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Maintained schools: contractual issues

Guidelines for entering into contracts and lease arrangements with service providers

Written approval

In accordance with our scheme for financing schools (PDF, 383kb), the permission of the Director of Education should be obtained before entering into contracts and lease arrangements.

To enter into any contractual or lease agreement where the total contract value is £5,000 or more, the written permission of the Director of Education must be obtained before the proposed contract or lease is signed. Any such contract or lease should in the first instance be e-mailed directly to Nina Dohel, Director of Education. Your request will be acknowledged in writing.

Southwark’s Legal Services will review the proposed contract or lease to assure both the Director and the Chair of Governors that the proposed contract or lease doesn't pose an unacceptable level of legal risk. Legal Services will aim to provide a view to the Director within 15 working days from receipt of request to review the contract or lease. A formal letter will be sent to the Headteacher and/or School Business Manager and/or the Chair of Governors confirming the outcome of the review by Legal Services.  

For contract and lease arrangements with a total contract value under £5,000, there's no requirement to seek the consent of the Director of Education.

Model form services contract  

To assist schools in ensuring that purchases made with public funds are fair, legal and open, Southwark Legal Services have created a standard model form of contract for services with a total value under £181,000 and maintained schools are encouraged to use this contract wherever possible. 

Contracts valued at £5,000 or more using the Model Form Services Contract must still be submitted for approval by the Director of Education, but the review and approval process should be quicker and more straightforward. 

The Model form contract comprises

Core documents

  • specific terms (doc, 60kb) - this document is where you add the particular details of your project (eg contract term, start date, price) and there are also a number of optional clauses which must be chosen; the party to the contract is the Governing Body of the maintained school
  • general terms (PDF, 269kb) - these are the main terms and conditions which apply to the project; there should be no need to vary or amend this document as any options or revisions can be detailed in the specific terms
  • specification (PDF, 118kb) - this is a brief outline of the main headings which should normally be included within a specification

Optional documents

There are also a number of optional documents which might be required depending on the value and nature of the procurement, including:


  • checklist (PDF, 70kb) - helps to identify documents needed, tendering/quotation levels, approvals requirements and other information required to help maintained schools with the contract
  • guide to completion (PDF, 86kb) - comprehensive guide to assist schools in completing the specific terms and choosing the correct options, explaining the general terms and quotation and tendering requirements
  • guide to specification (PDF, 29kb) writing

Page last updated: 07 January 2020


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