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How do we measure the success of a school? Do we value Academic success and Results over wellbeing? Or Wellbeing over results? Or are the two deeply entangled?

For a student’s success, a teacher must enforce high behaviour expectations and ensure high quality teaching techniques. However there are many factors that can affect these two major activities. The cleanliness of the classroom is number one.

First and foremost, the main determinant and most obvious trend of a students academic success is their attendance rating at school.

We have known categorically that “Missing school for just a few days a year can damage pupils’ chances of gaining good GCSEs”. A report from the Department of Education in 2016 highlights this. We have known the importance of attendance in relation to academic success for years, this is nothing new.

If a school and specifically a classroom is cleaned and cleaned correctly we can see the following benefits:

  1. Fewer sick days and absences – when a classroom is not cleaned properly the spread of germs, bacteria and viruses is higher. Using the right cleaning and disinfectant products and hiring professional cleaning services can minimise the spread of germs, and therefore keep students and staff in school.

  2. Higher Quality teaching and learning – a cleaner work environment not only allows a school to keep teachers motivated and healthy, lowering staff absentee days, and lowering costs to hiring cover staff. But also increases staff motivation.

  3. Better parental involvement and confidence – a school that has an emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene, now more than ever will benefit from greater parental confidence and involvement. Parents will have more assurance on the health of their child, they’ll have more confidence in the school and will want to be more involved with school positively.

  4. Fewer distractions – a classroom is full of distractions, and dirty environments can add to the list. Keeping the classroom professionally cleaned will minimise distractions for students.

  5. Helps maintain good habits – children absorb information from habits and routine. If they are always in dirty and untidy environments they will carry that elsewhere. So, to instil the habit of cleanliness, a clean classroom is a vital place to start.

How does this affect performance?

Figure 1: Percentage of pupils in state-funded mainstream schools achieving stated qualifications at the end of KS4 in 2013/14 academic year by overall absence rate across KS4 (in days)

There is a concerning and dramatic decrease of performance in GCSE’s from missing just 5 days of school. A drop of almost 10% in attainment.

Even more concerning is when a student misses more than 20 days of school, in one academic year, their chances of getting 5+ GCSE’s of A*- C (9 – 5) are less than 18.8%.

So what is the most common cause of a child missing school?

According to ‘MentallyHealthySchools: “The most common reason for children being persistently absent from school is due to illness.”

So what can schools do?

  1. Educate themselves on the benefits to the school on all round cleanliness.

  2. Make the correct decisions when it comes to school cleanliness.

  3. Hire professional cleaning services.

  4. Use non-toxic disinfectant (Avoid Alcohol based sanitisers at all costs!)

  5. Think Broad spectrum efficacy when it comes to disinfectant.

By taking cleaning seriously schools can:

  • Save money by employing less cover staff due to staff illness.

  • Enhance staff motivation by keeping them healthier by lowering the chances of germ spread.

  • Improve student academic results by lowering the amount of student days off due to illness.

  • Increase parent confidence by showing the school is taking health and safety seriously.

  • Help staff and students with their Mental Health during the pandemic by making people feel safer in a clean environment and cutting stress related illnesses. (37% of respondents to the CIPD and Simply Health Health and Well-being survey saying that stress-related absence had increased in the last year).

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