The show must go on!

20 July 2020

Just because school is out for summer doesn't mean the work stops!

While teachers and students are away from Aspire taking their richly deserved summer holiday, the school building becomes a hive of activity as important maintenance jobs around the site can be carried out without disrupting students' learning.

Contractors working on the lights in the main hall

From fixing door handles to safety signs and a lick of paint to deep-cleaning (especially this year thanks to our Household Support team battling COVID-19) - these are just some of the many jobs that need to be addressed during holiday periods, sometimes by outside contractors, but many by our own site team of Mr Challenger and Mr Beck.

With coronavirus stopping much of the maintenance work that would have been carried out earlier this year over Easter and the half-term break, the summer holiday is the only opportunity this work has of being completed.

Mr Challenger said, "The pandemic has really put us behind this year with completing important maintenance work that keeps the building running smoothly and that everybody just takes for granted; things such as servicing the air conditioning, checking all the lighting units, and maintaining all the doors and security can only be completed during holidays. It's going to be a stretch this year, but I am confident we'll have all the work finished before everybody returns in September."

Mr Challenger hard at work

Meanwhile in the kitchen and dining hall there are changes being implemented to replace the now-defunct LCR system. The cash registers, revaluers - the boxes on the wall that take money and allow users to check their balance - and all the software that runs the system are being replaced with new hardware and IT systems, including biometric readers so eventually, once it is deemed safe to do so, staff and students can use their fingerprint instead of a PIN number to pay for food and drinks.

Unit Catering Manager, Mrs Doyle, said, "We are really looking forward to working with this new system and the biometric readers are a bonus, well at least they will be once coronavirus is a thing of the past!"

The old 'revaluers' on the wall in the dining hall which will soon be replaced with a single modern payment unit

And finally, let's not forget the computer network that allows all staff and students to get on with the important tasks allowing both work and learning to be completed, "It's been quite a challange supporting staff and students with the transition to home working and learning, but everybody has coped really well in these testing times and it's been great to see people using Google File Stream and Gmeet with confidence, but now I have to make sure all the IT equipment is working ready for when we all return in September," said Mr Sheldon.

"Not only have I got the ongoing task of looking after all the servers and switches and their maintenance, but I'll have to get a quick turnaround on all the equipment that will be returning with staff who have been forced to work from home and make sure Mrs Doyle's new tills are installed properly too," he added with a smile.

Replacement cabling being fitted in the main hall and the small form factor PCs being attached to the back of their monitors in B15

Site staff have moved a lot of old classroom and office furniture ready for recycling