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Intelligent Operations

Agnieszka Wojcik: Importance of H&S Training in Schools

Employers are legally required to provide information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of their employees and safeguard the pupils. Agnieszka Wojcik 

When is H&S training required? 

H&S training is required upon:

  • Induction – Provided for new employees to help them to settle into the new workplace environment and activities. 
  • Exposure to new or increased risks
  • Existing skills may have become rusty or outdated
  • When current training requires refreshing 

How will your employees and school benefit from H&S Training?

Providing health & safety information and training will help you to:

  • Meet your legal duty to protect the health & safety of your employees.
  • Contribute towards making your employees competent in health & safety;
  • Ensure you or your employees are not injured or made ill by the work they do;
  • Develop a positive health & safety culture, where safe & healthy working becomes second nature to everyone;
  • Find out how you could manage health and safety better;
  • Can help your school avoid the implications that accidents and ill health cause;
  • Can help you avoid the financial costs of accidents & occupational ill health.

H&S training methods available 

  • There are many school health and safety training options available, including:
  • Classroom Offsite
  • On-site at the school (school)
  • Online 
  • Blended Learning 

In school, the following training are examples of H&S training needed (the list is not exhaustive) 

Staff whose work involves a greater element of risk will need extra or specific training.

A record of H&S training should be kept up to date, with details of who in your school has completed which training course, which staff are trained sufficiently and whether their certificates are still current.

Steps to achieving compliance in H&S training 

  • Review staff H&S training needs upon induction
  • Organize necessary training 
  • Keep an up-to-date record of who has completed H&S training and when
  • Carry out regular reviews and monitoring of dates to book training refreshers
  • Ascertain that training expectations are met by carrying out staff supervision and assessing training after delivery with staff

When to renew H&S training 

As a general guide, unless otherwise stated in the training certificate, refresher training should be undertaken every 3 years.

Our Health & Safety Team provides training that can be tailored to the school needs and delivered on site.

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Sarah Dennis: Creating a safe work environment

The UK Health and Safety Legislation outlines basic requirements for creating a safe work environment and actions to be taken to reduce to risks to staff, pupils, contractors and visitors.

What should be in place?

Every workplace should provide welfare facilities and a working environment that’s healthy and safe for everyone in the workplace, including those with disabilities.

The workplace must have:

  • welfare facilities – the right number of toilets and washbasins, drinking water and having somewhere to rest and eat meals
  • a healthy working environment – a clean workplace with a reasonable working temperature, good ventilation, suitable lighting and the right amount of space and seating
  • a safe workplace – well-maintained equipment, with no obstructions in floors and traffic routes, and windows that can be easily opened and cleaned
  • fire safety measures – each building should have suitable fire safety precautions and a clear emergency evacuation procedure for all occupants including those with disabilities

What to do if there is a problem? 

If the right facilities are not provided in your workplace, staff should raise this with their manager or staff representative. If appropriate action is not taken you should contact Smart School Services by booking a Head to Head meeting.

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Murat Boyayanlar: Is your school meeting its FM PPM & statutory compliance requirements?

What is PPM? 

Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM) is regular and routinely performed maintenance on physical assets, to reduce the chances of potentially serious and expensive equipment failure and unplanned equipment downtime. 

It is to manage and extend the lifecycle of equipment, but is also a compliance requirement to satisfy statutory and legal obligations. The work should be scheduled in advance and can range from weekly to annually, depending on equipment and risk.

Failure to deliver compliance can result in service delivery failures, which whilst not as severe as legal failures, it can impact on the operation of your facilities, your core business and cause reputational damage.

Why is preventive maintenance important?

It is important because it keeps equipment and assets running efficiently, and it maintains a high safety level, which helps to avoid large and costly repairs, as well as service downtime. 

A properly functioning preventive maintenance program ensures operational disruptions are kept to a minimum.

Specific examples of preventive maintenance include regular inspections of your heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems (HVAC) ensuring they are properly cleaned and repaired and that your water hygiene and electrical systems are also functioning within safety and compliance levels.

How can Facilities Management help?

We can provide the relevant PPM services through our experienced contractors that will deliver a professional planned maintenance function across your school portfolio.

Here are just a few examples of PPM services available to you through Facilities Management:

  • Boiler servicing
  • Lift servicing & repairs 
  • Electrical Fixed Wire Testing
  • Mansafe systems
  • Legionella Risk Assessments
  • Water Hygiene inspections
  • Flushing of infrequent used Water
  • Water Temp. monitoring
  • Fire Detection & alarm servicing 
  • Fire Extinguisher servicing 
  • PAT Testing services
  • Commercial Kitchen equipment servicing
  • Air Con Servicing

Facilities Management (FM) are now offering our services for your Planned Maintenance 2022/2023 Compliance requirements.  To order and buy into this service, you can order or request a quote, before the end of March 2022, via the Smart School services portal.

