Building must be used as a school by a qualifying body
In order for a building to be a school building, a qualifying body needs to control the use of the building in its capacity as operator of the school.
A qualifying body is a government, a public authority or a non-profit society or association.
The building or group of buildings must be used to provide instruction for a purpose connected with the curriculum of the school. The building’s use for school purposes must be substantial. It also has to be of a kind that enables the building to be characterised as being ‘used as a school’. This term means the same as in everyday language.
If there is non-school use, whether the building is a school building will depend on the extent to which such use materially limits, detracts from or is otherwise incompatible with the provision of instruction connected with the curriculum of the school.
A building that is for purposes that are incidental or ancillary to the provision of instruction may also be considered to be used as a school.
Incidental or ancillary buildings include:
- school tuck-shops
- toilet blocks
- school assembly halls
- school administration office
- residential accommodation of a boarding school
- residential accommodation for teachers.
Any other use of the building must be either integral to its use as a school, or be so minor or occasional that it does not interfere with its use as a school.
A building is not a school building where a person, organisation or institution outside of the school organisation will be able to determine how the building is used.
A multipurpose building is designed to be put to a variety of different uses. To be a school building it must satisfy the same requirements as any other building before it can be characterised as a building used as a school.
When it is characterised as a school building, the school building fund can use its funds to contribute towards the cost of any common area (for example, an area put to both school and non-school use such as a hallway or toilet).
Factors relevant in deciding whether a building is used as a school include the:
- amount of time the building is put to school use relative to time put to non-school use
- number of people involved in the school use relative to number of people involved in its non-school use
- physical area of the building put to school use relative to physical area put to non-school use
- extent building has been adapted or modified to accommodate its school or non-school use.
However, if the common area has been adapted or designed specifically for non-school use, the school building fund cannot provide the money to pay the cost of the adaption or design.