What makes a great learning environment?
Is it the look or feel of the classroom, the resources within it or the students and staff who fill it? In reality, it’s all of these, but above all young people need schools that have enough space, are warm and dry, and are, importantly, safe.
That’s where strategic estate management comes in. It ensures that your school or Trust has buildings and outdoor spaces that are fit-for-purpose and well maintained, so they can be an environment where students thrive. Yet, accountability and responsibility for strategic estate management within maintained schools or Trusts can vary greatly, and this can lead to challenges. If you overlook developing a strategic asset management plan, it can lead to money being wasted, compliance issues or, at worst, unsafe buildings.
This is why we held our latest ‘Focus on’ event on strategic estate management to help school leaders and premises staff learn more about the crucial elements that are needed for successful estate management. Pete Watton, our Specialist in Education Asset Management and Planning at Entrust has worked within this space for 19 years and led the session.
The vital ingredients for successful asset management
Successful asset management is informed and guided by key strategic documents. These ensure that investment plans are aligned to strategic plans.
- Your school education vision – Aligned to your educational philosophy and objectives.
- An estate vision – Sets out a simple and realistic ambition for your school estate in 5 to 10 years’ time. It is developed in collaboration with key stakeholders, landowners and governors.
- School estate strategy – Explains how you will achieve your estate vision over the next 3 to 5 years and identifies projected funding requirements, outcomes and improvements.
- Asset management plan – A working document that informs operational, day-to-day activities on your school estate in the short-to-medium term (up to two years ahead).
All of these important documents must be signed-off and reviewed by your School Board and informed by data.
The government’s Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS) guidance is designed to help you manage your school estate effectively and conduct strategic reviews into your plans and progress. It is complemented by a GEMS self-assessment tool that can help you identify where you are following good practice and where there are areas for improvement. Headteachers, School Business Professionals, Executive Leaders, and Governing Boards should all input into this assessment to ensure you get a range of views.
Professionals, Executive Leaders, and Governing Boards should all input into this assessment to ensure you get a range of views.
Good estate strategy can maximise investment
With rising inflation and energy prices, it’s even more important to maximise the benefit of every pound that is invested in your estate. To do this you must understand the condition and compliance of your physical assets and buildings.
A condition survey, carried out by qualified buildings professionals, can help you identify the work needed to maintain your estate, consider the likely costs, prioritise work in accordance with your budget, and understand whether the nature of your buildings is likely to change.
By prioritising and procuring maintenance work based on the type of work that is needed across your estate, rather than by individual school, you can package the tender as a single project and increase your purchasing power.
When it comes to managing the compliance of your buildings, Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) includes servicing, testing or inspecting items such as boilers, air conditioning units and catering equipment to help keep people safe. To successfully manage your compliance, you need to know what assets you have got, who is responsible for them and what work needs to be done. An asset audit can help you do this, and it is important that this is supported by an asset management system that stores all the necessary paperwork to ensure you have a robust audit trail. Our Total Asset Management System (TAM) is a cloud solution that helps you to centralise your records, allocate tasks to staff, manage your contractors and stay on top of your statutory duties.
We can help you create better outcomes for your school
We support schools and Multi-Academy Trusts across the UK to maximise asset management outcomes and reduce risk. We can help you develop your education estates vision, create the strategy to deliver it, formulate your annual asset management plans and facilitate strategic reviews. We can also conduct condition and suitability surveys to help you manage and optimise your assets and prioritise your investment plans. To find out more visit www.entrust-ed.co.uk/services/asset-management or contact us to speak to one our experts.