Voluntary Aided Schools

 

Asbestos

The Education Funding Agency has published new guidance on GOV.UK aimed at schools, local authorities and trusts in understanding their obligations and duties in relation to asbestos management in schools. The guidance can be found on https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/asbestos-management-in-schools--2 .
The guidance was first published in March 2015 and has been updated with more information, including new supplementary guidance on where asbestos may be located in schools.

The following key changes have been made:

  • addition of further information on how duty holders can assess risks associated with the presence of asbestos in their schools, to prioritise management actions

  • provision of further information for duty holders on the consequences of not complying with The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, reminding them that, as duty holders, it is their responsibility to manage asbestos in their respective schools

  • inclusion of new supplementary guidance, to help duty holders understand where asbestos may commonly be found in schools, so that they can work with qualified professionals to make an assessment of the risk of damaging or disturbing the asbestos

EFA strongly recommends that all local authorities, leaders and governing bodies of maintained schools and trusts read the guidance and review the asbestos management plan they have currently have in place to ensure that asbestos is being managed effectively in their schools. There are three interesting and useful documents available through the link above.

Compliance

The aim of the compliance document, School Tests Inspection Checklist, is to provide a summary of relevant responsibilities and to assist Headteachers and premises managers in implementing appropriate testing and inspection of systems and equipment within the school premises.  

Not all items may be applicable to your specific site and the list is in no way definitive, but is a guide to covering key areas.  This document cannot replace professional advice and Headteachers and premises managers are strongly advised to obtain such advice where required.

Devolved Formula Capital

Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) is capital funding which is devolved to schools from the Education Funding Agency, an agency of the Department for Education.  Allocations are based upon the number of pupils within a school.  DFC can be administered by a school direct or by the Education Team.  The majority of DFC funding within the diocese is looked after by the Education Team.  Information on how to access DFC is given in the document Briefing Paper: Accessing DFC which can be found below.

DFC Updates

The Education Team will write to schools two times per year: in May and November.  The purpose of the update is to provide schools with exact financial information at that particular moment in time.  The April Update will let you know what your allocation for the forthcoming financial year will be; how much you have spent on schemes between the previous November and the April following; what you are at risk of losing under the DFC 3-Year Rule; and how much you have available to spend in total. 

The November Update will provide you with an update of what you have spent between April and October; if you are still at risk of losing any funds under the DFC 3-Year Rule; and what your available total is.

DFC 3-Year Rule

Under the DFC 3-Year Rule  schools are able to roll forward unpsent DFC in any 3 year period.  This means, however, that any DFC which remains unspent in year one will be lost to the school.  We always encourage schools to spend their DFC wisely and would urge you to plan accordingly year on year instead of thinking that the money must be spent.  Any DFC which remains unspent by the February following will be lost to a school and transferred to a diocesan fund where it can be used to support schools, within the family of schools, who may be struggling.

Undertaking a Building Project

Before you undertake any building project the relevant approvals must be obtained.  After the governing body have approved the works, the approval of the trustees of the school and the Board of Education must be obtained. 

A Project Authorisation Form and a Project Information Form should be completed and returned to the Education Team together with copies of all quotes received and, where applicable, specifications and plans of the proposed works and the Governors' 10% contribution.  Guidance on accessing DFC and the process for obtaining approval can be found in the document Briefing Paper: Accessing DFC below.  Approval is usually obtained within a 7-10 day turnaround period.  Forms can be found at the bottom of this page.

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations were amended in 2015.  It is incumbent upon governing bodies to ensure that their client duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 are carried out before the proposed works commence. 

Client Duties

Under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 a commercial client is defined as an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out that is done as part of a business.

Clients must make suitable arrangements for managing the Health & Safety aspects of any building project.  This includes ensuring that other dutyholders are appointed as appropriate, which will usually involve at the very least the appointment of a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor at the relevant stage of the process.  Clients are also responsible for ensuring that sufficient time and resources are allocated to the process.

As a client you will need to ensure that:-

·        Relevant information is prepared and provided to other dutyholders.

·        The Principal Designer and Principal Contractor carry out their duties.

·        Welfare facilities are provided for contractors on site.  This can be within the school if
         appropriate or the contractors could provide a cabin and portaloo in the grounds.

