The majority of schools will not need a licence as they are exempt from the fees associated with the authorisation of regulated entertainment, where the entertainment is provided by and at the school or college and for the purposes of the school or college.
If the public was not invited and a charge was made to a private audience (like family and friends) just to cover costs – and not to make a profit - then a licence would not be required.
If the school does require a licence for regulated entertainment, it is free - if the entertainment is provided by and at the school or college and for the purposes of the school or college. However you will need to advertise the application for a licence on the premises, and in the local paper.
If the premises are hired out frequently to other organisations, the school premises will need to be licensed. The fee for the licence will be based on the rateable value of the school. It is likely that the fee will therefore be in the top band for such licences - £635 in the first year and £350 in subsequent years.
If the school only hires out its facilities on 12 occasions per year, for a maximum in total of 15 days, then these occasions can be covered by applications for Temporary Event Notices (TEN's). These applications are made to the local district council in which area the school is situated. They cost £21 per TEN and each of these allows both the sale of alcohol and regulated entertainment for the length of the TEN which, for each event, can last up to 96 hours.
If a school requires a licence to sell alcohol on more than 12 occasions per year, it will need to apply for a premises licence. This will also cover regulated entertainment to events when the premises are hired out.
In addition to the cost of the licence, there also needs to be a person who is authorised to sell the alcohol, referred to as a designated premises supervisor (DPS). This person will need to be trained to obtain an accredited qualification first, and then you should apply for the appropriate licence from your local district council. A personal licence will last for 10 years.
However, as with regulated entertainment, if a school only wishes to sell alcohol on 12 occasions over a period of a maximum of 15 days in a year it can apply for a TEN.
Each school will need to make a judgement as to whether it is preferable to work under a premises licence (with the annual cost) or to use TEN’s. Whilst TEN’s are restricted to 12 events a year, they will not require anybody to be trained. Nevertheless the person who applies for the TEN would be responsible for any breach of the legislation, for example, the sale of alcohol to children under the age of 18.