General 169: Schools’ Business Rates and Call for Maintained Schools to Register Multi-Use sites

The ESFA has published the government response following their consultation on centralising the payment of business rates.

The ESFA will cover additional rates costs associated with additional buildings on a school site which are used to deliver education for pupils at the school (for example, a sports hall that is used during school hours and at evenings by the wider community).

They will not cover the additional rates costs associated with buildings which are not used to deliver education for pupils at the school.

For a smooth transition to the new payment system, the ESFA encourages schools to register buildings which are not used to deliver education for pupils at the school as a separate entity on the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) rating list.

This ensures that two individual bills are produced, meaning the bill data uploaded to the ESFA by billing authorities will only relate to the parts of a school site used to deliver education and will exclude any other buildings.

This is likely to apply to schools which contain:

  • several service providers (for example, a private nursery attached to a primary school)
  • other bodies which occupy specific buildings (for example, a caretaker’s house or community swimming pool)

Any enquiries around these issues needs to be directed to the ESFA and not the Local Authority.

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