The Benefits of Facilities Management in Schools and Education
Managing and maintaining educational facilities such as schools, Academies, and Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) is a significant task. But, when performed well, effective facilities management can enhance teaching environments, improve the culture of schools, and support each student’s educational outcomes.
When almost 50% of teachers think their workplace has a negative impact on their wellbeing, it’s worth considering how deploying a facilities management solution could help.
The Importance of School Facilities Management
Maintaining buildings and equipment while meeting health and safety regulations requires careful planning. Where school leaders and teachers are under constant pressure to perform, they must be free to concentrate on what they do best – raising pupils’ attainment levels.
To be effective, school facilities management requires a nominated individual to co-ordinate activity, implement processes, and use software solutions to support them.
Studies show that safe, well-maintained school buildings that are free from disruption can increase teaching time and reduce rates of teacher turnover by 25%.
In 2019, a teacher wellbeing survey by Ofsted highlighted how a lack of physical resources—including computers and audio-visual resources—restricted a teacher’s instructional ability. Lack of resources may also contribute to low levels of occupational well-being for teachers, compared with others working in education.
Schools are required to follow The School Premises (England) Regulations 2012 and meet compliance standards as outlined by the Department for Education (DfE). Safeguarding pupils is also very important, making the need for safe and secure buildings a high priority.
Among other key benefits, schools are able to reduce unnecessary spending and costs by investing in good school facilities management tool. While also leading to higher ROIs and extending the lifetime value of school assets.
Factors to Consider When Maintaining Educational Facilities
Whether responsible for a single facility at a primary school or multiple sites at a large MAT, maintaining high standards requires oversight of several key areas.
Building and Premise Maintenance
Taking care of school buildings is an essential part of day-to-day operations. Buildings may vary in age and construction type, which means carrying out regular surveys and inspections, evaluations, and inspections. Planned preventative maintenance can extend the use of school buildings and equipment. This takes the form of either time-based maintenance (TBM) or conditioned-based maintenance (CBM). Managing electrical maintenance such as lighting, lifts, or air conditioning requires strong processes and monitoring. This also applies to gas, water, plumbing, and heating supplies.
With various daily activities to plan for, schools need a real-time process to manage space. Staff should be able to plan their activities and know which furniture, tools, or equipment are available.
Sustainability and Environmental Improvements
Buildings have a considerable impact on the environment, contributing to around 45% of UK CO2 emissions. Along with responsible resource management, facility managers need to plan for any risks that can harm occupants and students, such as removing asbestos.
To meet the needs of students and staff, a school may need to commission a new building or resource centre. This usually requires a strong procurement process or policy.
Health and Safety Compliance
Responsibility for a school’s health and safety falls to the employer, which will differ based on each school. Duties of an employer include providing a safe working environment, undertaking risk assessments, monitoring the need for repairs, and improving air conditioning As well as being responsible for water treatment and waste disposal.
Playgrounds, sports equipment, and swimming pools need regular maintenance. Tending to trees, grass, and any exterior storage is also important. Gymnasiums and any associated equipment should be fit for purpose, as should IT services and any laboratory equipment.
With the rise in the use of computers and technology for educational purposes, the management of expensive school IT equipment is essential. An effective way to avoid incurring costs associated with the loss or theft of this equipment is through asset tracking and tagging solutions.
Contractor and Sub-Contractor Management
Every school needs a reliable cleaning supply. Pupils also need healthy food options, which means hiring responsible catering suppliers, vendors, or contractors.
Regular risk assessments help to keep pupils and teaching staff safe. This means monitoring fire doors, extinguishers, blankets, and hose reels. Schools should be testing fire and smoke alarm systems and carrying out regular fire drills.
Taking preventative measures to safeguard and protect children at school may include installing code-based entry systems, CCTV, floodlighting, intruder alarms, or restricting access to areas of the building.
Key Facilities Management Features Schools Need
By taking care of matters in an organised, compliant, and time-efficient way, Facilities Management Software for schools helps to manage a fast-paced educational environment.
Typically, an effective cloud-based facility management tool allows operations to run smoothly. As well as freeing up time to concentrate on raising school standards. Some of the more critical aspects of deploying facilities management in schools enable users to:
- Review works across multiple sites
- Access room dimensions and manage building spaces
- Manage stock and inventory
- Run risk management reports
- Automate routine workflows
- Manage work orders and work requests
- Create purchase orders for new supplies
- Improve vendor payment and contractor management
- Enable maintenance planning and scheduling
- Support DfE compliance
Depending on the educational facility, the need for particular requirements will vary. However, there are a handful of features that are necessary no matter where a facilities management solution is deployed. These include:
The process of asset management is to ensure a facility is getting the best possible return on investment. From tracking equipment locations to monitoring asset performance, an asset management tool is key to help stakeholders make strategic decisions on future investments.
Work Order Management
Work order management enables users to create, track, complete, and analyse work orders that take place throughout a school. This helps facility managers to identify improvement areas and reduce costs. As well as automatically scheduling repairs, assigning technicians, and tracking equipment downtime.
In an asset-intensive environment such as schools, being able to track assets is essential. Not only does this reduce the loss of equipment, but it also provides facility managers with greater inventory control. They can see what spare parts are available, what equipment has been checked in and out, and automate the inventory ordering process.
Using Facilities Management Software in Schools
Introducing a digitalized software solution to reduce the reliance on error-prone manual methods such as spreadsheets can have many benefits.
Investing in facilities software management offers high ROI. Its features and capabilities also help schools reduce maintenance costs and any cost associated with the replacement of lost or stolen assets.
Extend Useful Life of Assets
Maintenance planning and scheduling is a key feature of any CAFM tool, enabling users to monitor the condition of equipment and plan for maintenance before they become unusable. Keeping equipment fit-for-purpose reduces the chances of needing emergency repairs. Proper facilities management also aids in automating the purchasing process from approved suppliers.
Extend Lifetime Value of Buildings
Providing regular monitoring, cleaning, sanitation, and repairs can prolong the life of buildings and reduce the need for replacing equipment. Facilities management software allows users to stay on top of annual maintenance responsibilities.
Take a Preventative Approach
Planned preventative maintenance helps staff working in education to take a proactive approach to school facilities management. Preventative maintenance increases efficiency, saves costs, and assists with managing risks to school safety and security.
Improve Communication With Staff
Facility scheduling enables staff to reserve rooms and resources with ease. It also reduces the risk of double-booking. Scheduling can increase the number of curricular and extra-curricular activities, leading to improved outcomes for pupils.
Ease the Renting Process
Facilities management software for schools offers opportunities to rent out facilities to the community. Stakeholder communication is also improved with the software, leading to increased revenue and improved reputation.
When looking to invest in facilities management software for schools it’s important to focus on the needs of your school before you make an investment. There are many different solutions available, including CAFM software and CMMS. But, whatever you decide to invest in, make sure it supports you to address the specific problems you face in your education setting.