The department will be closed from Wednesday 27 December 2023 to Monday 1 January 2024. We will respond to queries in the New Year. Best wishes for a safe and happy festive season.
In 1992, a comprehensive review of the functional and financial relationship between state and local government was conducted under the Better Government Agreement. The aim was to deliver better, cost-effective services to the community by
building cooperative planning, funding, development and management partnerships.
The agreed aims were to:
As an agreed outcome a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Capital Resource Sharing (Education and related facilities) was executed in 1993 between the Premier, the Minister for Education and the President of the Western Australian Municipal
Association (now the Western Australian Local Government Association) on behalf of all local governments.
The MOU established the agreed structure and processes required to ensure that capital works programs for education and related facilities are coordinated to maximise the quality and quantity of value-for-money services delivered to and available
to the community.
In 1999 as a joint initiative with the Department of Education (DoE) and the Department of Local Government (DLG), the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) released an issues paper that raised awareness of processes for planning the joint
development and use of shared facilities at schools and within communities.
In 2009, DSR established the Physical Activity Task Force (PATF) Schools Working Group (SWG) under the umbrella of Be Active WA (BEAC), with the Department of Education as a foundation member.
The Group’s purpose was to manage and coordinate the implementation of a built environment strategy and aim to strategically support and influence physical activity, adding value to the work of other agencies.
In 2011, the SWG proposed to develop a standardised approach guide that would inform proponents and users on how to plan, develop and manage shared community and school facilities. The outcome of this collaborative work is this interactive
guide – A guide to shared facilities in the sport and recreation community.
As the State’s population rapidly grows, so too does the demand for community access to high quality services, resources and facilities. Schools present a unique opportunity to share significant public infrastructure
and resources with local communities in addition to community infrastructure already provided by local government.
There is also an opportunity to share that infrastructure with other agencies and service providers, including local government.
What is unique about schools is the range of resources and facilities available to the community outside of school hours and on weekends. Extended community use of school facilities ensures a much greater return on a significant
The aggregating of resources and co-locating facilities that form community, education and recreation precincts ensures that government can deliver sustainable and accessible outcomes to the community and also drive cost efficiencies.
There are a number of source documents and policies across government that provide advice and guidance on the joint development and use of community and school facilities.
The key deliverable of this guide is to consolidate all of this valuable information into a single resource and reference point, capturing all the key elements of each stakeholder’s strategic aims and objectives.
The key driver has also been the inconsistencies and uncertainties prevalent in current shared use practices. Whilst there are many individual arrangements and agreements between schools, local governments and the community,
there is no standardised approach for developing shared use facilities.
The guide is intended to be descriptive, not prescriptive, providing advice and assistance to stakeholders who may be considering proposing to use school facilities or entering into a shared use arrangement.
The Guide is a living document, responding to:
There are potentially significant benefits for maximising community and cross-government access to schools and public facilities.
The benefits to local government and the community could be:
The principles for sharing school facilities are identified by the Department of Education as:
The guiding principles for local government and community users of shared facilities are considered as:
The principle need for shared use, the intended objectives and the required outcomes should be determined and agreed by all parties at the concept inception stage prior to the execution of any formal agreements.
To assist with that process, the following key objectives need to be considered and addressed, which includes though is not limited to:
In order to meet the principles and objectives identified, the following elements will need to be considered at the conceptual stage:
Research has identified resources that influence the proper and orderly planning of shared facilities for the benefit of current and future generations. It indicates effective shared use has been dependent on the ability of
community and school-based facilities to supplement or complement each other, addressing potential strategic gaps in service delivery.
A suite of planning tools has been developed to effect the basic principles of shared use that include fairness, transparency and equity.
The guide provides:
The guide is directed at using and sharing facilities at existing established schools and proposing, planning and developing shared facilities at new schools.
The guide also informs stakeholders or proponents about the fundamental principles of shared use and shared facilities.
The essential elements of the guide are:
The Department of Education builds new schools in response to population growth and development. Currently, one government primary school is built to service every 1500 housing units and one government secondary school
is built to service 6500-7000 housing units, which is equivalent to four or five primary schools.
Every new government primary and secondary school has a suite of facilities that provide opportunities for recreation, sporting and associated community activities. These include sports ovals and playing fields, sports
halls and multi-marked hard courts.
These facilities may offer opportunities for local government to join with the Department of Education to consolidate resources and funding and share in the development and use of specific facilities or enhance the standard
provision of school-based facilities to provide a broader community benefit for accommodating more active sporting participation.
Where a new school is co-located with shared public open space, both the local government and the Department of Education will enter into a joint arrangement to plan and develop shared facilities to achieve a mutually beneficial
outcome for both the school and the community.
Together with the completed facilities at a new school and the provision of facilities on a shared public open space, both the school and the community will have access to comprehensive passive and active facilities that
support school-based activities and organised or incidental sporting and physical activity.
A new primary school is designed in accordance with the Department of Education’s standard pattern design brief (Primary School Brief), which determines and prescribes the size and type of facilities to be provided
at each school. This allows for a rapid construction and delivery timeline, which is generally a minimum of two years from the ministerial announcement to the opening of the school, with the complete school built
in a single stage.
Therefore it is recommended that early forward planning of shared facilities is initiated anywhere from three to five years minimum in advance of the development of the school. It may be possible that co-located shared
public open space facilities are delivered in advance of the primary school to meet more immediate community demand.
The location of a school may be an important consideration where some outdoor facilities need to be enhanced in response to unique local conditions such as the environment and climate. For example, the basketball court
at a primary school located in the northwest of the State may require roof cover to allow for safe use both during and outside school hours.
Climate responsive solutions are one area of opportunity where local governments can contribute to enhancing standard school-based facilities or expand facilities to meet higher specifications or the demand for organised
Every new primary school will have facilities, particular in nature, size and purpose, which may be suitable for community or third party use for recreation or physical activity. The facilities currently provided at a primary
school, which accommodates Kindergarten to Year 6 students in the 4 – 11 year old age group, includes but may not be limited to:
For secondary schools the Department of Education has developed a Planning Guide which is more descriptive in nature but still defines the size and type of facilities to be provided. The delivery timeline for a secondary
school is generally a minimum of three years from announcement to opening.
