The Benefits of Using a School Facilities Management Solution
Managing the facilities of a school, Academy, or Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is a significant task. But, when performed well, school facilities management can enhance teaching environments, improve the culture of a school, and support pupil’s educational outcomes.
Maintaining school buildings, equipment, and overseeing health and safety 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.
When almost 50% of teachers and school leaders think their workplace has a negative impact on their wellbeing, it’s worth considering how better facilities management could help.
This article explains the importance of good school facilities management. Including which facilities must be maintained and how facilities management software for schools can strengthen your ability to implement positive changes. We’ll cover:
Why is it so important to deliver good school facilities management?
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 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.
Leaders of schools may also like to know that investing in good school facilities management can reduce unnecessary costs. While leading to higher ROIs and extending the lifetime value of school assets. The UK government’s 10-year construction strategy to rebuild schools in the greatest need of repair, announced in June 2020, reflects this need.
Which school facilities need to be maintained and managed?
Whether you’re responsible for a single facility at a primary school or a multi-site operation at a large MAT, maintaining high standards requires oversight of several areas. Such as:
- Buildings and premises 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, evaluations, and inspections. Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) 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.
- Space management: With so many daily activities to plan for, your school needs 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: School buildings have a considerable impact on the environment and contribute to around 45% of UK CO2 emissions. Along with responsible resource management, Facility managers need to plan for any risks such as asbestos.
To meet the needs of your students and staff, you 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 healthy and safe working environment, undertaking risk assessments, monitoring the need for repairs, improving air conditioning, water treatment, and waste disposal.
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.
Equipment and machinery
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.
Contractor and Sub-contractor management
Every school needs a reliable cleaning supply. Your pupils also need healthy food options, which means hiring responsible catering suppliers, vendors, or contractors.
Which features of facilities management software are beneficial for schools?
By taking care of matters in an organised, compliant, and time-effective way, facilities management software for schools helps those working in education to manage a fast-paced school environment. Cloud-based FM software helps with running smooth operations, reduces stress and strain, and frees up time to concentrate on raising standards.
Some of the more critical aspects of facilities software should enable schools to:
- Review works across multiple sites
- Access room dimensions and manage building spaces
- Manage stock and inventory
- Run risk management reports and checklists
- Automate routine workflows
- Manage work orders and work requests
- Create Purchase Orders for new supplies
- Improve vendor payment and contractor management
- Enable preventative maintenance
- Support DfE compliance
More advanced tools may include features such as:
- Data visualization and dashboards
- Exporting/importing data
- Third-party integrations
- Mobile apps
- Depreciation and warranty management
What are the benefits of using facilities management software for schools?
Introducing a software platform will reduce reliance on pen-and-paper approaches and bring many benefits. These include:
Reduced spending on facility management
Investing in facilities software management offers high ROI. Facilities management software for schools also reduces maintenance costs, leading to savings in all education settings.
Less frequent equipment replacement
Facilities software management aids in sourcing parts from approved suppliers. Keeping equipment fit-for-purpose also reduces the chances of needing emergency repairs.
Extended lifetime value of buildings and assets
Providing regular monitoring, cleaning, sanitation, and repairs 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.
A preventative approach
Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) 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.
Improves communication with staff
Facility scheduling enables staff to reserve rooms and resources with ease. It also reduces the risk of double-booking. Scheduling can also increase the number of curricular and extra-curricular activities, leading to improved outcomes for pupils.
Enables school buildings to become rentable spaces
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.