Education Cleaning

Education Cleaning – Good practice guidance for the cleaning of schools and education premises

The Simply Cleaning team has extensive experience of working with education from primary schools, secondary schools, academies right through to universities and adult learning facilities.

All Simply Cleaning staff who work on school premises and education environments are subject to Advanced CRB checks, and we only use cleaning operatives with previous experience of working in the education sector. The health and safety of students, staff and the general public is of paramount importance. Our cleaning operatives will always ensure that all cleaning products and equipment are safely locked away at the end of each day.

What can you expect when you work with Simply Cleaning?

All our Simply Cleaning operatives will wear a uniform and a security badge at all times whilst on site, to ensure they are easily identifiable as a member of the Simply Cleaning team.   All cleaning staff are CRB checked. All cleaning staff are trained in Health and Safety and customer care.

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Why is cleaning in your school important?

As with all public buildings, the first impression in schools can make all the difference. The ultimate aim of a cleaning contract, then, is not just to ‘get the job done at the lowest cost possible’ but to:

  • attract and retain the best staff
  • encourage all building users to strive for high standards
  • attract students
  • encourage all building users to have more respect for school buildings and facilities
  • facilitate teaching and learning in optimal conditions

Regular cleaning and deep cleaning by a cleaning company like Simply Cleaning can prolong life expectancy of elements, eg vacuum cleaning carpets regularly removes potential abrasive dirt, which can shorten their expected life expectancy. Cleaning is needed for health and safety compliance, particularly in catering and welfare areas. This is to meet the needs of the COSHH, thereby passing inspections of the Environmental Health inspector and to control bacterial contamination in catering areas, reducing the risk of food poisoning.

What cleaning procurement options are available?

There are two options open to cleaning procurement in educational premises:

  • Directly employed in-house cleaning resource
  • External cleaning contractor

Currently, in education, the split is about 50/50.      

What are the advantages of each method? In-house cleaners:

  • Greater management control
  • Pose a lower security risk
  • Vary cleaning requirements with minimal or no consequence cost increase
  • Good relationships can be formed, which increases reliability
  • Opportunity to build links within local community
  • More flexibility
  • Can be cheaper

Simply Cleaning your external contractor:

  • We can provide more available labour
  • Window cleaning and carpet cleaning of your premises
  • Availability of experienced and trained staff
  • Better cover for holidays and illness
  • More specialist knowledge
  • Available specialist equipment and cleaning machines
  • More access to the latest equipment innovations
  • Risk is transferred and covered by Simply Cleaning insurance
  • Increased buying power for equipment and consumables
  • Other services may be on offer, including personal hygiene, waste management etc.
  • Cost savings for other services
  • Less time consuming than managing individual staff
  • Simply Cleaning, will provide cleaning specifications and agreements

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Whether you source cleaning in-house or externally, there is a straightforward logic in setting cleaning specifications and required service level agreements (SLAs).  You must say what you want and then state the acceptable level of performance, or what the standard to be achieved is.

Cleaning service specifications and SLAs are formal documents that should set out the following:

Your School’s expectation of the quality, performance and value of the cleaning service to be provided, in a clear and plain manner. Minimum acceptable standards of the service and your requirements that have to be achieved. Output or performance oriented measures, concentrating on what is to be provided rather than how.

Agreements between your school and Simply Cleaning for providing a range of cleaning target service levels.

Types of specification you may come across: A cleaning specification can be defined as a service specification, which is a document that quantifies the minimum acceptable standard of service required by your school and will generally form part of the contract with Simply Cleaning.

Input Specification – This defines the procedures, frequency and methods to be used during the cleaning process, often with requirements for standards of compliance at each stage.  It is more prescriptive than an output specification and typically details the exact materials, methods, labour requirements and cleaning products to be used.

Output Specification – This focuses on the desired result you would like Simply Cleaning to achieve.  There is maximal flexibility, as Simply Cleaning will bring their our own expertise to achieve the required objectives within a set timeframe In either specification type, it is important for you to include details of a monitoring procedure and review process, to ensure the end result is achieved. It is important to consult with your staff and particularly those responsible for more sensitive areas such as laboratories and home economics rooms, to ensure the specification caters for their needs.

