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Remove building maintenance budgets from Headteachers and return to Buildings Management within Councils

Comment 5th July 2010

School Buildings Maintenance Budgets should be managed by those qualified in Buildings maintenance management and purchasing of services,  it should not be within the Headteachers and their employees remit.  Not saying Headteachers are not capable, they have had to try to be, but they didn't go to University all that time ago to learn how to actually manage the building, the site team, the cleaners, the health and safety, the contractors etc etc.

Why else now do we have school buildings fallen into massive disrepair from a maintenance and health and safety point of view and in need of being knocked down and replaced with new buildings under PFI contracts that in the longterm are going to cost the earth and not employ local population or businesses to continue to maintain them in future?

Headteachers are trained teachers and their priority is teaching.  Not entirely interested whether there are enough fire extinguishers, the boiler is serviced, the water system is annually checked for legionella, that the Science, CDT department or Home Economy department is using safe equipment and practices or whether the exterior of the building is collapsing and decaying around them.  They would argue that the budgets they receive from councils do not provide enough to go around but they want and need high class teachers in high class classrooms with the best technology – doesn't matter if the roof tiles are falling down around the ceiling mounted projector! – doesn't matter if the windows are going to fall out!  they have to meet educational targets quite rightly.  We used to have the most envied educational standards in the world.

Head Teachers have been lead to believe for the past years that they are going to get new PFI schools with others managing the facilities for them and  (if were even before) haven't been spending their buildings maintenance allowance budget on buildings maintenance but on other things more in line with meeting their educational targets (understandably so as that's how they get their annual bonuses and pay increments)!

PFI's are not the answer, the council's own buildings/asset management should take back responsibility for those council owned buildings and be given the budget to maintain them correctly and gain the economies of scale through whole area buildings maintenance contracts, also ensuring that local businesses don't completely fold due to the onslaught of PFI maintenance contracts that don't use local companies!  And they have the thorough Health and Safety expertise needed.

 

 

 

Why does this matter?

It is important to take the burden of buildings maintenance and management away from Headteachers :

  • So that they can concentrate upon staffing, training and providing pupils with better standards of education
  • Reduce the stress placed upon Headteachers and Teachers
  • Reduce the number of individual equally qualified persons (Facilities Managers , Site personnel) each and every school employs and replicates in each school to carry out these duties
  • Reduce the overall wages bill per school, including the Headteachers as would be removing a responsibility from them
  • It would provide huge economies of scale trough purchasing and contracting for the costs of maintenance and health and safety in schools
  • It would provide huge economies of scale in training each individual schools site/facilities management staff as could have a central pool of staff again
  • It would prolong the viability and safety of school buildings
  • Truly qualified professionals would ensure correct buildings maintenance and safety were carried out
  • It would save a fortune in paying ridiculous PFI Facilities Management repair or amendments costs

 

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