School Facilities: Victoria

The Community Use of School Facilities resource is designed to support access to school facilities by community groups and activities.

Information about Department of Education schools in Victoria

General Policy

There are many opportunities for schools and community partners to work together and share the use of school facilities. Examples of these include:

  • using school premises for community halls and meeting spaces
  • opening school facilities up for use as community recreation facilities
  • creating spaces to support school-aged holiday, before- and after-school programs
  • providing information technology centres for community use
  • sharing libraries or resource centres
  • sharing performing arts spaces
  • co-locating preschool centres on school grounds
  • sharing sporting facilities.

Schools can pursue these opportunities with a number of community partners, including:

  • local councils
  • community organisations
  • sport and recreation providers
  • other education and training providers
  • not-for-profit organisations.

BER Halls

For specific information about using facilities built under the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program, click here.  To find out whether a primary school near you has a BER hall, click here for a list of Primary Schools for the 21st Century projects in Victoria.

Types of Agreements

There are three standard types of agreements:

1) Hire agreements: these are one-off agreements that apply when the community uses a facility on a one-off basis. Examples are a local youth group hiring out a school hall for their annual presentation night, or a theatre group hiring a hall to stage a play over four nights.

Under legislation, school councils have the authority to enter into hire agreements where the school’s facilities are to be used for sport or recreation activities or for programs aimed at assisting, involving, or providing resources or facilities to young people.

2) Licence agreements: these are regular use agreements that apply when the community uses a school facility on a regular basis. Examples are a local drama group hiring out the school performing arts centre every Wednesday evening, or a local football club hiring the school oval for the season.

Under legislation, school councils have the authority to enter into licence agreements where the school’s facilities are to be used for sport or recreation activities or for programs aimed at assisting, involving, or providing resources or facilities to young people. Any other use can only be permitted with the approval of the Minister for Education Services.

3) Development and joint use agreements: these are more detailed agreements that apply when a school and/or community contribute to the construction of a new facility or the modernisation of an existing facility. An example is the construction of a new sports stadium at a school, funded by both the local council and school and for use by both the school and local community sports groups.

Restrictions

Schools should not permit their facilities to be used for activities that interfere with student learning or are against the ethos of the school. This includes activities that:

  • infringe on the delivery of school programs
  • might bring the school into disrepute
  • are likely to cause damage or risk to students, school buildings or property
  • create excessive noise or pose a nuisance to nearby residents
  • may involve the use of firearms
  • are illegal.

Use of Schools for Commercial Ventures

No information available, other than being required to hold Public Liability Insurance (see below).

Insurance

The review of risk and insurance arrangements resulted in the Department removing the requirement for all not-for-profit community groups, conducting low risk activities, to hold $10 million public liability insurance cover to use school facilities. The changes also mean that school councils no longer need to purchase public liability cover for third parties.

School councils will continue to be covered under the Department’s public liability insurance and will not be exposed to any additional risks.

While insurance coverage for low risk activities is no longer mandatory, community groups are still encouraged to obtain their own public liability insurance where deemed appropriate.

Commercial or for-profit groups and unincorporated sporting groups using school facilities must continue to hold current public liability insurance.

Groups that will be required to have $10 million public liability insurance include those:

  • conducting high risk activities;
  • required to have insurance by their association (e.g. incorporated sporting clubs);
  • required to have insurance for regulatory purposes; or
  • commercial entities.

Consumption of Alcohol

No information available.

Security Deposit

Schools may also want to seek a security deposit from their community partner(s). A security deposit is an upfront payment made by the community partner(s) that is non-refundable if conditions of the agreement are not met. The aim of a security deposit is to:

  • encourage compliance with the agreement
  • discourage careless use of equipment
  • provide funds to cover replacement or repair of damage, should this occur.

Risk Assessments

The school principal is responsible for ensuring a safe school environment. The principal needs to clearly identify any known hazards and inform community partners using the school’s facilities of this danger, and deny access to an area when it is appropriate.

Fees and Charges

School councils are able to determine the fees charged for hire and licence agreements. At a minimum, fees should cover the costs associated with the use of the facility by community partners. In establishing and adjusting fees, schools should investigate the fees charged for the use of similar facilities in their local community. To meet the requirements of the Victorian Government’s competitive neutrality policy, the fees set should be comparable to those of other local providers so that similar facilities or services in the area are not undercut.

More Information

Victorian Department of Education: Schools as Community Facilities - Policy Framework and Guidelines https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/propman/facility/SACF-PolicyFramework-Guidelines.pdf

Victorian Department of Education: Guidelines for assessing requests for community use of school facilities (PDF) https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/schadmin/schops/communityhubs/guidelinessharedfacilities.pdf

 

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