School Buildings and School Trusts

Church schools were established in a tradition of Christian commitment to education to serve local communities or parishes.

Many of our church schools are over 150 years old and continue to remain a focus of the community.

All diocese schools currently fall into three categories: academies, maintained voluntary controlled and maintained voluntary aided schools. These have very distinct differences relating to their buildings. Land and buildings are ‘held’ by the diocese which depending on the details of the trust deed means they are either owned or overseen by the diocese.

The role of the Diocesan Education Team is to assist all schools in safeguarding their assets of both the value of the buildings and land. To this end any alterations, extensions, expansions, and changes to the building generally require the permission of the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE). We particularly assist voluntary aided schools in advising on building development and capital asset planning.

Academies: Land and buildings are held by diocese and playing fields retained by local authority (LA) on a 125-year lease.

Voluntary Controlled: Land and buildings are held by diocese and playing fields by LA. In 1944 VC schools came under the LA and therefore they are responsible for maintenance of the buildings.

Voluntary Aided: Land and buildings held by diocese and playing fields by the LA. They remain as voluntary aided and funded schools supported by their local parish and are more independently funded. This gives the school access to different capital funding streams but also liabilities and obligations. Primarily the requirement for the governing board to pay 10% on all capital funded projects including Devolved Formula Capital and School Condition Allocation (SCA). VA schools do have to pay any VAT they are charged on invoices. However, they are not VAT registered and therefore do not have access to a VAT refund scheme.  The DfE advise that this is accounted for by VA schools having an increased allocation (DFC) to reflect this. It is also reflected by the arrangement with HRMC regarding VAT charged within project costs paid from SCA funding whereby an uplift is included to account for this as the VAT cannot be reclaimed.

The first point of contact for the GDBE (Gloucester Diocese Board of Education) in these matters is:

David Williams – Strategic Lead for Buildings, Admissions and Trusts

If you have any queries related to buildings, please contact David Williams who will be happy to assist you.

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