18th August 2020
According to the UK National Education Union, in 2020, 83% of schools will lose out on funding because of government cuts. This means that more than 16,500 schools will have less money per student than they did in 2015. Cuts to school funding are far from a new issue, and every year school employees are forced to think of new ways to try to save money. We explore five effective methods to help schools save money.
1. Make Use of Technology
In 2014, the UK government overhauled school curriculums to make sure they included plenty of technology-focused education. This meant that not only was coding introduced as a subject matter, but the use of laptops, tablets, and a range of online applications were to become mainstream in school. In addition to preparing children for life in a technologically fast-paced world, it became apparent there were also ways that schools could save money by using technology.
How Schools Can Save Money by Using Technology
- Cut internal printing costs. Using technology means more communication opportunities. From a shared database to access to emails, both staff and students can access memorandums, teaching resources, and saved coursework using technology.
- Decreased need for textbooks and other printed learning materials. Schools that make use of cloud computing have access to a huge amount of online resources, which negates the need to spend budget on textbooks.
- Reporting applications. There are many services available online that are designed to help users save money by offering concise reporting. These show how much is being spent in certain areas. In a school environment, this could be in a range of ways, from energy meters and food services to arranging transport.
There is increasing pressure for individuals, businesses, and all public services to think about how they can do their bit to protect the environment. Not only is it important to teach children about the importance of climate change and environmental responsibility, but it’s also vital to put action behind words. By adopting eco-friendly initiatives such as recycling, schools can instil an important value in children; and they can also save money.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The ‘3Rs’ of recycling should constantly be considered when it comes to buying and disposing. Firstly, is the item really needed or is there an alternative? Secondly, can the item be reused? In schools, many items that could be deemed ‘rubbish’ might be useful for arts and crafts, or science experiments. The final option is to recycle.
How does recycling save schools money?
Thanks to various incentives in the UK, there are many ways that recycling can save schools money:
- Textiles – a number of shops and recycling centres offer cash or vouchers in exchange for bags of old clothing.
- Plastic bottles – some supermarkets offer vouchers or points in exchange for plastic bottles
- Electronics – old electronic equipment – especially technology such as mobile phones and laptops – can be sold to online recycle centres
- Metal – anything made of aluminium, brass, copper, iron, steel and stainless steel can be sold to scrap metal merchants. Find a local recycling centre.
3. Consider renting out your premises
Schools are usually comprised of elements that could be useful within the local community. Consider the ways in which clubs or groups in the surrounding area could make use of your premises, and advertise them for hire at a reasonable rate. This has a few advantages – not only will the school benefit from the rental fees, but it will also become more integrated into the community. This means more potential visitors on school events such as open days, summer fairs, and Christmas craft markets.
Some areas of the school that could be rented out are:
- Sports facilities – this could be a sports hall and equipment, a running track, your field or swimming pool
- Theatre – if your premises has a purpose-built theatre, this could be used by local drama groups
- School hall – even the simplest hall could be useful to the community for a range of events
- Car park – if your school is located close to attractions or services, you could offer car parking spaces for a nominal fee
4. Train staff to reduce the need for external services
While the initial cost of providing training will likely be unattractive, bringing more services in-house is an effective method with which schools can save money. Consider training staff members on things like:
- PAT testing
- Fire safety training
- Special needs support
- Music and drama workshops
If you have in-house staff that can provide these services, the annual costs of hiring external agencies will no longer apply.
5. Improve your payroll system
Another way that schools can save money is to improve their payroll system. One of the biggest costs for a school is paying staff, which means an efficient and effective payroll service is a must.
Clive Gutteridge, the interim Finance Director at Trinity School in Lewisham is an expert in school back-office services. He suggests that the number one priority for all schools when looking at their payroll is to choose the right software, which fits the needs of the school. By using a reliable system, or an outsourced payroll provider, schools can properly track all their payroll costs including salaries, overtime, and expenses. With this comprehensive service, it’s possible to find out where the budget is being spent so that any problems or overspend can be easily identified.
Knowing how schools can save money is helpful not only when there are government budget cuts, but also when it comes to planning spend on an annual, quarterly and monthly basis. If it’s possible to lower your costs in a certain area this will free up your budget to spend on something else for the school. Consider applying these five methods to see where you could potentially afford more.