The summer holidays are the prime opportunity for a school’s maintenance team to get to work and get it looking its best before the new intake in September, and time is running out if you want to do all the necessary work in time without having all the pupils around. It’s far easier for everyone to get all the work done in this time period, and it won’t inconvenience anyone, so if you’re going to be making any changes to your school, do it now while you still have time.
If your classroom furniture is looking a little old and tired, replace it with some brand new desks, chairs and storage units for a more modern feel in the classroom. It can have a strong psychological impact for children and teenagers to work in a place that looks like it takes education seriously, so you could find that behavior improves and focus is boosted when pupils walk into a learning environment that looks the part.
It’s best to keep your displays current, so replace backing paper on wall displays and get them ready for the new topics you will be covering. This keeps everything looking fresh and means you can show off the best work of the new students as well as giving everyone in other year groups the chance to see their own work on display at some point.
Presumably at the start of the summer holidays the school was thoroughly cleaned, but remember that teachers may be popping in over the summer to prepare resources and get their classrooms ready. This could mean that there is a little mess that is left over that needs to be sorted out before the children return, so make sure your cleaning team are able to check the school over once more the week before everyone returns or on an inset day.
It might also be a good idea to ask a health and safety expert to come along and check everything over. There are lots of things that can go wrong in a school, and if you’re not an expert yourself it can be reassuring to be given the all-clear from someone who knows what to look out for, even if you’re not due for a check yet. It is better to be safe than sorry, especially where children are concerned, and it’s best to know if your wiring needs sorting before everyone returns and children could be placed in danger.
Stacey Arnold is the caretaker for an inner London primary school and offers her advice on essential maintenance and upkeep