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Community Use of School Facilities and Resources in Public Schools


Appendix A Guidelines

A.1 Risk management

Principal factors guiding the assessment of risk include:

  • age of the participants;
  • nature of the proposed activity; and
  • facilities/equipment to be used.

In addition, the following factors are to be taken into account:

  • whether the group is local;
  • whether the group is known to the school;
  • the ability of the group to provide evidence of satisfactory use of other facilities;
  • whether the activity is one that should be permitted without insurance if the group has none;
  • whether the activity involves consumption of alcohol; and
  • the level of skill required to operate the equipment which it is proposed to use (refer to Risk Management within the Education and Training Portfolio: Policy, Procedures and Guidelines policy).

A.2 Community awareness

Schools are encouraged to inform the community about the facilities that they have available for use. Potential users will need to know the nature of the facility, the benefits it can offer and how the facility can meet specific needs as a community-based learning (and recreation) centre.

There are a number of ways of advertising and promoting the use of a school facility including notices in the school newsletter, advertisements or stories in the local newspaper (and possibly radio in country towns), and posters on noticeboards in community facilities such as libraries and recreation centres. Corporate Communications and Marketing can provide advice regarding advertising and promotion.

A.3 Determining the cost of hire

Cost components of the fees could include power consumption, water, cleaning, insurance, administration, additional wear and tear and the use of specific items of equipment. As a minimum requirement, fees should at least meet the additional recurrent operating costs incurred through use of the facilities and resources.

Further additional fees may be levied after the use of the facility. For example, a fee would apply where additional cleaning is necessary, or when security or other personnel are called out to secure the school buildings because the user has failed to lock up the premises or re-set an alarm system. When setting a fee, account should be taken of the following factors:

  • value of the activity to the community and school;
  • nature of the intended use, including degree of wear and tear on the facility and/or use of equipment and resources;
  • access times required;
  • set up and restoration time;
  • opening and closing fees;
  • size of the user group;
  • capacity of user to pay;
  • storage of special equipment;
  • comparability of fees charged by other providers within the local community;
  • any additional administrative staff time which may be necessary; and
  • category of user, eg commercial or charitable (as per categories outlined in the next section).

In addition, professional development to assist schools and community members in organising wider community use of facilities may be made available, and it is strongly advised that schools consider this cost in determining fees.

A.4 Fees and user categories

In preparing advice to the School Council about recommendation for charge for use of facilities and services, schools may find it helpful to consider categories of users. Within each category, fees could be varied according to the type of use and other factors. The following categories of users could be considered when developing recommendations for charges for use:

  • Other government agencies, instrumentalities and department sor branches of the Department of Education and Training

As a minimum, charges could cover direct costs and be based on unit area rental costs for office space in the locality. The Commonwealth Electoral Commission may pay a small fee for use but no charge can be levied for use by the State Electoral Commission.


Three fees levels have been established to reflect diversity in the types of school facilities that may be utilised by a TAFEWA college. It is recommended that the school and TAFEWA College agree on the most appropriate cost recovery rate for the particular facility being used, taking into account maintenance and replacement costs for any specialised school equipment and consumables that may be used.

A.4.1 Minimum rate - general classroom

The minimum rate of twenty three (23) cents per student enrolled hour is to be paid to a school by the TAFEWA college in cases where the TAFEWA college will use general facilities, equipment and/or small amounts of inexpensive consumables as they are currently provided by the school. Consumables in this context are those for the normal operation of school buildings, for example soap and toilet paper etc, but exclude learning materials such as paper and workbooks, chemicals, paints, building materials etc.

A.4.2 Medium rate - specialist facilities

The medium rate of forty six (46) cents per student enrolled hour is to be paid to a school by the TAFEWA College in cases where the TAFEWA college will use specialised facilities, equipment and/or additional consumables that are costly for the school to maintain and replace. Consumables in this context are those the school agrees to supply and may include learning material such as paper and workbooks, chemicals, paints, building materials, workshop equipment etc.

A.4.3 Maximum rate - computing facilities

The maximum rate of one (1) dollar per student enrolled hour is to be paid to a school by the TAFEWA college in cases where the college will use specialised computing facilities, computing equipment and/or computing consumables that are particularly costly for the school to maintain and replace. Consumables in this context are those the school agrees to supply and may include computer printer paper, computer printer cartridges etc.

A.4.4 Additional items

On some occasions additional items may be identified that the parties agree will be provided or funded by the TAFEWA College, for example additional cleaning and the locking/unlocking of facilities. The minimum, medium and maximum rates also do not include costs associated with additional equipment and minor works etc required for the delivery of TAFEWA courses via the school facility.

It is recommended that fee increases be incrementally passed on to TAFEWA clients over a six to twelve month period for existing programs.

TAFEWA colleges will provide schools with payment by the end of each semester when final enrolments are known. Payment to the school will include verification regarding the total number of students who enrolled and student enrolled hours delivered against each agreed fee rates.

  • Organisations which provide a service of direct benefit to the school or community

(Eg. Neighbourhood Watch, Safety House, the Parents and Citizens' Association and disaster management agencies). These organisations may be considered as fee exempt.

  • Non-profit or chartiable community service organsiations

(e.g. Those which have a community support focus, like child support and various welfare groups, and are likely to rely largely on the financial support of others). Fees charged for use by these groups could be structured to cover essential costs such as electricity, gas and water. Schools may wish to waive fees for groups such as these or accept a donation of funds or service in lieu of fees.

  • Local government

Fees may be negotiated through 'user pays' principles.

  • Non-profit organisations

(e.g. sporting and recreational bodies, cultural and hobby groups). This category is generally self-funded. The primary reason for their existence is to cater for the needs of members. Fees charged may be based on a user pays principle.

  • Commerical users

(e.g. fitness classes and the staging of a sporting event). The fees charged to these users could be based on a user pays principle with limited concessions.

It is advisable, if possible, to collect fees in advance.

A.5 Checklist for schools

The Licence for Use sets down terms and conditions for use of school facilities but many schools will have their own particular requirements to be met by user groups. These should be made clear when arrangements for use are being made (see Appendix D).

A.6 Checklist for schools

Users of school facilities agree to abide by the terms and conditions set down for use when they sign the Licence for Use form. However, schools may find it useful to provide a set of rules or guidelines to users as a reminder about the agreed arrangements (see Appendix E).

Community Use of School Facilities and Resources in Public Schools

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