Schools manage valuable public assets including: halls, that could be used for events; classrooms, that could be used for meetings and for informal adult education; school grounds, pitches and sports facilities, that could be used for physical exercise, training and sporting and cultural events.
What’s stopping us?
We think the main barriers to opening up school buildings and grounds for community use are school concerns about: safeguarding of children; site security and damage to property; reputational issues (compounded by a lack of knowledge of local community groups); fear of negative responses from both Ofsted and the local authority; and the lack of example of how opening up facilities can be done to benefit both communities and schools.
What might help us?
We think the problem here is concern about risk and that ways of overcoming and managing risk would be useful, eg:
- Government and local authority policy that supports community use of school facilities;
- the negotiation and packaging of insurance to enable schools to hedge risks without spending undue time on doing so;
- case studies and models of how to manage community access in a way that benefits schools as well as communities in practice; and
- better shared information between communities and schools.