Early forward planning of shared facilities will need to commence a minimum of four to six years prior to the development of the school. Secondary schools may be built in two stages, with the first stage comprising of facilities
to accommodate a starting enrolment of Year 7 students in the foundation year.
The first stage generally includes the construction of the senior oval, four multi-marked hard courts and the sports hall. The final complement of physical activity related facilities that are delivered in the second stage
include the hockey/soccer playing field and four more hard courts.
Again as with primary schools, it may be entirely possible that co-located shared public open space facilities may be delivered in advance of the secondary school to meet more immediate community demand for active open
space and community facilities.
The location of a secondary school may be an important factor when considering the conduct of some outdoor activities. Fortunately, secondary schools have an indoor, all weather covered basketball court that will better
respond to unique local conditions impacted upon by climate.
Enhancing other outdoor facilities, such as hard courts by providing roof cover, may be considered to build greater capacity for year-round use. This is an area of opportunity where local governments can contribute
to improving school-based facilities or expand facilities.
Secondary schools are provided with higher end facilities, which suit the more senior 12–17 year old age group. As with primary schools, each new secondary school will contain facilities that are particular in nature,
size and purpose and which may be suitable for community or third party use for recreation or physical activity.
The facilities that may be accommodated at a particular school may include, but may be not limited to:
The delivery of shared use infrastructure, wherever possible, needs to be considered fully in advance of the development of a school and the associated community facility, preferably prior to the design of both projects.
Evidence suggests that where pre-planning occurs, the ownership by a broader range of stakeholders, partners and user groups is better understood and maintained.
Stakeholders ultimately act as positive project advocates, ensuring that the benefits to both the community and the school will be maximised and the best return on the shared investment will be achieved.
If the core elements of a shared use project are addressed in the earlier stages of a project then it more likely that the final outcome will benefit from this proactive planning, avoiding any uncertainty related to unresolved
Some key early planning issues associated with the development and use of shared use facilities that need to be considered are:
There are a number of essential ingredients when designing new schools, which may or may not be integrated with co-located community open space and includes shared facilities within the scope of a joint arrangement. These
Good design will be enabled by good communication and processes established at the inception of the project. For new schools, the education delivery model should be established well in advance of the project.
If shared use facilities are a component of a new school then representatives from the Department of Education, from the school (once appointed) and the local government should consult extensively and collaboratively with
each other, whilst engaging with the broader community and interested stakeholders. Through the design process, all participants must focus on:
This focus should be maintained throughout the project by all stakeholders and beneficiaries to derive the greatest shared benefit. An awareness of the key elements that guide the design will ensure that:
Requirements related to specific sports and recreational activities, including circulation space and external areas, will drive the design of the shared open space component including the ancillary facilities and amenities.
It is recommended that initial design planning begins at a very conceptual level. This prepares the broader strategic footprints of the facilities in order to develop each inter connecting component in more detail, encouraging
the integration of all stakeholder requirements and design elements.
It is critical due consideration is given to a number of important factors when undertaking design work on shared facilities that are wholly or partially located on school premises.
It is not this guide’s intention to provide specific and detailed design instruction about specific facilities and requirements for individual sports, but to highlight some basic principles of shared use design. General
principles listed can be related to both school premises and community open space and be a shared or individual responsibility of the Department of Education or local government.
Some of those principles include:
There’s a wide range of design, spatial requirements and technical guides are available for informing stakeholders of specific individual sports and community facility types that are relevant when planning and developing
public open space that is co-located with a school and will be the subject of a joint arrangement.
These are generally available through DSR and should be used as the basis of the requirements for any sports provision and include:
An overview of the facility planning process for a specific sport or recreation facility. It identifies the stages involved in the facility planning process, the key principles of facility provision, highlights the benefits
of joint and shared facilities, identifies sources of capital funding and references various facility planning resources.
A series of practical tools to assist with the development of a facility asset management plan.
Assists facility planners in determining the need for, and feasibility of, community sport and recreation services. The model in this guide can also be structured to apply to program-based solutions.
Provides advice on the development of a management plan which is designed to deliver a project during the set-up phase and for the lifetime of the project.
Provides the tools needed to develop life cycle cost reports that will be used by DSR as it considers publicly-owned or funded facilities. It advocates a standardised analysis and reporting process to ensure a timely and
accurate technical review of a facility or project.
A guide to the dimensions required for all indoor and outdoor playing surfaces, including run-off for safe play.
In addition to basic sound design principles, there are a number of other aspects which need to be considered that are specific to operating and managing shared facilities. These aspects should be considered during the detailed
design when resolving operational specific issues matters, which may include:
The Department of Education has more than 770 government schools located throughout the State in both metropolitan and regional areas.
Each school has facilities suitable for use by the community for the purpose of recreation and physical activity.
These facilities will vary from school to school, depending on the type of school, the age of the school and whether it is a primary school, a secondary school or a district high school.
Primary schools for example will generally have a junior size oval, two outdoor multi-marked tennis, netball and basketball courts and a covered assembly building that includes a canteen.
Secondary schools will generally have a senior size oval, eight outdoor multi-marked tennis, netball and basketball courts, a cafeteria and an indoor sports hall that accommodates a single multi-marked basketball court.
The use of school premises provides opportunities for the development of valuable partnerships to jointly use or share facilities under agreements with communities and local governments.
The Department of Education has currently entered into nearly 250 individual leased or licenced joint agreements that permit the use of school facilities or the reciprocal use of community facilities.
Many schools have entered into individual arrangements with sporting teams, clubs and community groups for the use of facilities on school premises. These arrangements are generally for a one-off or incidental use or
a seasonal or more regular short term use.
