Site managers, maintenance supervisors, and premises teams are the champions of the not-so 9 to 5 within schools. They’re an integral cog of a well-oiled machine that schools can’t do without. It can sometimes be easily forgotten that our school estates team needs us just as much as we need them.
Here’s some tips for you to make sure you’re nurturing that relationship and taking care of your maintenance team!
Modernising the school estates team
Moving with the times, our traditional associations of site-supervision roles have given way to the modern jobs that see an increased amount of responsibility and accountability. No longer simply the ‘caretaker’ or handy man’ that opens and closes the site or is on-call to fix a broken tap, our estates teams’ duties have really stepped up a gear.
The general range of their tasks is vast, and no mean feat. From managing the majority of health and safety policies to carrying out both essential and ad-hoc maintenance duties, we often find ourselves falling into the trap of expecting our maintenance colleagues to be able to carry out tasks on-demand. Though their approach to work is usually flexible in its nature, and their willingness to provide help usually apparent, such assumptions can be damaging to professional relationships.
In an education system that’s realising the integrity of adopting digital systems to streamline processes and reveal back-office efficiencies, school maintenance is an area with vast opportunity for digital development and working improvements. Gone are the days of balancing routine planned maintenance jobs with the capacity to respond to arising issues using paper-based systems. It’s time to properly equip maintenance teams with the real tools they need to do their jobs.
Keeping up with legislation
The varied routine of the site supervisor requires a bespoke recording system that supports their daily tasks. Whether they’re solely responsible for ensuring clean, safe surroundings in primary schools, or they manage a wider team of estates staff across a MAT, the ability to quickly and accurately record actions in one digital system is imperative.
From physical fixes to maintenance that meets statutory requirements, estates staff are constantly needing to prove to local authorities that their site is safe in line with legislation. With responsibilities now extending to processes like health and safety audits, when site teams report to you, is the information in a useful or accessible format? It’s one thing identifying areas in need of repair or replacement; it’s another ensuring cohesive, detailed records are kept in line with statutory requirements.
With risk assessments and overall maintenance falling under the belt of site supervisors, the employees need access to a bank of trusted and reliable suppliers. With Every’s Compliance Software, users are given access to a dedicated suppliers’ module where they can view all contact details, notes, and reviews about different suppliers. That’s whether or not they’ve supplied the site before. There’s also a handy recommendations tab, too, for those jobs where you don’t know who to turn to!
Lessen the length of the to-do list
As to-do lists only ever seem to grow, equip your estates team with the tools they need to lessen time-consuming administrative tasks. For instance, Every’s users can access templates for regularly occurring maintenance activities. Our online guidance library can help advise on decisions made at school-level (e.g. whether to conduct PAT testing annually or bi-annually), generating reminders and flagging up any incomplete or insufficient work.
Investing in ways to work to lessen the load of this role will help you to show them that you genuinely care about their professional well-being. Instigating open lines of communication and indicating the right channels for any issues that do arise will help to cement the foundations of a solid working relationship. Don’t forget that the role of the premises management can often be far more isolating than you may first realise; think about the other opportunities are there for them to bond with the wider network of staff.
Your site supervisor takes care of you, your schools’ students, your colleagues, and your visitors. Without estates teams, schools and MATs would be in a bit of a pickle (to say the least!). As the list of things they are required to monitor only grows, it’s time we equipped them with the tech. to help them make their to-do lists look a bit more friendly. After all, when you’re taking care of your premises team, your premises will take care of itself.
Start taking care of your school estates team today!