If your school chooses not to use the Council FM service, you are still required to upload your certification documents to the councils Concerto CAFM system.

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Brilliant Learning Empowering Professionals Intelligent Operations

Michael Hallick: Lessons for the Future

Without warning, the Covid pandemic upended school life across the UK. Overnight, headteachers had to establish remote learning, absorb and implement an avalanche of guidelines and advice, while supporting students, parents and staff academically and emotionally. The scope of the crisis and the subsequent reopening have created distinct challenges, but also highlighted potential opportunities for whole school positive change.

The Future is Now

There is little doubt that the pandemic has stretched resources, accelerated trends and highlighted inequalities across the education sector. But while significant challenges remain, this is also a time of exciting opportunity as we learn the lessons from the largest disruption to education in living memory. 

As we step into the ‘new normal’, it is imperative that we allow room for analysis and reflection. To think about the bigger picture. Where joined-up collaborative ideas help to connect a wide range of tailored services to benefit all aspects of a school’s ecosystem.

That takes time.

And we understand that time is a precious resource. Schedules are unforgiving and workloads unrelenting. 

It is the main reason behind publishing Lessons for the Future – to start a discourse – to show that if we all collaborate to create and implement best practice, we can alleviate pressure on teaching professionals while realising the best future for schools.

A future, for example, where technology not only supports learning, but helps to realistically reduce workload, increases operational efficiencies, engages students and communities, and provides tools to support excellent teaching, monitors attendance and raises student attainment. In short, creating a smart school.

We hope you find value in Lessons for the Future. We hope it inspires ideas and sparks debate. That it opens a discussion on what is positive and achievable as we pivot to realise the opportunities of post-pandemic education. And we would like to be part of that discussion. 

Michael Hallick
Assistant Director – Business and Resources
Wandsworth Council

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Intelligent Operations

Smarter Buying

There has never been a time in recent memory where so many critical decisions around school operations have had to be made with such short notice. 

Now is the time to take stock and breathe. But it is also the time to evaluate and embrace new, smarter ways of doing things.

That begins with designing intelligent operations that seamlessly handle systems, management and contracts – creating genuine partnerships between schools and outstanding suppliers, while freeing school leaders to spend more time focusing on school life.

Smarter Buying

In procuring a wide range of goods and services in often complex marketplaces, schools can face higher costs than they need to, spending money which could be better spent on providing high quality teaching and achieving better educational outcomes for their pupils. We need to help schools overcome these procurement challenges. 

The rising costs of materials, resource shortages and driver shortfalls hindering the supply chain are just some of the macro issues presently affecting non-staff expenditure. Schools do not typically have specialist procurement skills available in-house. This can make efficiency savings to help manage these ongoing financial pressures, while continuing to improve standards for their pupils, difficult for schools. 

In the future, we need to think differently about the way we approach procurement. Supporting schools to look locally, developing a sharing economy across school network or creating strong relationships directly with suppliers can realise tangible cost savings. From catering services to site cleaning, schools need to re-evalute the way in which they contract suppliers to ensure they are getting the smartest value for money. 



PAYG Procurement Advice

Procurement of key services is not an everyday task, which is why Smart School’s Central Procurement Team offer their services on a per day basis. Advice, support and guidance during the planning, implementation and awarding stages from professionally qualified individuals ensures your procurement process is more robust. The procurement team can also help with the on-going management of procurement activities.

 


Zero Carbon 

Reviewing which suppliers schools contract is one of the services provided by Smart School’s Facilities Management team, and is one of many ways they are helping schools reduce their carbon footprint – an increasing priority at both a local and national policy level. The team are also helping schools to prepare funding applications for de-carbonisation projects and to carry out energy audits.

 


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Intelligent Operations

A Head for Business

There has never been a time in recent memory where so many critical decisions around school operations have had to be made with such short notice. 

Now is the time to take stock and breathe. But it is also the time to evaluate and embrace new, smarter ways of doing things.

That begins with designing intelligent operations that seamlessly handle systems, management and contracts – creating genuine partnerships between schools and outstanding suppliers, while freeing school leaders to spend more time focusing on school life.

A Head for Business 

How do you manage a school through a pandemic? The extra burden of responsibility and risk that comes with Covid: making decisions about safety; bereavements; weekly new school policy announcements from the government; e-learning; providing support, reassurance and answers to staff, students and parents. Now add to that, the usual tasks associated with running a school. 

