Interserve’s expertise helping schools reopen across the country

Interserve is supporting the educational sector to ensure pupils, staff and visitors remain safe as schools open to larger numbers of children as the COVID-19 restrictions ease.

The company provides best-in-class hard and soft facilities management (FM), maintenance and catering services to more than 150 schools across the country. Services range from cleaning through to catering, site pre-planned maintenance (PPM) and site compliance to make sure the ventilation, water, electrics and gas systems are all properly maintained.

Colleagues have been working hard to interpret the UK Government guidance and advise the schools and Local Authorities before implementing safe responses.

Interserve has provided total FM to four secondary schools as part of the Derby Schools Contract for 17-years and employs 90 colleagues on the contract. The company – via its catering firm Autograph – also supplies high-quality food to the schools. As with many schools across the country, they have all remained open for children of keyworkers and vulnerable children.

Robert Booth, Interserve Account Manager for the Derby Schools Contract, said: “We’ve drawn upon our experience to suggest ways to maintain the buildings and how to safely open them up to larger groups of children.

“We’ve carried out a great deal of risk assessments during this period and as Year 10 and Year 12 age groups return to school, we are working with our clients to create the safest possible environments.”

Richard Haigh, Interserve’s Account Manager for three secondary schools in Leeds, added: “We have an intimate knowledge of the buildings and have therefore designed one-way routes, installed hand sanitiser stations at entrances and exits and have provided advice about how classrooms can be set up to reflect the guidance.

“We supported schools as they moved almost overnight from being educational facilities to childcare centres, and now we are responding to the regular alterations in guidance we are getting from UK Government, Local Authorities and the schools’ governing bodies.

“We’ve advised on the planning of one-way systems and have installed signage and tape to put them into practice. We have also removed water fountains and other items that would clearly be hotspots for spreading the virus.”

Across Interserve’s contracts, cleaners have been working more day-time hours on site to ensure touch points – handles, railings and sensors – are cleaned regularly. Workforces have also been split into separate teams, so that if one colleague contracts or is exposed to COVID-19 then the other work team won’t be infected so that continuity of service is protected.

Karen Byrne, Business Manager, from Pudsey Grangefield School in Leeds, said: “At every stage, Mr Haigh has been instrumental in our planning for re-opening the school from a buildings, cleaning and catering perspective; as he was for the initial closure and setting up the site for vulnerable students and the children of key-workers.

“Interserve has been key in working with us to interpret UK Government guidance relevant to facilities management to ensure that we translate this into the day-to-day operation of the school. Mr Haigh’s expertise is trusted and valued by school.”

Andrew Knowles, Tupton Hall School Head Teacher in Derby, said: “Our partnership with Interserve has ensured that we keep risks to a minimum. Their advice and guidance has been valued and greatly appreciated.”