A school is, you might say, a people-heavy sort of place. So much so that keeping track of the people and what they are up to leaves little time for anything else - such as looking after the building, for example. In many schools you will have to ask around for quite a long time before you find anyone who knows when the science laboratories were last painted, or how many 13-amp plugs there are in the textiles room.
Suppose, though, you could sit down in front of the office computer and call up a plan of the school, and that you could then go to individual rooms in greater detail. Suppose, further, that you could click on a reference to the science lab and bring up all sorts of key information about it - furniture and fittings, measurements, decorative state, cleaning schedule, security. The same database, you can easily imagine, might be manipulated to show how the premises budget is allocated and which parts of the building need repairing. And when the time comes for tender documents to be prepared for maintenance or cleaning contracts, all of the information would really come in handy, would it not?
It is this sort of task - effectively the job description of a premises manager - which Quadrant Facilities Management had in mind when it designed Scholar. The software has seven modules: "Space use and classification"; "Planned maintenance"; "Asset register"; "Day to day maintenance"; "Budgets and orders"; "Cleaning"; and "Lettings". It is easy to see how "Cleaning", for example - with a clear list of the requirements for each room - would make it much easier both to manage cleaning and caretaking. And the "Asset register", which is effectively a stock list of all the school's equipment, allocated to rooms but capable of being searched in a number of different ways, is going to help keep track of, for example, regular safety testing of electrical applicances.
The school plans have to be installed by Quadrant - although a school equipped for the job could do it in-house. The plans certainly make the software very attractive.
Scholar works perfectly well, though, without the plans, but with the rooms just listed. The version with the plans is Scholar Gold; Scholar Silver has no plans. Prices start at about #163;750 and depend on the size of the institution and the level of detail carried on the database.
Quadrant Facilities Management, 42-44 Newman Street, London. W1P 3PA