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To Outsource or not? Evaluating the best strategy for your school

Jun 4, 2018

Grounds presentation is a school’s key competing feature. Yet a common challenge among schools is the ability to find the time and capacity to consistently ensure the high standards of their grounds.


Why Grounds Maintenance Matters

Magnificent grounds and verdant sports fields all contribute towards reflecting a strong, well-rounded approach to education. These have the ability to influence potential families that a particular school is their school of choice.

But does a school have the time, or the expertise, to ensure their school grounds create a jaw-dropping first impression?

To yield the desired results for excellent grounds, gardens and sports fields, it may sometimes be necessary to outsource grounds maintenance.

However, before deciding if this decision will yield the best return on investment, it is useful to assess a school’s needs to be able to objectively work out if outsourcing is the best way forward.

10 Steps to Assessing Your Grounds:

1. Rate your current level of satisfaction, safety, presentation and quality of your grounds

2. Based on this assessment, do you believe this can be improved? (List any ideas and suggestions for improvement)

3. What are your current needs? (List all your needs and assets you currently have: number of garden beds, trees, ovals, bins, outdoor drinking fountains etc.)

4. How are your grounds currently supervised/managed?

5. What are your current physical maintenance capabilities?

6. How much is grounds maintenance costing you annually? How well are you able to clearly outline current and future spending on grounds maintenance?
(A useful way is to list your current equipment, tools, resources, and personnel and what they would cost to purchase and maintain each year.)

7. Who do you go to when a problem with your grounds arises? Are they able to solve your problem properly?

8. What systems are currently in place to track implementation, delivery and outcome?

9. Is there a forward planning to improve your grounds asset quality, rather than just maintain?

10. Do you believe it could be more effective and less taxing on current resources (both time and money-wise) to have someone else look after this on your behalf, even if it were to cost the same? (Perhaps it would free you to focus on other aspects of improving or growing your school?

The answer to Question 10 may help you decide if outsourcing can benefit you.

Some schools may find it useful to outsource all of their grounds maintenance, while others may see it necessary to just engage external expertise for the constant upkeep of their sporting fields. Yet others may want to just keep the gardens beautiful and the school free of litter. It’s also not uncommon to conclude that maintenance is fine, just the way it is.

You Should Objectively Assess:
  • The approach to maintenance against outcomes, both current and desired;
  • How satisfied you are with this currently; and
  • If this current approach can be sustained for an extended period over the long term.

The ability to balance resources and attention between ensuring excellent grounds and a well-functioning school is easier said than done. Sometimes, confirming how best to manage this just needs a simple conversation with people experienced in this.

Schools across the country have consulted Programmed to identify the most suitable, cost-effective and efficient way to manage their grounds maintenance. In working with them, Programmed has helped these schools to devise an approach most suited to their affordability and desired outcomes.

What’s best for your school? Why not start a conversation with Programmed today to see if you need a refined strategy for your school grounds.

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