As a history graduate and secondary school teacher I never thought I would find myself becoming knowledgeable about sewage pumps, fixed-wire testing and gas supplies. However, as custodian of a school estate dating back to 1558, these are all topics that have crossed my desk in recent months. Managing a beautiful and historic estate feels at times like the fairground game where you have to beat down the frogs as fast as they pop-up. In our case, the frogs often appear to pop up in multiples and often in the most unexpected of places!
I am fortunate to work with an estates team that are prepared to look at creative and sustainable solutions to the challenges we face. In recent years we have replaced our ancient heating system with an environmentally friendly and efficient suite of biomass boilers. Sourcing wood pellets from sustainable forests, this has significantly improved our heating whilst also providing some longer-term savings. We have also replaced every light fitting across the school with energy efficient LED lighting. In each case these projects required careful research before implementation as we wanted to ensure our more creative approach to finding solutions would benefit our school community for many years to come.
Managing a large, complex and historic estate is a challenge and at times takes up more of my time than I would like. We try incredibly hard to find ways to modernise the interior of our buildings while staying true to the historic exterior. At times the restrictions this poses are a frustration to all involved. However, when a project leads to an improvement in the learning and working environment for our staff and students, the hard work and determination of everyone to find a solution is worthwhile.
Next on our wish list is to find an imaginative source of funding to modernise the interior of our science labs. If anyone knows any friendly benefactors, please give me a call!