In regard to the use of facilities at existing schools, the Department of Education has developed a policy, Community Use Policy. This link also includes other links to:
This policy informs school principals about the responsible use of school premises for recreation and other purposes.
The policy confirms that school principals, within their scope of authority delegated under the School Education Act 1999 (WA),
may allow the use of existing facilities on their school premises by third parties if the use:
This policy does not apply to the proposed use of school premises if:
The policy is accompanied by a number of guiding documents that supports the implementation of and compliance with the policy and both informs principals and members of the community about the process required for considering
and assessing proposals seeking permission to use facilities on school premises.
As the designated site manager of a school, a Principal has ultimate responsibility for determining if the proposed use of his or her school will comply with the policy and thereby ensuring a shared benefit will be enjoyed
by both the school and the community.
A Principal can decide what activities can be conducted and what services can be delivered on school premises. They should assess each request on its merits and give due consideration to the relevant acts and applicable policies,
which inform their decision making and risk assessment and management process.
One of the most commonly asked questions is insurance. The Department of Education explains insurance regarding schools and shared use.
A critical element when considering allowing the use of facilities on existing school premises are the risks associated with third party use. The school can be potentially exposed to unforeseen or unnecessary risk, which can:
A number of the risks associated with making schools available for shared use (i.e. health and safety, child protection and additional security concerns) are also relevant to other community facilities and infrastructure, where
the proposed use is outside the traditional or intended purpose or use.
A number of key considerations need to be addressed when determining the risk associated with a proposal to use school facilities.
The over-riding question is whether the Principal/responsible management body (as the entity responsible for day-to-day health and safety on a school/community site/facility) is prepared to accept the risks associated with
the new user group. A new user may give rise to new risks that will need to be addressed through alterations to premises or the way in which they are managed. The following Risk Assessment template identifies the additional
questions to be asked.
Principals must conduct a risk assessment prior to granting permission for an approved use of school premises by third parties. The assessment must ensure the impact on the key issues of occupational health and safety and child
protection are addressed.
The issues that need to be considered include, but are not limited to:
As it is the responsibility of the Principal to grant permission for a proposed use, it is reasonable for the Principal to expect that potential users will provide full disclosure of the intended activity or activities to be
conducted and the service or services to be provided on-site to allow a fully transparent risk assessment process.
The following checklist is provided to assist with an understanding of associated risks and a methodology for assessing risks.
The roles and responsibilities in respect of risk associated with the use of facilities on school premises will vary according to the use proposed. In respect to the use of facilities on existing schools, the main roles and
The type, quantity and size of the facilities at existing schools will vary due to the type of school, the age of the school and the location of the school.
The type of school will determine the size of a particular facility such as an oval that will be, in the case of a primary school, a junior size of up to 118 x 84 metres in size, and in the case of a secondary school, a senior
size of up to 173 x 143 metres.
The age of the school may suggest a smaller site area that may not have a full complement of facilities and therefore, for example, contain smaller ovals and playing fields. This is particularly evident at inner city schools
that probably would have been built in a much earlier era.
The location of a school may have required some outdoor facilities to be enhanced in order to suit the local conditions and the local climate and ensure they can be used during all hours and in all weather conditions eg a covered
basketball court at a school in a north west locality.
Third parties considering seeking permission to use facilities at an existing school will need to satisfy themselves the facilities will be sufficient and suitable for their needs.
Every existing school will have facilities, particular in nature, size and purpose, which may be suitable for community or third party use for recreation or physical activity. The facilities that may be accommodated at a particular
school may include, but is not limited to:
It is possible facilities at an existing school may be improved in response to a specific educational need that develops over time once a new school has been established or an existing school has been established for some time.
It may also be as a result of an emerging community need in response to growth in a particular sport or physical activity that’s governed by local demographic characteristics such as age, social focus and cultural
A new school may be approached by the community it serves to use its facilities for a particular sport, such as hockey for example, as there is a high demand for this sport across all ages in a particular locality. Arrangements
are made and agreements are entered into for a local club to use the appropriate facilities, which will be more evident at a secondary school.
The school may then have an opportunity to develop targeted curriculum paths for students that focus on a specific sport by creating academies that flourish with the support of State Sporting Associations and local clubs and
teams. These academies have the potential of providing sports development hubs that are part of a specific State-wide sporting excellence development strategy.
The expansion or improvement to facilities at existing schools to accommodate a higher level of competition or an elite sporting pathway, may require a considerable capital investment for built facilities and an increased land
take required for additional or expanded facilities. Using more school land may limit further future expansion of school specific facilities to meet the demand of increasing or peak enrolments.
A proposed enhancement of existing school facilities may attract Federal, State and local government funding from programs that sporting associations and clubs may be eligible to apply for. In all cases, the Department of Education
is unable to fund the expansion of existing facilities unless it is the subject of a third party joint arrangement.
The management of schools, both for building and maintaining, comes under the auspices of Building Management and Works (BMW), the state government agency solely responsible for arranging improvements, alterations or additions
to Department of Education-owned buildings on school sites. All such work will need to be approved by both the Department of Education and BMW and built under BMW’s management.
All new work on an existing school site will require statutory approvals and be required to meet all applicable building codes and regulations. No new building work or modifications to existing buildings at schools can occur
without prior permission being sought and given by the Department of Education and BMW.
A considerable degree of early forward planning is recommended as historically projects of this nature can have lengthy timelines from the concept to the delivery phase. Early establishment of funding sources and availability
of funds is also essential for successfully facilitating better amenity at a school that supports and encourages participation in all or specifically targeted sports.
When considering seeking permission to use facilities on the premises of an existing school, it is recommended that contact is made with the school in the first instance to discuss a potential use and then meet with the Principal
to present the proposal in more detail.
The Department of Education’s Schools Online portal directs the public to a complete
directory of public schools, with associated contact details and addresses. It is recommended the local school is contacted when exploring opportunities for community and shared use of facilities on the premises of an existing
The development and use of shared facilities must be supported by comprehensive joint use agreements that establish operational and management roles and define responsibilities for capital and operating recurrent cost contributions.