Headteachers have been under an enormous amount of pressure. Reacting to an acute problem has meant that portions of their structured planning and spend have had to be reassigned to ‘fight fires’. In some instances, this has led to a budget deficit with the unpleasant choices and cuts that inevitably come with it. 

The need for business model innovation is increasingly evident as expenditure comes under increased pressure. Effectively addressing the financial management needed to meet the needs of facilities, payroll, health and safety and emergency planning is key to each school’s future financial health. There is a growing recognition that education is not just a public service, it’s a business. If we get it right, schools can alleviate pressure on key staff while still providing the best possible education. And that makes sound business sense.



Tailored Reports for Governors

Smart School’s Financial Management Service brings the expertise of financial advisers into the heart of every school. One of top requested elements of their service is producing financial reports for governors tailored to their needs. It’s a time efficient service that is able to crunch data and present it in a format that answers the questions governors are asking, allowing Senior Management to focus on the narrative.

 


Business Continuity Plan

The pandemic has brought the role of Smart School’s Emergency Planning Service into the spotlight, highlighting how the decisions we make to mitigate impacts are increasingly reviewed and critiqued. Combined with Smart School’s Health & Safety service, a Business Continuity Plan mitigates risks identified and gives Senior Management confidence in their ability to respond to an incident in a formal, planned and tested way. More than complying with regulatory standards, a well-developed plan builds trust with parents and governors. 

 


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Intelligent Operations

Digital Acceleration

There has never been a time in recent memory where so many critical decisions around school operations have had to be made with such short notice. 

Now is the time to take stock and breathe. But it is also the time to evaluate and embrace new, smarter ways of doing things.

That begins with designing intelligent operations that seamlessly handle systems, management and contracts – creating genuine partnerships between schools and outstanding suppliers, while freeing school leaders to spend more time focusing on school life.

Digital Acceleration

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation across the education sector. Enforced remote learning had a profound impact on pupils, teachers and schools, with the significant increase of e-learning, with teaching undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. 

While there is certainly no substitute for a great teacher, technology can be an effective tool to help reduce workload, increase efficiencies, engage students and communities, and provide tools to support excellent teaching and raise student attainment. 

As we strive to realise a tech-enabled future where the learning experience is enhanced for all, there are key issues that need to be addressed. A technology action plan needs to be put in place – ensuring teaching staff are given the correct support and training, the systems built are secure from attack, cost-effective cloud resources are implemented effectively and the best-in-class hardware and software is procured. 

Technology gives us the opportunity to reshape the way we teach, monitor, budget and assess all of our activities. But it is crucial that the actions we implement are far-reaching, sustainable and safe.



Cybersecurity

Secure technical infrastructure is an absolute must for schools with rising attacks increasingly targeting educational establishments. Smart School’s IT Service offers a Vulnerability Assessment for schools, linked in with the Data Protection Officer service, to help schools protect themselves against attacks. The team also work with schools to plan IT infrastructure, physical and online, as well as major updates like Windows OS to ensure it is safe and suitable for each individual school.

 


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Intelligent Operations

Sarah Dennis: Sharing health and safety information with your team

Making staff aware of health and safety issues can be a chore. Many people can’t spare the time to read safety information in their normal busy day and spare time can be scarce. There are many essential pieces of information which staff must know to work safely to protect themselves, colleagues and pupils.

Placing posters – safety posters can be an excellent tool for emphasizing key safety messages. Placement is vital. Most staff do not have time to stand around, but short messages can be displayed in key places of high traffic areas like bathrooms, breakrooms and near entrances or exit to staff areas. 

  • Simple graphics and short text information placed behind a toilet door allows staff to see the information when they are less distracted. 
  • Another unique way to attract attention is to place all or part of a poster upside down as it may intrigue staff to stop and read the information. Remember to rotate and move information so it doesn’t fade into the background.

Staff briefings – it can be helpful to include a key safety message in regular team meetings or email communications and memos.

Induction – Health and Safety Induction is essential for each employee and it is important that staff have access to information to remind them of the health and safety requirements in the workplace. Providing a health and safety booklet or links to health and safety policies online, will mean your staff can review the information again and again.

Celebrate safety – there are many documented national and international safety and health awareness dates which could be recognised by your teams and pupils throughout the year, to keep health and safety at the forefront of minds. Some examples below;

  • World Safety and Health Day – 28th April 2022
  • Sun Awareness Week – 6th-13th May 2022
  • National Mental Health – 13th-20th May 2022
  • World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2022
  • Back Care Awareness Week – 5th-9th October 2022
  • National Stress Awareness Day – 4th November 2021

Risk Assessment

What is risk assessment?

