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Voluntary Controlled Schools

Voluntary Controlled Schools are operated by Governing Bodies, on sites held upon church educational trusts by church site trustees, with playing field land provided by the Local Authority.

Premises funding at Voluntary Controlled schools

Under the School Standards & Framework Act (1998) the Local Authority is liable for both capital and revenue works to school premises. Please refer to Suffolk County Council for assistance with funding and organising works.

Site ownership, title deeds, trust deeds and other records

Before undertaking alterations to school premises, you should liaise with the Buildings Officer to establish who owns the affected land, and obtain their consent. The Diocese has access to a huge quantity of records for school sites and can help with day to day queries such as establishing the extent of the school site and responsibility for boundaries.

Third party run-pre-schools & Children’s Centres

Third party run pre-schools and nurseries are often valued facilities upon or adjacent to school sites. If your school has identified a new opportunity for a pre-school to do so, please contact the Buildings Officer at an early stage to discuss the premises and land interests, and obtain the necessary consents. 

Health & safety in Voluntary Controlled schools

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974), the dutyholder with legal responsibility for health and safety in a VC school is the employer- Suffolk County Council. Please refer to the LA Health & Safety team for support. Suffolk Learning contains a wide range of useful resources: http://www.suffolklearning.co.uk/leadership-staff-development/health-safety-wellbeing

Asbestos management in Voluntary Controlled schools

The LA (as the employer) is the dutyholder at VC schools for the purposes of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012). It has statutory duties to identify and safely manage the presence of asbestos in school buildings. DfE guidance is helpful in setting out responsibilities. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/asbestos-management-in-schools--2

Schools should liaise closely with the LA and follow its policies to manage asbestos safely.

Academy conversion – land and buildings

Conversion to academy status requires a lot of legal work to alter the arrangements for governance and occupation of a school site. Many Church of England schools were established in the 19th century, and (even if they have since re-located to more modern buildings on new sites) it is normally necessary during the conversion process to accurately establish the history of changing land interests. This process can take time and require research at different organisations, so schools considering academy conversion are encouraged to consult with the Diocesan Director of Education at an early stage (who can refer schools to the Buildings Officer for land and buildings support).

Last updated 17 January 2020.