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Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS)

Estate management in schools is multifaceted, involving the maintenance and improvement of buildings, grounds and facilities to create an optimal learning environment. It’s a strategic undertaking that requires a deep understanding of how space impacts learning and the importance of estate management cannot be overstated. 

A well-managed estate speaks volumes about a school’s commitment to providing a safe and inspiring place to learn. It’s the backbone of operations, affecting everything from student well-being and staff morale to the school’s financial health and environmental footprint. The management and maintenance of educational buildings should be a priority for all institutions. 

To ensure estate and facilities management teams are equipped with the information required to manage estates effectively, the Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS) guidance is hugely beneficial. Below we have delved deeper into estate management in the education sector and what educational institutions need to know. 


The Benefits of Good Estate Management

A proactive approach to estate management can benefit schools in several ways. Good practices promote a safer and healthier environment for students and staff, reducing accidents and improving educational outcomes. Not to mention, a well-cared-for estate reinforces the school’s reputation and commitment to excellence, impressing visitors. 

If you are responsible for overseeing an estate, you also can reduce operational costs when you have a preventative approach to maintenance. Pre-scheduled repairs and forward planning can prevent unforeseen expenses and minimise disruption to learning. A well-managed estate allows for better investment decisions too, ensuring you get value for money.


Understanding Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS)

Good Estate Management for Schools, also commonly known as GEMS, is guidance created by the Department of Education (DfE) for estates in the education sector. This guidance is designed to help schools and academies effectively manage their estates and keep their buildings in good condition for staff and students. 

The GEMS guidance is comprehensive and wide-ranging, providing advice and recommendations to those who are responsible for overseeing or managing an estate. It covers everything from the fundamentals of Good Estate Management and planning and prioritising maintenance works to encouraging sustainability and managing and delivering estate projects. With the help of GEMS, schools can make sure their buildings are healthy, safe and sustainable, and even save money. 

To ensure it remains up-to-date with any changes in legislation as well as best practices, this DfE guidance is regularly reviewed and updated. It’s beneficial for schools to read the latest version of GEMS to ensure they aren’t overlooking anything important. You can also use the GEMS self-assessment tool to get a better understanding of how well you’re currently managing your estate and where improvements can be made. 


Using GEMS Consultancy Services 

Getting some tailored advice can be beneficial when you’re maintaining a school. Consultancy services can help you to improve your current approach to estate management and maintain your estate more effectively. With the implementation of improved maintenance programmes, you can reduce operational overheads and achieve your educational vision.

With an in-depth understanding of the policies, processes and documents schools should have in place, good estate management consultants can advise on legal responsibilities and ensure compliance. They can help you to use the information you have about your estate to your advantage too and make proactive changes. When you work with a GEMS company, they can even provide you with guidance when planning, managing and delivering maintenance works as well as other estate projects. 

By supporting proprietors, leaders and trustees of schools, GEMS companies can help to ensure the learning environment is kept in good condition. Condition surveys can help identify the work needed to maintain your estate and feasibility study tests can help establish the best way forward, providing an end-to-end solution for estate management. If required, support can also be provided when bidding for funding to undertake the required work. 

Contact a Good Estate Management Company 

If you require advice relating to the management of your estate or a specific building project, please contact Barker on 01279 647111 for assistance. As one of the UK’s leading education property consultants, we can work closely with you to create safe, inspiring, sustainable spaces where people learn, work and play. 

Barker is a trusted property consultant to the education sector and strategic partner to leading sector bodies including Confederation of School Trusts (CST), Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL).

You can also watch our webinar below where Rob Gould and Matt Isherwood provide a refresher of GEMS focussing on the following areas;

  • Condition surveys – how to commission them and how to interpret the data
  • Asset Management Plans – how to develop your strategic AMP
  • Estate Strategy and procurement tips to achieve best value

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