not, also requires the contractor to adopt and implement the measures described in this guidance. They should also monitor the contractor’s compliance.
An annual report on lettings will be made to The Governing Body and will include information on users, finances, incidents and accidents, enquiries, and any lettings refused.
Considering applications for lettings
Organisations seeking to hire the school premises should approach the headteacher. Details of charges and conditions of use should be given or referred to.
An Initial Request Form, a copy of which is below, should be completed at this stage. A record of all enquiries should be kept on file.
The headteacher or school business manager will decide on the application with consideration to:
- The priorities for lettings agreed by Governors and set out in the school’s lettings policy
- The availability of the facilities and staff
- The school’s equal opportunities, health and safety, child protection policies
- The health and safety considerations such as numbers of users, type of activity, qualifications of instructors etc.
Issuing a Lettings Contract
Once a letting has been approved, confirmation will be sent to the hirer, enclosing a copy of the terms and conditions and the Lettings Contract via the online form above.
The Lettings Contract should then be signed and returned to the school. The school shall be in receipt of these signed copies before a letting takes place.
The person applying to hire the premises will be invoiced for the cost of the letting, in accordance with the Governing Body’s current scale of charges. We will seek payment in advance in order to reduce any possible bad debts and or a deposit to cover damage. A guarantee card should support cheques wherever possible.
An official receipt will be issued for all payments received. All lettings fees received will be paid into the school’s individual bank account. The income and expenditure relating to lettings should be clearly recorded by the school and reported under the guidelines for Consistent Financial Reporting.
The Headteacher on behalf of the Governing Body has the right to refuse an application, and no letting should be regarded as “booked” until approval has been given in writing and payment received in full. The reason for refusals should be recorded on the bottom of the application for lettings form and fully explained to the enquirer.