Policy on school closures
Following closure of a school, where the site has been wholly of partly funded by government grants, the proceeds or an appropriate proportion of them should be repaid to government.The Department distinguishes between cases where there is a school closure without replacement, and where a replacement school is provided. The arrangements for each in regard to voluntary (including maintained) schools are set out below.
In recovering grants the main principles followed are:
When a school ceases to be used to that purpose, then the public purse is entitled to recover public funds subject to the provisions of the Voluntary Schools Building Grant Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993.
The amount of grant recovered by the Department and the amount retained by the Trustees should be commensurate with the original contribution from both parties.
When a school is replaced the Department may recover up to a maximum of the market value of the replaced premises (or cost of the replacement works if smaller), using it to off-set the cost the replacement school. In such cases the Trustees are entitled to an equity share in the replacement school based on their share of the grant recovery contribution.
On closure of a grant-aided property the Department is entitled to recovery based on the value of the property as assessed by the District Valuer.
Controlled schools are owned by the Education Authority (EA) and are therefore publicly-owned. The proceeds from any sale are returned to the public purse. The Central Advisory Unit (CAU) in the Department of Finance and Personnel provides the guidance for all public service bodies, including the EA.