Facilities Management (6)
Here’s a picture of the original ICT suite, complete with rows of desktop computers and an obligatory interactive whiteboard at the front. The senior management team felt that the suite didn’t properly represent the school’s creative ethos, didn’t reflect our vision of learning, and wasn’t capable of delivering the future curriculum needs of our pupils.
So we started gathering ideas from pupils about what ‘future learning’ might look like and what they needed to make it happen. We asked staff about what they thought was needed to teach a future curriculum and did a lot of research! Most of the ideas pointed to a place that combined research, books, science, technology and computing. A place where several activities could happen at once - a science experiment, building a robot, finding out about asteroids or just reading a book. A ‘movable’ place where everything could be easily moved - technology, furniture and resources. A place large enough to teach a whole class, comfortable enough to learn with a small group and snug enough to learn in private.
I know that we were one of the lucky ones who avoided the cull of Building Schools for the Future because our building work had started and contracts signed. The next wave of Liverpool schools, who had worked so hard on their plans and buildings, were left bereft and cast covetous glances at we five schools who continued their build. They joined with the LA and local business men to attempt a rescue package and have, fingers crossed, united with a design and building company to re-build certain schools all with the same air-hangar infra-structure. And as this progresses, they are more and more looking for advice from our wave of schools to avoid the mistakes made: the stress and the anger; the feeling of the loss of independence and control; contracts signed because of emotional blackmail and brinkmanship. All of these so much a part of our collective experience.
When is a sign not just a sign? All of the time is the true answer. In the worst case, it can be a missed opportunity to attract new pupils or can make the school appear less than it is. The first thing that visitors, pupils, staff and local people see is the school frontage. An integral part of that is the signs which instantly create an image and perception of the school. Signage is an important part of your marketing and will help to attract new pupils and visitors alike as well as guiding and informing.
Signs can be large, small, shaped and a range of different colours and styles. Above all else, your signs should present the image that you want to promote to the outside world. They are almost as important as a school uniform in that respect and like a uniform, the style, design and presentation are also important. With modern technology now, the design and colours can match the school’s colours. Logos, no matter how complicated, can be easily added and production methods mean that now almost anything that can be printed can be included into the design of the signs.
Urban fox activity in London schools is on the increase. Problems occur when foxes start persistently fouling, urinating, damaging property and harbouring underneath classrooms or even in roof voids above classrooms.
The main risk of having fox activity around a school is the risk of disease transmission. As foxes are part of the dog family, they can harbour many contagious diseases. Most foxes will carry external parasites such as fleas and ticks; but the most common disease which foxes are most likely to transmit to man is Toxocariasis (Roundworm).
Unlike domestic pets, foxes are not routinely de-wormed or treated against parasites or immunised against disease. Toxocariasis is caused by a parasitic roundworm in the fox, namely Toxocara canis. Toxocara can cause blindness in young children.
Through my involvement with catering in the education sector over the last 20 years or so, I have seen many business cycles. In state schools we have gone from the service of a very limited, home cooked but highly subsidised offer; to very commercial burger, chips and fizzy drinks with little staff input and profit returns; then Jamie Oliver’s intervention causing mass panic; to today, with the emergence of a more common sense approach. Today’s pupils are very “High Street” and value wise, but after the last 5 or so years of health messages, they are also looking for “good” food. Whilst most caterers and School Business Managers have great common sense, trying to comply with the onerous School Food Standards seemed impossible and with the resulting stagnation in sales and free meal uptake, not entirely the right strategy either. Certainly, caterers needed to improve things; as a father of four, I would not be happy with my children being offered burger and chips every day, however, to dramatically move to the full implementation of the standards was, in my opinion, too far too fast.
Through our recent tendering work with many secondary schools we are seeing an on-going development of excellent and exciting food offered to pupils. At last, the range of dishes offered each day is reducing so that real chefs and customer focused service assistants have time to improve the freshness, quality, presentation and service of real stone baked pizzas, hand carved roasts with all the trimmings and fresh vegetables, made to order hot salads, freshly battered fish and chips, whole roasted chickens, a deli offering a range of breads and fillings, the aroma of a real Italian cappuccino and fresh fruit and smoothy bars... I could go on!
Before the days of the internet, suppliers provided customers with large printed catalogues targeted through print advertising and mailouts. Thankfully, those days are long gone (expensive and wasteful) and suppliers can access any market.
Traditional Conference furniture manufacturers can now supply quality furniture to Schools and Colleges at far lower prices than traditional education suppliers. Competition is the key, and traditional suppliers have been exploiting this lack of competition for decades.
Rather than opening the old catalogue, why not tap a few useful search terms into Google?