Cleaning of schools has been in the news recently in the UK, as budgets are cut and newspaper reports suggest cleaning is being carried out by teaching staff in some cases.
Is there really is such a lack of knowledge and awareness around the importance of a clean and healthy school environment - it’s time for cleaning sector professionals to speak out. Contract cleaning businesses serve many schools in the area where we operates in the south east of England.
Lack of investment in a proper cleaning regime – carried out by motivated, trained staff - leads to under-performance on so many levels. And there are so many negative issues around teachers taking responsibility for cleaning duties, they are not trained, they are demotivated by having to do the cleaning at all and last but not least, the school has a duty of care to its staff and pupils.
If staff carrying out cleaning duties are not trained properly in infection control, for example, there could be serious consequences.
Cleaning is also a massive contributor to safety in schools. All Thames Valley Cleaning staff are trained in ‘safeguarding’ for example. ‘Safeguarding’ is defined as: protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Our cleaning staff are often around the school buildings when pupils are present and they are trained to spot when something is not quite right with a child, or a child may even approach them to share a concern they have. That is an invaluable support role.
Any cleaning operatives working specifically in schools must be fit for employment in that environment. The actual building is just part of that story, the focus is on the end user, the client, and the pupils of the school. And it’s just not an option for the job not to be done properly in my view.
And today’s schools no longer operate simply within traditional school hours. They are often community hubs, hosting after-school clubs and other evening activities. There is much scope for infection control requirement, and containment is essential.
One of the most important elements in our business is communication - letting our clients know what is going on and what we’re doing at all times. We also have meticulous monitoring – if we have a two-hour shift, for example, how can we make most productive use of that time? And we have a very detailed schedule of tasks.
We know budgets are tight so we try not to waste time, with cleaners walking long distance for instance. And certain tasks do not need to be done every day – all contracts are tailored according to the nature of the buildings and the number of pupils.
Within the schools environment, cleaning and hygiene is not simply a tick-box – we understand that budgets are often a challenging issue. All of our contracts are bespoke according to services required and budget available. We have to be realistic and offer the best service with the budget we have.
Sometimes we do have to strip back and alter the service provision but we are always honest about what we can offer. Often, budgets are quite low but we can give the maximum service for that budget. - with the overall objective to improve standards.
The expertise of a well-trained cleaning operative in carrying out their day-to-day role also cannot be underestimated. Cleaners know why they do what they do, we go into a lot of detail with cleaning around risk areas, and we prioritise those high-risk areas. The consequences of not cleaning properly are very serious and it must be carried out by skilled professionals - depth of knowledge around infection control is vital too.
If you would like to know more about our School Cleaning Services please get in contact today