The development and use of new shared infrastructure at new schools and co-located open space projects requires well considered and informed early forward planning, whereas shared use of existing school facilities can be immediate
and subject to the agreed terms and conditions of use.
Early collaborative planning is central for ensuring the best possible service and infrastructure outcomes, delivery timelines and return on the significant shared investments.
The guiding principles and key considerations of this approach include:
When planning schools and community facilities, government and community participation is essential during the planning and design process.
Planning of government schools by the Department of Education can often occur well in advance of the development of schools, with long lead times in excess of, in some cases, 15 years or more.
Future school sites are identified in the planning process framework as a response to the lot yield of development and at a frequency prescribed by various statutory documents, including Development Control Policy DC 2.4 and
Livable Neighbourhoods: Element 8.
Generally, there is one primary school for every 1,500 lots and one secondary school for every 7,000 lots with a servicing cluster of four primary schools. Primary schools, where possible, are located at the centre of their
catchment or local intake areas. It is preferred that secondary schools are also central to the applicable local intake area.
It is during this process that school sites and public open space are ideally co-located in response to the strategic community service provisions of local government, which also requires considerable lead times to plan and
secure sufficient infrastructure for future communities.
With the development of new schools, community consultation generally occurs at the procurement and delivery phase, which for primary schools begins two years before opening and with secondary schools it’s three years.
Community participation occurs at the master planning and schematic design stages of a new school project in the form of the Project Consultation Group (PCG) that comprises of at least one member of the future school community
and one Principal from a neighbouring school.
With major infrastructure projects at existing schools, generally a member of the School Council or the Parents & Citizens Association is represented on the PCG. In most cases, the schematic design of a new school
or major refurbishment or replacement project at an existing school is formally presented at a community meeting.
When a school project involves co-located shared playing fields and facilities, it is recommended that forward planning is coordinated with the local government and direct liaison occurs with recreation and facilities planners.
A primary school is currently designed to the Department of Education’s standard pattern format and prescriptive brief and generally has a generic layout and footprint of buildings and facilities located on the site.
Therefore, within that constraint there is limited opportunity to significantly change the layout but with sufficient scope to make all buildings and facilities available for community use.
When primary schools are co-located with community facilities there is sufficient flexibility in the master planning process to integrate the school design particularly with shared ovals including for example, positioning car
parks that can be shared by the school and the community.
With secondary school designs, the Department of Education is yet to establish a standard pattern design or layout. There’s a descriptive brief that outlines individual room requirements.
There’s sufficient scope within the design to locate buildings that can potentially have high value community use, for example a performing arts centre, along the various street frontages of the site to maximise community
Other facilities such as the library that could be used shared as both a community and school asset, is generally positioned centrally to the school and possibly located on the floor above the café. If the library is
to be used as a community facility then it will need to be positioned on a street frontage for seamless community access.
When schools are co-located with shared open space and supporting community facilities then it is highly recommended that a facilities planner from the applicable local government authority is invited onto the PCG to ensure
constructive and cooperative planning of shared facilities.
Both primary and secondary schools have a variety of general and special purpose rooms and spaces that could potentially meet community infrastructure needs.
However, early community involvement, including that of the local government will add value to informing a schools design that achieves a higher level of community benefit, functionality and serviceability.
Local governments conduct extensive research and consultation with community and sporting groups when preparing their Integrated Community Planning plans to incorporate community infrastructure and assets. A number of key
indicators will also be applied in the forward planning process of infrastructures needs including:
This analysis is used to potentially align future needs with infrastructure provisions planned accordingly in response to projected outcomes.
In regard to playing fields, many local governments are developing generic footprints that cater for a multitude of sports giving greater flexibility for a range of current and future users. These are planned at a local,
district and regional level and respond to community need for a full range of nature, recreation and sporting open space uses.
Traditionally, playing fields were planned in response to specific sporting needs demonstrated by clubs and sports already active or developing within a locality. These clubs traditionally would focus towards oval sports
(cricket and AFL), rectangular sports (soccer and rugby codes) or diamond sports (baseball and softball). In response, a local government would plan to develop a facility significantly catering for training and completion
fields built to dimensions suitable for the required level of competition.
On the other hand infrastructure needs and accommodation schedules at schools are determined by education service delivery models and school curriculum and standards set by both State and Federal education agencies.
Infrastructure location and facilities provided ensures communities and schools have access to a broad range of assets that meet the strategic needs of all stakeholders.
The location of community infrastructure is determined by the size of catchment areas and the distribution of population they service. Generally, community facilities will be centralised at the local, district and regional
level or located as required along major transport movement routes.
In some cases, ideally infrastructure may be best located at local government boundaries where the catchment area for a particular facility of size and functionality overlaps and traverses two local government areas. The
local authorities may have jointly planned and funded (subject to the State legislation and Ministerial approval) such a facility that derives the greatest benefit for the recipient communities.
Community facilities may comprise multiple active playing fields with associated recreation or nature spaces and ancillary service infrastructure such as clubrooms, change rooms, public toilets, recreation and aquatic centres
and community centres.
Community centres can offer a range of spaces and meeting rooms that can be utilised by community groups associated with schools in complementary activities.
Generally, community facilities are built to a higher performance and dimensional standard than school facilities. In some cases there are opportunities for local governments or other agencies to assist in expanding school
facilities to deliver greater community benefit.
The provision of schools, as outlined previously, is determined by the lot yield of the particular locality catchment area. Primary schools are generally located at the centre of the applicable catchment area.
Centralising primary schools is supported by the statutory planning framework principles of walkable and accessible catchment arcs and boundaries.
Factors that may determine a school’s location non-central to a catchment area is an opportunity to co-locate with public open space, the proximity to transport routes and preferred integration with a neighbourhood
centre. The Department of Education considers this on a case-by-case basic ensuring that the education services and outcomes can still be effectively and efficiently delivered.
