Prioritising premises requests


I’m going to share how we prioritise premises development requests and maintenance requests at my school. I’m not convinced we have the right answer and am keen to hear from colleagues on what you do or if you have any suggestions for improving our framework.

We use four different weighted factors to assign an overall score. These factors are:

  • Health and safety impact of the proposed action
  • Impact of the proposed action on pupil outcomes (inc. addressing inclusion issues)
  • Whether the issue represents an opportunity to invest-to-save; for example installing LED lighting to cut running costs or installing double glazing to reduce heating costs
  • Any aesthetic appeal and/or impact on the school ethos of failing to address the issue.

Within each factor are a number of criterion descriptors and points values, with the highest points score equating to the item(s) with the greatest impact needed/achievable for the anticipated cost of carrying out the works to that item(s). These are reproduced below.

The factors are weighted to give greater priority to health and safety issues and to those items that will have a direct impact on pupil outcomes for the greatest number of pupils. It works like this:

Weighted factor overall score

Our formula cubes the health and safety score and squares the pupil outcomes score, multiplying these to scores together before adding the invest to save and aesthetic scores.

The outcome deliberately pushes H&S and Pupil Outcome items to the top of resulting priority list.

I’m really interested to hear what you think of this system. Pick two or three items that needs doing at your school and assign scores to the factors using the table below. Then run the scores through our formula – which item ended up with the highest overall score? In our school, that would be what we tackled first and where we assigned our limited funding.

Prioritisation criteria

4 level marked criteria for determining overall premises priority score
Health and safety issues4Significant health and safety issue. Large number of people potentially affected/at risk or very serious health risk to small number of specific individuals
3Risk of semi-permanent health impact for small number of people or non-lasting impact on a large number of people
2Risk of non-lasting health impact for small number of people
1Minor risk or a ‘comfort’ issue
0Not a factor
Impact on pupil outcomes (inc. addressing inclusion issues)4Represents a chance to significantly enhance provision for significant number of pupils
3Significant detrimental impact on majority of pupils in the school
2Affects the majority of pupils in a minor way
1Affects a minority of pupils
0Not a factor
Investing to save (includes preventative work to avoid greater repair expense in future)4Significant ongoing savings in operating and maintenance costs achievable through this investment within the next five years
3Significant savings in operating and maintenance costs achievable over the life of this asset
2Reduction in maintenance or operating costs
1Small reduction in maintenance costs
0Not a factor
Aesthetic appeal/ school ethos4Significantly undermines the ability of the school to deliver educational environment in keeping with our ethos
3Represents unacceptable reputational risk to the school
2Fair wear and tear – ideally addressed as part of routine maintenance cycle
1Cosmetic issue with only minor impact on environment or an issue of ‘taste’
0Not a factor

Please note that the table above is a working document – it was never intended to cover each and every possible premises / maintenance request school leaders and governors might have to evaluate.

We have found that, when we are uncertain how to score a particular request in the face of our somewhat vague table, looking at the scores we have already assigned to other requests helps. Picking other requests and then rank ordering in order of priority and seeing where the new request fits in usually results in an acceptable consensus across our staff.

For a different take on managing premises challenges as an SBM, take a look at this post from Hilary Goldsmith on why PFI contracts might not be all bad news…