Kajima is a PFI provider and its community team first started by managing the 13 schools that Kajima built 12 years ago. Since then Kajima has evolved to offer schools a more flexible approach to lettings than the fully managed solution by developing an online platform, BookingsPlus, which keeps marketing, finance and bookings in one centralised place.
Kajima also offers a service to promote, market and carry out all of the administrative duties around school lettings on behalf of a school.
Partner School: Haverstock School, Camden
Haverstock School was rebuilt in 2005 on their existing site through a PFI scheme with Kajima as the private sector partner. In the old building, community lettings had consisted of traditional evening classes and these began to dwindle as the Victorian building became more rundown.
The school is buzzing with positive activities taking place at all times of the day
The new school has a fully managed lettings service delivered by Kajima Community, which means they promote the facilities, administer bookings and also provide a team of operations staff.
The whole of Haverstock School, excluding staff offices, ICT rooms and the library, is open for community use in the evenings and at weekends including:
- All-weather pitch
- Gymnasium with climbing wall
- Sports hall
- Performance hall
- Classrooms and
- Fitness suite
Type of community users
A huge range of groups use the Haverstock school site through Kajima Community, including five different faith groups, Russian and Egyptian Language Schools, Pauline Quirke Theatre Academy and a Flamenco Dance School using the performance hall until 2am.
A range of sports organisations utilise the indoor and outdoor facilities, including Haverstock Fencing Club, a Tai Chi group and a Football Academy.
In addition, the school use their own allocation of free community hours to deliver programmes aimed at supporting their disadvantaged local community. These include a monthly ‘Senior Saturday’ event where older members of the local community attend bingo, a film or a tea dance hosted by teachers, sixth form students and volunteers. ‘Crisis at Christmas’ book the whole school for ten days over Christmas and New Year as a homeless residence.
The school put together gifts and create a ‘welcome wall’ for the residents and staff and students (over 18 years old) volunteer alongside the local community over the Christmas period.
Every evening from 6pm, along with weekends, the building is handed over to Kajima Community who fully manage the lettings programme including marketing the facilities, administering bookings, processing payments and operations. Within the contract there are a certain number of community hours allocated for school use.
Haverstock School have their own Community Partnerships and Extended Services Co-ordinator (previously an Assistant Head) who is contracted to work 30 hours per week. Part of this role is to develop programmes and partnerships to benefit the students and local community.
By working closely with Kajima Community and planning events one year in advance, the school are able to negotiate and ensure that the Kajima Community Lettings and school events are both accommodated.
The fully managed model at Haverstock School means that the school receive an annual profit share which allows investment to take place in the facilities and to fund free courses for the local community.
Kajima work closely with schools to develop and promote their activities and spaces. For example, if a school have specific requirements regarding religious activities or special event Kajima will accommodate this.
Facilities are priced at market rates through benchmarking against local facilities and also considering the types of users and school requests regarding commercial and community rates. Kajima then provide expert advice on the best way to make full use of the school facilities.
“Schools using our SchoolBookings service have seen on average 30% increase in income and a 40% increase in community bookings.”
For example a school classroom may be utilised for a community meeting, and then a Pilates class. A school assembly hall may be used for a Salsa Club and a wedding party.
BookingsPlus is a software tool to help schools manage their community lettings. Key features include a room booking tool, automated invoicing and online payments alongside a bespoke website designed to market facilities and promote activities. A link is provided from the school website to the community lettings website where members of the community can make enquiries online and where hirers can make their payments.
BookingsPlus also has a reporting function which allows schools to generate data such as the types of bookings, facilities being used, income generated and community activity timetables.
Finances: There is a set-up fee, and then a quarterly commission for bookings that go through the system, charged at 3%. The school can either pay the 3% themselves or pass it on to their clients as a booking fee. There is no long-term contract.
SchoolBookings is an outsourced administration and marketing service for schools which includes full administration of all lettings, payment collection and online marketing. Kajima Community populate free listings, websites and utilise social media as well as sending emails to target groups and organisations.
Kajima Community provide advice on what sorts of activities could take place in a school’s spaces and utilise a centralised marketing team who compile databases for marketing purposes and regularly contact potential hirers on the schools behalf.
Finances: SchoolBookings has a set-up fee and then a profit share arrangement with 80% going to the school and 20% to Kajima Community.
Making it work
Kajima Community have a helpdesk open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm to deal with any booking queries and any issues. Kajima Community manage the insurance, safeguarding and risk assessments associated with the community lettings.
The school cleaners clean at the end of the day (before the 6pm handover) and again in the morning before the start of the school day. Once a week Kajima Community and the School Community Partnerships Co-ordinator check the bookings for the week ahead and also make regular contact via email and review meetings.
The school are able to negotiate with Kajima Community regarding their own programme. For example a local parent who is a handball tutor was looking to set up a club for local children that was affordable and accessible. Kajima Community managed to identify a quiet slot in the programme to enable this activity to take place at the school.
Kajima Community’s plans for the future include launching a new national BookingsPlus website which will combine all the Kajima Community schools onto one portal and allow potential hirers to search for a facility to hire in their area. As an online tool – BookingsPlus is also continually updated and improved.
Haverstock School are working with Kajima Community and the RFU to explore the potential to upgrade their All Weather Pitch for Rugby and build on their successes in girls and boys rugby.
Challenges for Kajima Community working with schools:
- It can be a challenge to managing expectations of schools – balancing what people think of community use with the reality
- Getting all parties on board from the start, including cleaning and site staff is also important for the success of a project.
Challenges for Haverstock School working with a third party:
- Staff have had to learn to adapt to the dual use of their classrooms – for example clearing their desks at the end of each day, keeping school equipment locked away and setting up their rooms in the morning rather than the night before
- It has also proved a challenge to make sure that large schools events such as Parents Evening and Drama Performances are planned and booked into the events calendar a year in advance.
- Kajima Community can help a school to raise their local profile and bring communities together – Haverstock School is a popular school with a good uptake on their parents evenings partly because parents are already familiar and comfortable with the school site
- The school benefit from dedicated and experienced private sector staff that work closely with the school to develop a bespoke programme – this model enables Haverstock School to concentrate on their targeted community programme which provides positive experiences for their students including volunteering opportunities
This model can generate a healthy income for a school, without the responsibility of managing and administering the lettings in-house.
- Consider a web based community booking system for invoices and payments – it will make things easier for you and your hirers
- Have a dedicated phone line for enquiries and a process in place for following them up
- Market locally – there are tangible opportunities on your doorstep
- Communicate regularly with your third party provider and have a key contact at the school to manage the relationship
- Ensure your staff understand how the system works and that they understand the implications of their teaching spaces being used
- Be proactive in looking for opportunities to work with your community partners.
Nikki Haydon, Community Partnerships and Extended Services Coordinator, Haverstock School
|Type: Secondary Community||Gender: Mixed|
|Age Range: 11-19||Size: 1250|
|Location: Haverstock School is situated in the borough of Camden, an urban and very ethnically diverse area with over 50 home languages spoken at the school. The school site is in an area with pockets of real deprivation alongside areas of wealth.||Management Model: Community Lettings are managed by a third party, Kajima Community. The school also deliver their own free community and extended services programme alongside the commercial lettings.|
|No. of Community Users: Over 1,000 per week.|