In the case of new generic design primary schools, infrastructure suitable for community purposes includes:
Whilst typically provided at all primary schools, playground equipment is generally located in areas of new schools that are contained within the internal lockdown fencing perimeter and are only available to the community
after hours when approved activities are conducted within the lockdown.
In an emerging trend, primary schools are increasingly being identified as suitable sites for a range of important government and community service infrastructure including child and family centres, dental therapy clinics,
clinical nurse offices and parent centres. These maybe provided where the highest need has been identified or in accord with a specific plan for service delivery.
Whilst it is preferred that secondary schools are central to their catchment it is not essential. There can be shared benefits when secondary schools are co-located with local, district, neighbourhood or regional open space
or local activity centres and along major transport routes.
As for primary schools, site attributes that limit the development of a secondary school site may determine where a site is to be finally located. In most cases, a secondary school is best located with significant open
space and playing fields to facilitate senior recreation and sporting spaces.
New secondary schools also have a standard infrastructure provision suitable for community use that includes:
Whilst all secondary schools contain science laboratories, these are not made available to the community because of occupational health and safety issues and the requirement for compliant and qualified supervision.
By reviewing facilities provisions and their locations against community and educational needs, local governments and the Department of Education can arrange and prepare agreements and governance models that derive the
greatest benefit to all stakeholders and participants.
When the Department of Education and local governments decide to pursue shared arrangements to jointly develop or share resources and facilities then those arrangements should be confirmed by agreements that outline contributions,
roles and responsibilities and models and methods of governance and operational requirements.
Agreements can be in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), a licence agreement or a lease agreement. The terms and conditions of all Understandings and Agreements should clearly define the details and structure
of the governance models and methodologies for successfully managing the joint development and use of school and community based infrastructure.
While an MOU is not a legally binding document, it is a useful instrument for confirming stakeholder commitment to the principles of jointly developing or sharing infrastructure, facilities and resources. An MOU can
be applied across a whole local government area or applied to individual schools or community and public open space sites.
Licences detail agreements particularly for the use of shared facilities and the recurrent costs associated with maintaining, managing and operating the facilities as identified in individual agreements. Likewise, leases
detail agreements to physically occupy property that may have a specific shared use over and above normal or intended operational capacity.
The Department of Education prepared this Deed in response to a number of commercial entities, which are currently conducting profitable businesses on school sites. This is available at page
For example there is a growing demand to conduct non-recreational activities, such as farmers markets, in addition recreational activities, such as personal fitness instruction and boot camps, on school premises.
Whilst members of the community can buy produce from stall holders or pay fees for fitness classes, the agreed user, who is a party to the agreement, is essentially ‘non-community’ and potentially operating
a business well beyond the immediate community where the school is located.
The Principal has delegated authority to execute this agreement under the terms and conditions as outlined in the Policy and Legislation section. For licence periods that exceed two years, the Minister has sole authority
for executing a Deed.
It is essential that facilities used by school students and members of the community are maintained to an appropriate standard and in strict compliance with all the current and applicable building, health and safety standards.
It is imperative that maintenance standards are set very early in the facilities planning process and the responsibility for maintenance, the structured and programmed regimes and benchmark standards are clearly established.
This ensures the facilities remain usable and functional at all times. The conventional facility management maintenance regimes include:
A breakdown is a sudden or unforeseen failure of infrastructure plant or equipment and is generally repaired urgently if it prevents the use of a facility.
The conduct of systematic inspections and assessments prevents the premature failure of infrastructure, plant and equipment, thereby limiting breakdowns.
Intended to routinely address compliance with new standards and regulations or updates and amendments to existing ones, ensuring safe and healthy environments.
Repair or replacement, prior to breakdown, of building elements that are approaching or have exceeded expected life cycle periods.
Infrastructure, plant, equipment and service upgrades increase capacity to support new systems and technologies that improves functionality and utilisation.
It is imperative a detailed maintenance program plan is established which incorporates the intended users and operating hours of the shared facilities to avoid disrupting organised activities.
For example, it is recommended a local government oval shared with a school shouldn’t be mowed or sprayed during the normal operating hours of the school or during a scheduled sports carnival.
Equally, for example, it is recommended that school hard courts shared by a community netball club, shouldn’t be resurfaced or repaired during the netball season.
In all cases, common sense and the health and wellbeing of students and community members should prevail. It is also imperative that maintenance regimes and associated actions are addressed proactively and not reactively.
School facilities are maintained on behalf of the Department of Education of by BMW in accordance with applicable standards and within annual budgetary constraints. BMW devolve all school maintenance work to contracted
facilities managers, which arrange for head or sub-contractors to undertake all maintenance.
The Department of Education uses contracted cleaning and gardening staff and procures contracts for other grounds maintenance work such as mowing. It should be noted that some maintenance regimes at schools differ
in frequency from that of local government.
Local governments may have their own maintenance workforce, also equipped with the necessary plant and equipment. It is expected that maintenance of shared local government infrastructure, particularly playing fields,
occurs more frequently because community use is generally much higher than at a school-based facility.
To cope with a higher frequency of use, local government playing fields in particular are maintained to a much higher standard than school fields in compliance with public liability obligations and active sporting club
and association requirements.
A crucial component of any shared use agreement should include sufficient time for by all parties to carry out the necessary ongoing maintenance to shared facilities aligning with all standards, codes and regulations. The
life of facilities may be extended if accessibility, serviceability and functionality can be maintained to support regular and unencumbered use in an agreed level of use and serviceability.
Improvements could be in the form of an upgrade to the power supply and electrical services of a shared use facility to accommodate new information technologies or a mechanical plant and equipment replacement program. It
is critical that improvements are prioritised to address public welfare issues such as, for example, amendments to the Australian Glazing Standards that requires the replacement of all floor level glass with new compliant
Well maintained and regularly improved shared facilities will guarantee uninterrupted operations and utilisation rates that benefits communities and schools and maximises the return on government investments.
