Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS)

In April 2018, the Education Skills & Funding Agency, published Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS).


This guidance gives processed, best practice guidance for Academies on; Estate Management policies and procedures, Strategic Asset management, Health and Safety, Compliance and Maintenance. GEMS looks to ensure that Trusts have strategies in place so that:

  • Land and buildings support their educational objectives

  • Health and safety and statutory compliance responsibilities are met

  • Capital Investment and maintenance plans are prioritized effectively for both short & long term

The guidance sets out 4 key steps as follows:

Trusts are urged to characterize the vision for their Estate, including how the estate will advance to accommodate for local demand and to help any educational specialism that the school will develop.

Having characterized the vision, a strategic survey and SWOT examination of the current assets and estate management arrangements should enable the trust to evaluate needs with the goal that resources and spending plans are properly adjusted. A progression of reviews, audits, evaluations and studies are critical to advancement of the strategy. The accompanying components ought to be considered:

  • Existing capacity vs present and future demand for school spaces

  • Condition and Compliance of the estate as of now and over next 3-5 years

  • Suitability and adequacy of facilities to help educational targets (i.e. specialist sports trust)

  • Opportunities for estate improvement and the choices open to the school

  • Feasibility of the different choices, considering; adaptability of the current estate to accommodate future needs and aspirations, costs, spending plans, financing and internal investment potential

Following the extensive Estate investigation and evaluation, Trusts should then set out how the technique will be practicably accomplished over a characterized time-frame. Two key strategies support this, itemizing and organizing the activities required to convey the estate strategy, as follows:

1. Asset Management Plan – to include:

  • Current condition and performance of the estate, and; 

  • Evaluation of future condition and performance 

  • Reaction plans for unexpected critical works

  • Policies and procedures (i.e. leasing or hiring of premises, disposals and acquisitions, reporting of maintenance issues, agreements for capital spending and procuring technical advice)

  • Program of Preventative Planned Maintenance to limit maintenance and running expenses

  • Program of estate wide built asset activities, co-ordinated, sequenced and grouped where conceivable to acknowledge efficiencies and limit the effect on school operations

2. Estate Development Plan – to include:

  • A visual arrangement and single, structured program of all work recognized inside the Asset Management Plan, specifying how the entire estate will be produced over a set time-frame.

  • Planning of major investment (construction) and maintenance projects, ensuring they are phased, co-ordinated and sequenced to limit the effect on everyday school operations.


By gathering complimentary work bundles, the trust can draw in best market rates and savings through economies of scale. Where appropriate, utilization of tested best value procurement routes, for example, framework agreements or consortia procurement can likewise be used to achieve best value.


Wherever you are on your journey, our Chartered Surveying partners offer a full range of services, to support you along the way to Good Estate Management. For more details, please contact our academy support team on 0115 837 3210.

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