Community Use of School Facilities
A new Music in Communities Network project looks at one of the key issues facing community music groups – indeed, many kinds of community groups – finding space to meet, rehearse and perform.
Very few community music groups have facilities of their own, some use council facilities but we know that many are unaffordable for rehearsals and concerts; some use clubs and cafes and community centres. We even know of one community-based youth orchestra that uses the facilities of a TV station. In many communities school facilities offer some of the most useful spaces for musical activities – affordable, accessible, and set up for musical activities. One community music leader told us "school spaces are great because often parking is available on the grounds, a real draw-card for community initiatives at night."
But how do you hire a school hall for a concert? Do you need public liability insurance? How much red tape is involved? Does the school set the rate or does the government set the rate? Should we be able to use a government school facility for free?
In general, schools welcome community groups using their facilities and all* government education departments support this through their policies. There is generally a fee but it is often at the discretion of the principal, sometimes in consultation with the school council, some policies specifically require schools to keep hire fees low. There is generally some paperwork involved most states require Public Liability Insurance but principals may have some discretion about how these policies are applied.
We have found that the policies vary from state to state. This project looks at government schools in different states, firstly to help community groups sift through the paperwork and find out how to use school facilities, and secondly to see where the system could be more supportive of community use.
Non-government schools typically have an individual school policy rather than a policy covering a whole system. The only consistent policy applying to different school systems (government, non-government) in all states and territories is for school halls built as part of the .Building the Education Revolution program (read more).
We hope you find this resource useful. There are two ways to approach this material:
1) By State. Simply click on your state and find all the relevant information about using a government school facility. This is the information you need to know when you hire a school hall for music rehearsals, for example.
2) Comparisons by topic. You can compare the policies of different states by selecting particular topics, such as Insurance or Risk Assessment. Since the information from each state ranges from little or nothing through to comprehensive policies, there are some gaps in these comparisons.
Our overview of policies in each state looks at how different education departments deal with issues such as insurance, formal agreements, and risk assessments. Read more.
1) Your State*
(No information is available for ACT school at this stage)
by Alex Masso, August 2013. Research by Jane Law. Read more about the project.
*Insufficient information was found about the Australian Capital Territory. We will update this resource as that information becomes available.
Pictured: Dandenong Ranges Music Council is co-located at Monbulk Primary School's BER-funded, pianola-inspired, Bev McAlister Performing Arts Centre, named in honour of DRMC's founder