The operational management procedures of shared facilities must also be established well before those new or existing facilities commence operating. Booking protocols and regimes must be in place to provide both schools
and communities with certainty and understanding to ensure prioritised and pre-scheduled use delivers the desired educational, recreational and social outcome benefits.
Lines of communication between all facility stakeholders will be an important factor in achieving a high level of satisfaction between all users.
It is critical that joint arrangements achieve the best possible return on the considerable investment that all parties will be committing to. At the core of these arrangements, is the shared benefit of promoting and encouraging
physical activity and recreation directly within the school community and the broader community.
In order to justify potential investment it is helpful to have access to more information around the added value that the development of community sport and recreation infrastructure can bring to students and the broader
community, particularly the benefits of PE and sport to educational attainment and health in the community.
From a planning context, crucial matters need consideration to ensure the long term success of a shared use arrangement.
The long term viability of shared use facilities contained on both school sites and community open space will require a strong and stable financial foundation that should be both equitable and sufficient to sustain the
facilities. Capital cost commitments contained within the business case must ensure the shared facilities can be delivered to the required and agreed scope and standard.
There must also be adequate recurrent cost funding to ensure the facilities continue to be maintained to the highest possible standard and amenity to continue to attract committed users that will sustain the operation of
The extent and quantum of recurrent costs must be established well in advance of the permitted use of existing school and community facilities and the handover and activation of new shared facilities. The terms and conditions
of any joint agreement should confirm mechanisms that will calculate and quantify any cost increases generated by inflation or CPI adjustments due to increases in labour and material costs.
It is important that parties entering into joint arrangements draw on previous knowledge and experience gained from both within and without each other’s organisations during and after the delivery of completed projects
and executed agreements. Ongoing review of the performance, operation and management of shared facilities will enable continuous improvement and a proactive response to changing or increasing demands.
When engaging consultants to assist with the planning of shared facilities, it is critical that successful applicants demonstrate extensive experience with the design and delivery of community, school and shared facilities.
In the operation and management of shared facilities, there are specialist organisations that can advise on the efficient and effective function of leisure and recreation centres that may include shared components and areas.
Engaging and working with potential users can build long term partnerships that ensure the right blend of facilities are provided and they are utilised to maximum capacity. Suitable partners may include other government
agencies, local governments, sporting associations and clubs, community groups, not-for-profit organisations and in some cases commercial operators.
Potential partners will often be aware of the local community sport and recreation market within a given area and will be able to give advice on how the local school facilities could supplement or complement existing local
sporting and physical activity programs.
The information provided by partners will be crucial in developing an appropriate program and cost structure.
Sufficient capacity can be built by consolidating facilities or identifying specific facilities that can complement or supplement each other. A combination of facilities with varying levels of finish, size or amenity may
satisfy the community and the school’s current and future recreational needs.
In most cases, it is unlikely facilities contained on a school site, in combination with facilities located on adjoining open space will be able to satisfy every community need or demand. If early planning is sound then
both facilities should respond to the demands that were determined at the time that forward planning was conducted.
Planning to include some flexibility will allow the facilities to respond to future changing demands. Particular sports that have both a school-based and a community-centred focus should underpin the main shared use activities,
with the facilities responding to support these priority activities.
Maintaining facilities to an appropriate standard that supports continuous and safe use is a critical element in the orderly and responsible governance of shared use facilities either on school or open space sites.
The success or failure of shared facilities will be dependent on the arrangements that have been put in place that clearly outline the proportional contribution of each party or stakeholder to maintain functional and
usable facilities in order to provide a safe and healthy recreation environment.
Clearly defining and assigning the apportionment costs to the responsible parties will avoid conflict between the owners of the facilities and third party users or partners. Apportionment should be based on fairness
and equity and could be divided, for example, on the basis of a percentage of annual use or on the basis of the area of facility provided that is over and above the standard provision, particularly where facilities
are consolidated, enhanced or expanded.
The details of such arrangements must be established well in advance of and prior to the completion and operation of shared facilities to guarantee that good governance practices can be initiated once the facilities
are available for third party use.
Facility maintenance is one component of asset management. Effective asset management will ensure that the assets are managed and maintained effectively to support service delivery. Ordinarily asset management
decisions reside with the agencies that control or own the assets. It is important that the full costs of providing, operating and maintaining assets are reflected in budgets and business plans. Asset management
has cost implications for the facility owner and it is important the maintenance of shared use community facilities on school sites is recognised by local governments and community organisations contributing
to the cost.
In the initial phase of the project, the business case for shared community facilities should address and apportion the cost to each party of maintenance, including the full cost of maintenance and the future upgrade
of equipment, buildings or facilities. However, this has implications for the overall cost of a community facility and can act as a barrier to a project successfully acquiring capital and recurrent funding.
The following definitions are used to describe the main components of a shared use facility which need to be addressed in determining costs attributable to individual user groups:
The table below suggests maintenance responsibilities for buildings and associated open space infrastructure.
The table below highlights grounds maintenance works which may be required for three categories of playing field provision. Category A would be the high performance facility which is predominantly used for
State level competition and above. Category B would be for general competitive play for school and district level competition. Category C is for casual sport and recreational use. The table also includes
reference to turf wickets for cricket which require a higher standard of intensive maintenance. Additional considerations are also referenced for those aspects of pitch maintenance and potential land
owner obligations which have to be built into the ongoing cost implications.
Equitable contributions to maintenance should be clearly defined. In all shared use arrangements there’s a need to agree on an appropriate standard and cost of maintenance. This can vary considerably
In respect of the Department of Education school facilities, maintenance arranged by the Department of Education is coordinated by BMW on its behalf and then directs the work to contracted facilities managers.
This can be at a higher cost than what an LGA can incur by using its own maintenance staff and may not meet the standards acceptable to a local government. In many local government circumstances full
cost recovery is not achievable on most community facility sites.
The extent of agreed capital and recurrent costs contributed by parties to the provision, development and/or use of infrastructure within a Shared Use Agreement is set out below.