Risk assessment is the process of evaluating risks to employees’ health and safety from workplace hazards. It is a systematic examination of all aspects of work that considers:

  • what could cause injury or harm;
  • whether the hazards could be eliminated and, if not;
  • what preventive or protective measures are, or should be, in place to control the risks.

Who should carry out risk assessments?

Anyone can carry out risk assessments if they have the knowledge to do so. It is often beneficial to attend a training session to ensure the risk assessment is being carried out correctly and that the risk rating is appropriate. 

How should risk assessment be carried out?

There are 5 steps to a risk assessment:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who could be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risk and existing control measures
  4. Record findings
  5. Review

You should walk around the area you are risk assessing and speak to those in the area to help gain a clear picture of the hazards that may be present. 

What should I risk assess?

There should be a risk assessment in place for:

  • All general site areas e.g.
    • Corridors
    • Classrooms
    • Offices
    • Playground
    • School Hall
  • Site activities e.g.
    • School trips (see policy for additional information)
    • Premises officer duties
    • Working at height
    • Manual handling
    • Lone Working
  • Specific e.g.
    • Hazardous Substances (COSHH)
    • Workstation Assessment (DSE)
    • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)
    • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment (LOLER)
    • Stress
    • New/Expectant Mothers
    • Fire (Often carried out by H&S team)

When should a risk assessment be reviewed?

All risk assessments should be reviewed on an annual basis, or following any major changes, e.g.

  • where a significant change has been made to the building or process;
    • where there is reason to believe that the risk assessment is no longer valid;
    • following an investigation of an accident; and
    • where required as a result of an inspection or audit.

Are there resources available to help?

Yes, the Council has a Risk Assessment policy that can be found on Services for Schools that provides detailed information and offers examples. Templates can also be found under the H&S pages for subscribed schools.

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Ali Malvern: Assessing risk and emergency response

Our response to Covid-19 has taught us a lot about what is needed when assessing risk and planning emergency response. I certainly wouldn’t have expected any incident to result in 18 months of response, with recovery to follow! This pandemic has brought attention to the Emergency Planning profession and highlights how the decisions we make to mitigate impacts are increasingly reviewed and critiqued. As such, we’re always looking to learn and improve the way we do things. 

Setting up Covid testing sites across the boroughs saw us arranging deliveries and cleaning of portaloos, and while not something I’d ever expected to spend so long working on (and hope not to again!) it does remind me how wide-ranging a day at work can be and the importance of being prepared for whatever gets thrown our way. The experience we’ve all had since March 2020 will inform many changes, and schools particularly have an important role to play in both protecting children when an incident occurs, as much as educating them in the importance of emergencies and being resilient. 

I think there’s an easy emphasis placed on the impact of disasters, rather than the easy and small steps we can all take to best prepare ourselves. 

Smart School Services

Emergency Planning is keen to support schools in developing and exercising their business continuity and emergency incident capabilities. 

If you would like to know more about our Emergency Planning services, please book a meeting with us to discuss your needs.

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Murat Boyayanlar: Challenge of Facilities Management during the pandemic

The Covid 19 lockdown forced the closure of most of our property portfolio, reducing the need for all but essential maintenance across our sites. We had to adapt our service as lockdown progressed so our FM teams and contractors were tasked with making our core sites covid secure, whilst striving to maintain our pre planned maintenance schedules. Supporting the urgent need within the community for Covid19 testing, we set up Covid LFT test centres, and supported mobile testing units at Wandsworth, by providing the staff to run the sites.

As we are now beginning to open up and get back to some form of normality, we are faced with new challenges ahead.

The construction leadership council has recently warned that cement, some electrical components, timber, steel, and paints are all in short supply, citing “unprecedented levels of demand” that are set to continue “for the foreseeable future”. The present material supply problems stem from several factors, the most notable being that construction industry projects have surged since lockdown began easing, leading to high demand for materials. 

Furthermore, with demand increasing across the globe and the UK importing many of its raw materials, not only is demand outstripping supply but prices of materials are also rising. The ONS is projecting a rise in material prices, with certain materials, such as timber, expected to more than double during the year.

Smart School Services

Facilities Management Services advise that schools plan for the short, medium, and long term.

This is where our primary focus is on ensuring compliance and not profit making, as we strive to ensure best value. We are dedicated to supporting the schools manage their Reactive, Planned, Preventative, & Remedial Maintenance works.

Sustainability, reducing energy consumption, and becoming net zero carbon by 2030, is at the forefront of the Councils agenda. We can assist schools by offering advice and information about energy management and sustainable options to reduce carbon emissions. 

We have planned major projects towards achieving net zero carbon in our operational buildings, and we are carrying out energy audits in schools. Our team can also help with funding applications for de-carbonisation projects.

If you would like to know more about our FM Services, please book a Head to Head meeting.

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