Cippenham Infant and Primary Schools
“I have complete confidence in SMS and their engineers, and never worry about asking for advice or help. With their support and services, I get the best from our mixed age heating and cooling systems. Efficient management of the business function and facilities frees up our senior academy team to focus on the learning.”
Ruth Mainwairing – Premises Manage
Gold Rose Multi Academy Trust
SMS top of the class when it comes to maintenance
Like many schools across the country, Cippenham Infant and Primary Schools are housed in buildings which date back to the 1930s, when both education and facilities management were both very different. The two schools, which together have a combined pupil capacity of 1,110 are now managed under the auspices of the Gold Rose Multi Academy Trust (MAT) and both have been fortunate to have received some investment in refurbishment and new build extensions in the last 25 years. These include new teaching blocks, a school, canteen and various extensions and refurbishments. The schools achieved academy status in 2012 and since then the Trust has had sole responsibility for the running and maintenance of all the buildings.
Ruth Mainwaring, Premises Manager, at Gold Rose MAT, explains more; ” I started working with Southern Maintenance Solutions (SMS) seven years ago when I joined the Trust, but their involvement with the schools goes back over 20 years. Initially they just serviced the boilers and dealt with any plumbing issues but the next step was for them to take on the servicing of the air conditioning units throughout both schools.”
“Whilst teaching and learning is the priority for any educational trust, ensuring that both staff and pupils are working and studying in a conducive and safe environment is a key consideration,” said Martyn Neves, Operations Manager, SMS. “In 2018 we were involved in the refurbishment of the Foundation stage classrooms, which at the time were being heated with a very inefficient, bottled gas, heater system. At the same time a building on the primary school site, which contained several, still serviceable A/C units, was being demolished. With careful planning, we were able to remove these units and reinstall them in the newly refurbished Foundation classrooms. Not only did this save the school money, but is has ensured a much better environment for early years learning.” Another project undertaken by SMS was the replacement of the Primary School’s boilers which was undertaken using Salix funding, the funding programme which is designed to help schools reduce energy costs through the installation of energy efficiency technologies.
With headteachers facing so many demands on their time and budgets, efficient and effective facilities management is a vital, but often unfamiliar area of their remit. Many, including Gold Rose MAT take the decision to give this aspect of school management to another member of the senior management team, who is then able to manage the day to day activity and respond to the inevitable unexpected incidents. “Some of our systems are old and over the years have developed all sorts of problems. I have complete confidence in SMS and their engineers, and never worry about asking for advice or help. With their support and services I am able to get the best from our mixed age heating and cooling systems. Efficient management of the business function and facilities frees up our senior academy team to focus on the learning;” said Ruth Mainwairing.
Next on the schedule for Martyn and his team is the refurbishment of the primary school washrooms, a project that once given the go-ahead, will take place during the 2019 summer holidays. So, borrowing from the world of academia its fair to say that currently SMS is getting an outstanding rating.
Southern Maintenance Solutions UK Ltd was founded 30 years ago and since then has established itself as one of the leading providers of commercial heating, cooling and air handling installation and maintenance services in South East England. It has had particular success in both the private and state education sectors, but also has long standing maintenance agreements with a range of commercial property managers for premises including various places of worship, modern gym facilities and office/manufacturing buildings.
In addition to its core activities, engineers at the company are also qualified to handle the installation and maintenance of a range of complimentary systems including electrical systems, water treatment, commercial kitchens and commercial pipework installation. The company recognises the need to invest in its staff and currently has three apprentices working towards industry recognised qualifications.