The cost of maintaining sports facilities and playing fields vary significantly and is subject to a wide range of factors relating to usage, ground conditions, supporting infrastructure and climate. In general
it is likely that a full cost recovery model with shared user groups may not be achievable. In such circumstances a local government will be required to establish an effective cost apportionment model
which recognises a user groups ability to pay and the intended community/social benefit of providing the service. This will require a process which attributes equitable cost parameters which are transparent
and consistent and be relevant to:
The management and day-to-day operations of a shared use facility is a vital component of the delivery of a resource which meets the needs of the community it is intended to serve.
The quality and capability of the management can be the biggest influence on the cost and viability of a facility for individuals and organisations. It is important to ensure the management of a facility
is responsive to the size and capability of the shared use facility.
The governance structures need to be determined on a case by case basis having regard to:
In addition to the choice of a management body and/or process, every shared community facility must be supported by an appropriate governance structure.
A governing body is the legal entity responsible and accountable for decisions in relation to:
The operations of a shared community facility are in turn managed by people employed or acting on behalf of the governing body through agreement.
Good governance provides for sound decision making and accountability. The State of Victoria Department of Education and Child Development has identified eight principles of good governance for shared facility
partnerships which are applicable to good governance across shared use facilities in Western Australia.
These are identified as:
To ensure that decisions are based on clear criteria and are able to be scrutinised as being impartial and fair to all potential users.
Responsibilities are clearly defined and allocated to each partner.
Each partner and stakeholders have input into the operation of the partnership and the facility.
There is a shared understanding of the objectives and management of the partnership.
The partnership is able to respond to change in circumstances and is sufficiently agile to adapt to new opportunities.
The shared use of facilities can be sustained within the resources available and may achieve the optimum outputs from both a financial and social return on investment.
The project is delivered within the legal framework and is ethical.
All partners are responsible for the leadership and delivery of the project.
The failure of shared use agreements normally occurs where the above governance protocols are not adhered to. It is essential that when a shared use agreement is being considered, the various elements are
appropriately covered and underpin each partner’s objectives.
There are a variety of legal entities which can be considered in the development of a shared use community facility. All legal entities have strengths and weaknesses and may be used for the governance of
shared community facilities. All have the capability of providing the required levels of accountability, decision making, performance management and review. However the decision of which legal entity
to use is dependent on the extent of facilities which are to be made available for shared use and the level of involvement of different partners in ensuring that the shared use will deliver the desired
Where more than one legal entity comes together to manage a shared use facility this may give rise to difficulties (ie different objectives, reporting requirements and financial performance). Where this
occurs a number of questions will need to be posed:
In most cases it will be necessary to create a new legal entity for the purposes of managing shared use. The type, role and responsibility of the body selected to govern a shared community facility needs
to be determined with a clear understanding of the potential strengths and weaknesses of each legal entity. It also needs to have regard to the outcomes desired in delivering the shred use facility.
The types of legal entity are identified and the respective benefits and challenges are listed.
It is important when developing relationships between the legal entities in governing a shared use community facility that consider the key following aspects:
Taking into account the recommended planning process, if shared use is to be considered, in particular at school sites, it is important a consistent model of development is provided to ensure consistency, openness
and fairness. As stated previously any model proposed must be relevant to the community and the appropriateness of facilities which are to be included. The extent and validity of any subsequent shared use
agreement will be dependent on principles established early in the development process. This will be equally valid whether the facilities have been purpose built for community use or are being considered
as part of an extended development opportunity.
The following principles which have been broadly referenced in documents reviewed are considered essential in order to develop a consistent model:
Funding is allocated by the State Government in annual budgets to
build new schools in response to population growth and associated
residential development. Availability of funding is set by budgetary
cycles and the priority need to announce and build schools as required.
In the case of primary schools, the project cycle from announcement
to opening will be a two to three year period. For secondary schools,
that period will be three to four years. Where a school is co-located
with public open space to be shared, it is quite common the development
timeline for the school and the open space are not necessarily in
alignment with each other.
It is quite possible that a shared oval may be constructed and in use
prior to the development of the co-located school and in some cases a
shared oval will be constructed in parallel with the development of a
school in advance of the local government’s delivery plan.
Therefore, it is necessary to forward
plan shared ovals and facilities early and prepare joint arrangements
well in advance of delivery of both the subject school and the adjoining
open space to be shared. It is important that all parties enter into
agreements that provide certainty around future commitments to both
capital cost funding for buildings, facilities and infrastructure and
recurrent cost funding for maintaining and operating the same.
The Department of Education prepares Capital Investment Plans (CIP)
that identify high priority school projects that will be delivered in
response to development areas and emerging communities that have the
highest and most urgent need for a new school.
A local government authority has the responsibility to ensure the
orderly and sufficient provision and maintenance of public open space
and community facilities and infrastructure.
The funding sources can be from developer contributions, State
Government allocations, rates and income generation and from community
and sporting clubs by way of DSR grants, special programs and grants and
A Development Contribution Plan (DCP) is a legal arrangement between a
local government authority and specified landowner(s) to share the
costs involved with building new infrastructure for a specific locality
or area. That infrastructure could include active and passive public
open space provisions, which may be co-located with schools and is to be
shared by both the school and the community.
The preparation of a DCP starts with the identification of a
development area and its need for appropriate recreation and community
infrastructure. Land owners in the affected area are then required to
contribute towards the cost of that infrastructure, but only once an
application to develop/subdivide the land has been approved.
In some cases, developers enter into agreements with local
governments to develop an approved public open space in lieu of making
development contributions. The joint agreement may require the developer
to maintain the open space for an agreed period prior to formal
handover to the local government.
Each local government will prepare a statutory contribution cost
schedule for every applicable Development Contribution Area (DCA). This
process ensures that all landowners contribute equitably towards the
provision of essential community facilities that may be the subject of a
joint arrangement between the between the Department of Education and a
In accordance with the requirements of State Planning Policy, a
Capital Expenditure Plan (CEP) is prepared and adopted by the local
government to support the Development Contribution Plans for each of the
development areas. The CEP sets out the triggers and estimated time
lines for the commencement and completion of each item of key DCP
infrastructure, including shared ovals and facilities.
