The School's Delegated Budget (LMS)
Schools may not use their delegated budget to fund community facilities - either start-up costs or ongoing expenditure - or to meet deficits arising from such activities. The delegated budget funds activities which are primarily or substantially for the education of the school's pupils. Governors have some scope to interpret this in favour of activities which involve families, but the funding of most work with communities has to be drawn from the Extended School budget or other income.
To supplement the Extended Schools Budget, schools may wish to establish a funding sub group with responsibility for raising such funds. The subgroup could make applications to a range of providers such as; The Big Lottery Fund, Children in Need, Peace II or trusts and charities.
The Extended Schools Policy allows for an additional 15% funding where three or more schools come together to form a partnership. The partnership may also consider using this money to leverage in other funds from:-
- Other government departments
- Other statutory organisations
- Other partnerships such as Local Strategy Partnership, Neighbourhood Renewal or Peace II funding
- Big Lottery Fund
- Trusts and charities such as the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
- Private sectors or local businesses
In the case of partnerships, one school should elect to act as "banker" for the group of schools. All invoices and accounting procedures will operate through the elected schools LMS budget for Extended Schools in parallel to their respective Extended Schools budget. Additional financial income from other sources will be included and accounted for in the partnership budget.
It is envisaged that partnerships may include representations from other agencies and social partners. These groups may wish to make a financial contribution to the partnership. In this case the school holding the budget should contact the LMS officer at the ELB to make the necessary arrangements and ensure the funding is coded correctly.
Some organisations may not be able to make financial contributions but never the less are keen to make resource allocations such as % of staff time, equipment, venue access or expertise in a particular field. Such contributions should be acknowledged and recorded in the minutes of meetings and in monitoring and evaluation reports. This is important especially in the pilot stages of the programme for Extended Schools so that the capacity of the initiative to pool resources can be fully recognised.
In establishing Extended Schools and promoting increased use of the premises, schools will incur additional costs. These may relate to a number of elements such as:-
- Volunteers costs
- Premises costs
- Travel expenses
- Transport costs
- Food costs
- Heating / lighting
- Telephone costs (including internet usage)
- Beneficiary costs
- Childcare provision
- Sports events/programmes
- Arts events/programmes
- ICT programmes/accreditation
In order to ensure groups using the premises pay the relevant portion of the costs, schools should establish a "charging policy".
Maintenance costs and responsibilities for community use should be agreed before additional activities and services commence.
As a rule, wear and tear, depreciation value and additional cleaning will need to be shared between community and extended school budgets, in proportion to how much facilities and equipment are used by their different activities.
Schools should take these into account when setting community charges for external groups, or admission fees when running activities themselves. Transfer of control agreements and contracts can also provide a useful means to specify and agree maintenance costs.
Arrangements for Insurance cover in Schools.
The Department requires Education and Library Boards to insure commercially only where there is a legal obligation to do so, for example motor fleet insurance, to comply with the Road Traffic Acts. Therefore, for most controlled schools, any risks apart from the instances quoted above, are carried by the Boards.
Unlike controlled schools, maintained schools are individually owned and managed by the school trustees. Under the terms of existing legislation governing the payment of capital grants to maintained schools, the property must be insured and a condition to this effect is contained in each school's lease. Maintained schools insurance covers public and employers' liability; theft of Board-owned contents; all risks for school-owned content; and loss of money. The Board meets the cost of insurance premiums at maintained schools.
Additionally, it is recognised that there may also be other circumstances where commercial insurance can be justified, for example property insurance where insurance is a condition of a lease (such as school meals accommodation at a maintained school).
In the case of Voluntary Grammar and Grant Maintained Integrated schools, the Board of Governors take out insurance as it seems necessary and to comply with any requirements in their Scheme of Management.
It follows then that any requirements as regards insurance arrangements are a matter for either the insurance company or, in the case of controlled schools, the board.
If services are planned outside the normal school day or at weekends, schools will need to consider how users might have to travel to and from the school premises safely. ELB transport provision for school children does not necessarily extend to additional activities such as study support. Schools should consult with their ELB transport department on out of school hours transport provision, especially if they wish to employ the services of other providers. ELB's can offer advice on Health & Safety standards, charging, etc.
Where a school already has a school travel plan, in the first instance they should look at modifying and extending this to cover pupil and community access. Some schools may be able to offer car parking for visitors beyond normal school hours, but the wider impact of increased traffic on safety of pupils and the local community should be taken into account, especially with evening use.