Voluntary Aided Schools

Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP)

You can access the AMAP portal here.

This will give schools and responsible bodies, who were unable to participate in the first collection, the chance to provide school information and an assured response. The AMAP meets the department’s commitments set out in the March 2015 review of asbestos management in schools, enhancing scrutiny on those responsible for managing asbestos in schools. You are expected to complete the AMAP if you are a responsible body.

A Responsible body is the main employer of staff at state-funded schools and academies.

State-funded schools and academies include maintained nursery schools, maintained schools (including primary, secondary and middle schools), maintained special schools and academy special schools, pupil referral units, academies and free schools and non-maintained special schools.
This guidance is for anyone who is responsible for the management of asbestos in the education estate and compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Link to Guidance Documents.  


The Education Skills and 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 here.
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

The ESFA 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.

Building 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. 

Building Safety Programme and Fire Safety Advice

To further support the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, set up the Building Safety Programme (BSP), working with an Independent Expert Advisory Panel to consider emerging issues on fire and building safety more widely. The BSP issues updates as these become available. This includes recent advice for building owners of high-rise, residential buildings with non-ACM cladding, which they are concerned about. Whilst this advice is primarily intended for residential accommodation, it is relevant to other public buildings, such as schools. We want to encourage you to consider this in relation to your school and ensure advice from the BSP is acted upon. You can keep up to date with the latest information from the BSP and view previous advice by registering for automatic updates here

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all building owners are required to ensure that an appropriate and up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment is in place for their buildings. As a governing body responsible for a school, you must comply with the requirements of the Fire Safety Order. You should ensure that you have an appropriate and up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) for the school buildings within your control. These should take into account any fire safety risks and detail the mitigations in place to manage these. Most LA’s ask for this to be lodged with them too.

One of the interim recommendations Dame Judith makes in her report, is that the FRA should be completed more regularly, particularly for high-rise buildings (any building over 18m in height), which she recommends should be completed annually. We ask that all schools take this opportunity to review the FRA for your buildings, to ensure it is up-to-date and consider your review period for these checks (annually).

Advice on how to complete an FRA is available here If you would like more information on how to appoint a ‘competent person’ to carry out the FRA, the Chief Fire Officers Association has issued advice on what to consider. You can see this advice here.

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.

Capital Funding - Devolved Formula Capital (DFC)

Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) is capital funding which is devolved to schools from the Education Skills and 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 at Year 3 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 VA schools, who may be struggling.

Capital Funding - Locally Co-Ordinated Voluntary Aided Programme (LCVAP) 

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

LCVAP Programme 2020/21

The LCVAP programme will continue into the next financial year but with some key changes. These ere communicated to VA schools in September.  Please remember the deadline for receipt of application forms is Friday 29 November 2019.

Capital Funding - 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.


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.

Concrete cladding - monitoring building condition

Departmental guidance to support monitoring of building condition by schools and responsible bodies.

Concrete cladding is used in the construction of external walls of many school buildings. It can crack or delaminate, potentially giving rise to risks if not well maintained.
Causes of concrete defects are known and are relatively easy to address if identified in good time.
This guidance recommends periodic inspection and provides information to help schools and responsible bodies undertake such inspections effectively.
The guidance is for all those with responsibilities for maintaining school buildings, including head teachers, business managers and facilities managers.

Concrete cladding - monitoring building condition

Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme

From early 2017 to Autumn 2019, the EFA’s Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme will inspect every government maintained school in England to collect data about the physical condition of school buildings and how they are managed.
On the DfE website there are four useful documents which you need to familiarise yourself with:-

CDC Purpose, Benefits and Limitations

CDC Programme Guide

CDC Guide for Schools

CDC Guide to completeing the School Questionnaire

Schools are required to:

  • Provide contextual information about their site(s) by completing the School Questionnaire before the site visit
  • Provide evidence of key building management and compliance documentation relating to their site(s)
  • Meet with surveyors when they visit
  • Provide full access to their site when surveyors visit
  • Inform the Diocese when contact has been made.

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 

Energy Bills - Salix Funding opportunity

Funding for Maintained Schools  

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 here

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.

Good Estate Management for Schools

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Department for Education (DfE) have published the Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS) manual on GOV.UK which will help you deliver an effective estates strategy.
GEMS is a new online resource aimed at individuals and organisations responsible for managing and overseeing the schools estate, helping to ensure that land and buildings support educational objectives and excellent resource management. The resource sets out:
•    the fundamental policies and procedures needed to manage the school estate effectively
•    guidance on strategic estate management, organisational oversight, understanding your land and buildings, energy and water management and managing projects
•    updated guidance on health and safety, compliance and maintenance (replacing existing guidance in Essential Schools Maintenance)
•    the skills organisations need access to, links to tools and resources that can help

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.


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.


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

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