The Schedules in a CEP may not include every infrastructure item in a relevant DCP. Those that are included are either:
There are a number of ways that community groups and sporting clubs
can generate much-needed funds for the development and use of
facilities, shared or otherwise, to enhance and promote participation,
The Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF)
is a funding program offered by the State Government to assist in the
development of basic sporting infrastructure with a focus on increasing
physical activity in the community.
Examples of some successful past projects funded by this program include:
Projects like floodlighting can enhance school facilities and provide
flexibility enabling extended hours of use that provides a broader
Generally, clubs will have an opportunity to complete an Expression
of Interest form that must be submitted to be eligible for funding from a
local government authority.
While not exclusively limited to State-owned education facilities,
funding applications for private education institutions would be
considered and determined on a case-by-case basis.
Sponsorship is often an integral part of a club to run day-to-day
activities and to also keep fees as low for members as possible. Clubs
must provide potential sponsors with a tangible benefit in exchange for
sponsorship and remember that businesses want to be associated with
clubs who have a professional and positive image.
The following legislative acts, regulations and policies confer
powers of delegated authority on the Minister for Education and school
Principals that govern the use of school facilities.
Proponents or organisations seeking to enter into a Shared Use
Agreement will need to have due regard for all impacting legislative and
policy frameworks relevant to the education sector.
These statutory documents include the following:
Other related legislation, specific to planning of schools, includes:
The documents listed above confirm the assigned or delegated
authority given to enter into an agreement permitting the use of school
facilities and resources.
The School Education Act 1999 and the School Education Regulations
2000 guide the Minister and school Principals on the powers and
authority conferred on them.
The essential elements of the applicable acts and regulations that govern the community use of school facilities include:
A Principal has authority to:
Other relevant acts and statutory documents that inform shared use planning and development include:
There are also a number of existing policies that provide the guiding principles for shared use planning. The policies include:
Establishes the principles that apply to the provision of community
infrastructure in established and emerging suburbs by way of
contributions equitably shared by all developers.
Provides planning guidance on the provision, co-location and
interaction of school sites, community facilities and public open
Confirms the requirement to provide free-of-cost 10% public open
space (nature, recreation or sporting typology) of any gross
Confirms the need, location and frequency of schools and the requirements schools are co-located with public open space.
Affords protection over public open space (section 20A “public recreation” reserves from private interests).
Confirms that school Principals must make school property, facilities
and resources available for approved use by the community.
Confers the responsibility on school Principals for granting
permission for alcohol to be sold, supplied or consumed on schools
premises in accord with the Liquor Control Act.
Provides practical advice on maintaining safe and healthy teaching and learning environments on school property.
Outlines assessment and management protocols for minimising or
mitigating risk to students, teachers and the community, whilst on
Guides implementation of security measures to create a safe environment and the protection of school property.
Restricts smoking on school property in compliance with the relevant act and regulations.
Confirms employees in child-related work require a valid check in compliance with the relevant Act.
Guides and assists schools to manage school finances.
Outlines procedures that schools apply to their financial management practices.
Provides schools with an overview of insurance coverage and claim procedures.
Confirms level of insurance coverage as affected by RiskCover (Western Australian Government Treasury Managed Fund).
An aspirational description of what an organisation or community
hopes to achieve in the mid-term or long-term future. It provides the
framework for all future or strategic planning and may apply to an
entire community, part of a community or a project.
are a number of resources available for interested parties, who wish to
engage with the Department of Education or individual schools for the
purpose of using existing facilities or planning to share and use
facilities at a future school.
These range from documents to confirm current and future intentions
(Memorandum of Understanding), agreements that allow the incidental or
regular use of school facilities (Licence to Use), long term joint
arrangements for shared use (Licence Agreement) and where it is proposed
that activities are conducted or services provided on school premises
that are commercial in nature (Deed of Licence).
The Department of Education has also developed a number of guideline
documents that outline the planning requirements for primary and
secondary schools. Both these documents are referenced to existing
statutory planning documents prepared by the Department of Planning.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a useful document that enables
interested parties to make a joint statement of current intention to
work collaboratively for the provision of shared facilities, which can
be on and/or adjacent to a school site.
Whilst an MOU is not legally or contractually binding, it is a
valuable mechanism for confirming each parties commitment to sharing
facilities and making better use of public infrastructure. An MOU can be
The duration of an MOU can be for a long period to ensure that there
is an ongoing commitment by all parties. The terms of the MOU should be
flexible enough to allow the document to be updated or amended as new
issues emerge or circumstances change requiring a realignment of purpose
or direction.A generic draft MOU has been provided as a guiding
template for preparing a suitable arrangement that is tailored to meet
specific locations or requirements.
The Department of Education and a Local Government Authority will
enter into an agreement to jointly fund and maintain shared facilities
that could either be located on Education land and/or Local Government
land. These agreements confirm agreed equitable cost apportionment and
operational and financial arrangements that ensure efficient and
effective management of shared facilities.
Licence agreements are used for joint arrangements for facilities
such as sports ovals, playing fields, multi- marked hard courts and
sports halls or recreation centres.
A generic agreement is provided as a guide for preparing a site or
facility specific joint arrangement. Terms and conditions will vary
subject to issues such as locality, availability and costs of service
infrastructure and local area maintenance costs.
This type of agreement is used when the permitted use of school
premises involves the conduct of activities or the provision of services
that are commercial in nature, which means a business is conducted
exclusively or cyclically on the premises and income is derived by the
proponent by charging fees for service or conduct.
The Department of Education has developed a Deed of Licence agreement
that is specifically required for commercial operations. This type of
agreement may include the use of facilities on school premises for the
purposes of personal fitness training, sports coaching, training or
instruction and a registered sporting club, which uses the school as its
Do not submit enquiries with this form.