Ensuring productivity in schools, as well as understanding the factors which might weave into achieving greater productivity, has long been a focus for educational establishments. But you might be surprised just how vital an effective cleaning programme can be. Bill Farley, Head of Cleaning Services at Vertas explores the many ways that a clean school can help to maximise productivity.
Cleanliness is key for colleagues and students alike. Studies have shown that both colleagues and students in clean schools perform better . From academic results to engagement and attendance, the importance of a clean teaching and learning environment cannot be underestimated.
For colleagues this could be as a result of not having to spend valuable time cleaning their work area. Instead they can focus on delivering quality learning opportunities. For students it means that they can come into school and focus on their work, not get distracted by unclean facilities, or pick up bugs that might result in them being unable to attend school.
In addition to this, a clean school can lead to a greater sense of school pride, encouraging good habits and ensuring that students become active participants in keeping their environment clean and tidy.
At Vertas we find that school colleagues, stakeholders and pupils are highly invested in the cleanliness of their schools. In fact, it can become a focal point as they want to understand the processes, how they can be improved, made more efficient and safeguard health.
Asthma UK estimates that up to 1.1m children suffer with asthma. Research has revealed that poor air quality can be an invisible killer for those suffering with Asthma and that some cleaning products can be significant contributors to poor air quality.
Schools can protect both colleagues and students from these risks by opting for eco cleaning alternatives. Or by ensuring that cleaning is carried out by FM professionals who understand which products to use at which dilution and how often to ensure best air quality can be safeguarded. Schools may wish to go even further and opt for chemical free cleaning to keep air quality as high as possible. This approach will both minimise disruption to education caused by flaring up any pre-existing conditions and limit the spread of any bugs in a school setting.
By engaging a FM expert, schools can benefit from years of industry knowledge and expertise in how to effectively manage cleaning schedules, product use and maximise student and colleague well-being.
An effectively planned FM strategy will provide schools with excellent levels of cleanliness, but also adapt to their needs. In recent times this has meant moving to more regular cleans of high contact areas. For example cleaning handles during lunch periods when students are outside, or cleaning bathrooms whilst students are in lesson, as well as usual cleaning before or after the school day.
However, there is no need to compromise on the eco credentials of your cleaning products. Many manufacturers now produce cleaning products that use little to no chemical ingredients and are certified effective against bacteria and viruses.
In many instances eco products can also be more cost effective. Small product sizes reduce transportation costs and, in the case of chemical free cleaning, costs are mostly associated with the units creating the solutions and the time and expertise of cleaning operatives.
FM providers should also be extremely willing to get involved with school strategies. From student forums to PTA meetings, eco cleaning methods can be a great way to open dialogue with whole school communities about meeting the growing need for environmentally sound protocols. It can be an area in which the school can drive engagement and create shared objectives and partnerships.
The cleanliness of a school can create impact in multiple aspects of a child’s educational experience. Having an effective cleaning programme in place ensures that every pupil can reach their full potential and strive for a successful future.