Cleaning, Facilities Management

The Challenges of Keeping Nursery and Early Years Clean and Safe

Keeping nurseries clean is not for the faint-hearted. Early years settings provide many unique challenges to overcome.

Previous experience of nursery cleaning and FM in the education sector has provided us with the ability to deal with a large number of cleaners on-site, including on a night shift basis, as well as a day-time presence in the form of janitors. We have provided cleaning services, deep cleaning, reactive cleaning and washroom services.

These experiences have highlighted that the key challenge of working in a nursery school/early year’s establishment or indeed any form of the education premises, is the requirement that children must be cared for in a safe, hygienic, smoke-free, pleasant and stimulating environment with surroundings in a good state of decoration and repair.

boy sitting near red table reading book

Other challenges faced when servicing educational establishments also include:

1. Buildings Maintenance

Well-maintained buildings are far easier to keep clean than buildings that have defects. Every premise should have a programme of routine maintenance and renewal for the fabric and decoration of the premises. Records should be kept of all maintenance activity and an effective system should be in place for reporting and tracking faults. Cleaning should be considered in all building or renovation projects. Relevant considerations include easy-to-clean surfaces, floors and paints should be used wherever possible.

paint brush beside cup

2. Blood and Body Fluid Spillages

All spillages of blood, faeces, saliva, vomit, nasal and eye discharges should be cleaned up immediately using a product that contains a detergent and a disinfectant that is effective against bacteria and viruses. It should be suitable for use on the affected surface. Children and adults should be kept away from the spill. It is useful to have a “spillage kit”, containing essential cleaning equipment for spills.

boy in blue t-shirt writing on white paper

3. Supporting Infection Control

Cleaning staff play a vital role in preventing the spread of infection in nursery schools and other educational settings. Cleaners should be trained and have access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the correct decontamination of cleaning equipment should also be followed. All education settings should have a cleaning schedule or procedure which lists each room in the building used to provide the care service, has a signed and dated record of cleaning.

Play equipment must be clean and well maintained and staff should take appropriate measures to control the spread of infection.

Work Schedules for Cleaning Nurseries and Early Years

The development and monitoring of work schedules to ensure that cleaning tasks are completed in accordance with any specified requirements should be put together.

Managers are expected to be familiar with levels of productivity to be expected from them. This knowledge is essential for all work scheduling, as the length of time taken to perform cleaning operations determines the overall staff requirement needed to complete a task.

cleaner cleaning taps and sink

Standards in Cleaning a Nursery

Work method statements are an effective way of providing specific instructions to cleaning staff or those responsible for cleaning as part of their duties. The instructions can be general or cover specific environments or tasks that require specialist knowledge and training.

Cleaning standards and the performance of cleaners should be continuously monitored with occasional random inspections carried out to see whether the work schedule is being followed. Most cleaning tasks can be checked visually.

When maintaining nursery schools, performance assessments for the cleaning staff and the general cleanliness of work locations should be implemented.  In this process, all identified defects should also be recorded and corrected.

Cleaning standards are maintained with regular monitoring and audits delivering continuous improvement through the identification of any problem areas.

Routine Checks to Keep Early Years Settings Clean

Routine quality checks can include a regular walk around of the premises to note the general level of cleanliness. Early years managers should note whether cleaning levels are visually sufficient and whether the specification of requirement is being met.

Full records of all cleaning activities should be kept and produced for inspectors as required. Records can include work schedules and method statements, contracts, risk assessments, audits, quality checks, signed records of work completed and performance reports.

Bradford Park PRU logo

Case Study: Park Primary Pupil Referral Unit

Park Primary PRU is a 50 placed KS1- KS3 Pupil Referral Unit. To ensure a safe and clean environment RFM Group were selected to provide a full cleaning service for the primary school. RFM Group provides cleaning services to many schools and pupil referral units across the North of England.

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