Construction Phase Plan

Under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 a Construction Phase Plan is required for every construction project.  This is to be prepared by the Principal Contractor but the Client is responsible for ensuring that this is prepared with sufficient, relevant, site specific information. 

It does not have to be complicated but at the very least it should include details of the site, specific site personnel, details of the work to be carried out, method statements and risk assessments and any other relevant health and safety information.  This list is by no means exhaustive as each site and project will have different requirements and professional advice should be sought if you are unsure.  Your Principal Designer should be able to assist in the first instance.

The work involved can be as simple as replacing your windows to something more complicated such as structural alterations. A simple plan before the works commence is usually enough to show that you have thought through about what is going to happen and about health and safety.  There are number of documents to assist you:

·        Needing Building Work Done? - A short guide to the CDM Regulations 2015

·        Summary of Duties under the CDM Regulations 2015

·        Managing Health and Safety in Construction

·        Construction Phase Plan - What builders need to know

These documents are attached below and further information may be found on the Health and Safety Executive website 

VAT

Schools should be aware that for projects which are funded through DFC and LCVAP, VAT cannot be relaimed.  If, on the very rare occasion, a school has paid an invoice and they wish this to be used as part of the overall cost of a scheme, evidence must be provided to show that VAT has not been reclaimed.  Guidance on VAT recovery is given in the document VAT Guidance to Schools which can be found below.

LCVAP 

The Locally Co-ordinated Voluntary Aided Programme (LCVAP) is a capital-funded programme administered by the Education Skills Funding Agency but which is devolved to the diocese and the local authority. 

LCVAP Programme 2018/19

We have requested bids for the LCVAP programme 2018/19.  Schools should work closely with their preferred consultants and align their bids to the school Asset Management Plan. Please note the deadline to return bids is Friday 21st July 2017.

LCVAP Programme 2017/18

We are pleased to announce that all local authorities with whom we work have confirmed the successful bids for LCVAP funding in 2017/18.  Please find a full list of successful schools attached below.

Bidding process

Bids are invited in June for the following year's programme.  Between August and November bids are collated and discussions held with schools and consultants, where appointed, to gather further information.  Once collated, Bids are sent for approval to the Board of Education in the following January and afterwards negotiations commence with the relevant local authority area.  Announcement of successful bids is usually between April and June.  Further information can be found in the document Briefing Paper: LCVAP and DFC below. An application form can be also be found below.

Buildings Development Plans

All schools and academies are encouraged to use a Buildings Development Plan when planning budgets for the school year.  Governing Bodies are asked to use these in conjunction with their Asset Management Plans when planning what building works should be undertaken in each financial year.  The Buildings Development Plan is a five year plan and, once utilised, can become a valuable tool in assisting you with forward planning in allocating funds and support with the Governors' 10% contributions.  There is a plan for each category of school and the plan for Voluntary Aided Schools can be found below. 

If your school signs up to the Education Team Service Provision, the Education Team are able to assist business managers and governing bodies with the completion of the development plans.

Guidance Notes

Guidance Notes are issued to assist Voluntary Aided Schools in applying for LCVAP funding and, where the diocese holds their DFC, on how to access this.  These can be found at the bottom of the page.

Capital Funding for Voluntary Aided Schools in England

The Department for Education publishes guidance on capital funding entitled Capital Funding for Voluntary Aided Schools in England.  This is commonly referred to as the 'Blue Book'.   The book covers all aspects of capital funding, the role of the governing body, who pays for what and VAT.  The Blue Book can be accessed below.

Reducing Energy Bills - Salix Funding opportunity.

If you are interested in reducing energy bills this may be a funding avenue you wish to consider further. Guidance and forms are available on the opportunities available to you through the link below. 

Funding is available throughout the year and if you are interested in seeing if they can help your school then please complete the expression of interest form on the website.

Funding for Maintained Schools  

http://www.salixfinance.co.uk/loans/schools-loans

Links

DfE website
Parish Buying Scheme
Schools Capital Funding
Governors Handbook
Health and Safety in the Construction Industry
Planning Portal
Buildings Regulations Portal
Display Energy Certificates
Asbestos Management
Fire Safety
Working at Height
Ecclesiastical Insurance

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