Simply Cleaning TIP – Since the perception of what is clean and of an acceptable standard varies from person to person, it is worth considering preparing a document with a photographic schedule detailing the required standard of cleaning in each individual area. It is important to agree the standard at the start of your contract or even at a tender stage. Over the last 20 years there has been a move away from the prescriptive approach, towards a more results-led culture.  Whereas the prescriptive approach can stifle a cleaning contractor’s ability to use new technology, the output based approach does not.  Cleaning contractors engaged on a results orientated basis have been able to embrace the advances in cleaning technology, chemicals and methods that made cleaning more effective and efficient. The input specification approach has benefits, especially when you do not know the cleaning contractor and you want to ensure they perform to the required standard at the beginning. You may want to agree to a ‘probationary’ period where they have to follow an initial prescriptive approach.  At the end of the period they can be given more freedom to bring their own ideas and technology forward.

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The Cleaning Tender Process:

When you have decided to go down the route of engaging an external contractor to do your cleaning, it is good practice to follow a competitive tendering route, to ensure value for money. Start With Drafting a Cleaning Specification In the same way you would plan a building project, you start by defining the scope of work or specification of cleaning requirements.  You may include some or all of the areas detailed below:

Building Plans – It is good practice to start with obtaining a set of up-to-date building plans that identify every room and area within the school site. Each room could be labelled or numbered on a plan, which would then be referenced in a specification document, or even colour coded and referenced to a specification or key in the drawing.

Routine Cleaning Specification – The school needs to agree what areas will be cleaned on a daily basis. Typically, this will include office areas, staff rooms, entrance halls, corridors, canteen/dining areas, the library and some classrooms.

Typical cleaning methods found in such specifications include:

  • vacuum cleaning carpets and soft flooring
  • sweeping, mopping and buffing hard floors
  • dust/damp wipe horizontal and vertical surfaces to an agreed height
  • emptying waste bins and replacing bin liners
  • replenishment of toilet and shower area consumables, such as soap and paper towels

General clauses – General standards required throughout the contract area should be as set out in the British Standards Institute (BSI) – ‘Uniform Cleaning Surface Standard’ document.  The document sets out methodology on how to agree a standard of cleanliness between the cleaning contractor and employee, i.e. school, by defining what is meant by words such as ‘clean, unclean, foreign, undesirable, hygienic, blemishes, etc.’

Specification for Periodic Cleaning Tasks – Your school may adopt a more prescriptive approach for periodic cleaning by including input specification clauses.  For example, with the heavy use of showers in the PE departments, it is good practice to do a deep clean every 3 months, to prevent the spread of any bacteria that may build up in the shower areas and also to comply with the requirement to obviate the risk of legionella within shower heads by sterilising them bi-annually.

Feminine Hygiene Services – Clauses may set out the need to provide a set number of sanitary vending units within the girls and female staff toilet areas and also set out a required minimum service frequency.  This visit may be combined with the removal and replacement of sanitary waste disposal bins.

Waste Disposal and Recycling – Clauses may set out the need to provide wheelable bins or skips, specifically for kitchen waste and general waste and recycling stations around the school.  The clause may also specify the need to ensure that they should never become full and may also require them to be locked at night to prevent vandals setting fire to them.  Ask to be provided with details of the recycling facility where the waste is to be taken and to be provided with the waste transfer notes.  These may be needed as part of an Ofsted inspection.

Management of the Contract – Three aspects should be covered:

  • off-site supervision and the contractor’s senior management input
  • on-site supervision
  • agreed minimum staff turnover rates

Monitoring – A monitoring clause should set-out whether monitoring of cleaning will be either by the school checking on a daily basis or by transferring the onus on to the contractor.  It is good practice to hold monthly monitoring assessments, which may include:

  • staffing performance and turnover ratios
  • invoicing within agreed periods and accuracy
  • user complaints via complaint forms
  • health, hygiene and safety compliance and issues/accidents
  • number of user request forms submitted due to cleaning failure
  • toilet areas cleaned before specific times, consumables replenished
  • spot cleaning carried out within a pre-agreed time frame
  • The clause should also stipulate the need for attendance at regular review meetings.

For a reliable education cleaning company, get in touch with Simply Cleaning. Simply cleaning can carry out a one-off deep clean or regular scheduled contract cleaning on a daily, weekly or monthly basis built around the individual needs of your educational environment

Call our cleaning team on: 01454 260600

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