Many schools are left in the dark when it comes to efficient spending and knowing where budgets are wasted or where they can make savings.
This insight picks apart factors around school spending, including a range of tips on how to ensure better spending, increased efficiency and introduces a powerful way to manage buying online.
To stay on top of the school's financial situation and ensure a sustainable environment, School Business or Finance Managers must have exceptional levels of shrewdness and edge, portraying good powers of judgement at fast, working pace speeds when allocating budgets and introducing buying decisions. A key aspect in making sure your school is thriving is to monitor and prioritise all purchases of any size, streamlining your buying processes and instantly understanding where every penny is going to.
School business managers should be skilled negotiators with a resilient personality. To find out more about the requirements for a successful Business Manager, read this previous insight about the School Business Managers Standards.
With the recent headlines regarding school funding and budgets, we’re told that ‘72% [of head teachers] fear budgets will be unsustainable by 2019’ and that spending is too often determined by what schools ‘have always done’ rather than by ideas and actions that are sustainable and beneficial to the school's well-being.
There has also been headlines regarding ‘the next funding crisis’ possibly being England's Schools, right after the NHS and social care. Head teachers are saying that ‘a lack of cash might force them to cut school hours’, after news of a School in the east of Cheshire could be forced to reducing the school week to just four days.
Although we can see a variant in the amount schools spend per pupil depending on the region, we can roughly estimate the average budget in all school types to be about £1,641,228, with the anomaly being inner London, due to an exceptional amount more spent on average. It is also good to consider that the average number of pupils in all types of schools is around 336, But where does it all go?
With almost half of the budgets being spent on teachers and teaching (teaching equipment, CPD enhancements and other necessities), it is very apparent that there really isn't much money left to spend. The most efficient methods of saving and maximising school spendings must be considered, which some schools may need some help with.
Group together - When budgets are tight, you need to take advantage of economies of scale. Instead of each department having their own budgets to spend on equipment, bring it all together as a school and purchase goods in bulk. By doing this you will be able to negotiate better discounts and rates on all purchases.
You can do this by:
- Outline request deadlines for any purchases. This will allow you to ensure you are able to take advantage of the bulk discounts
- Utilise software such as Schools Procurement to ensure you are getting the best price from approved suppliers. Also, use the software to calculate and manage all of your buying requests
Nurture your own staff instead of relying on experts - External Consultants or Experts which you pay to deliver sessions are a massive expenditure. Typically staff pay equates to 70% of school spending, can you be utilising skill-sets within your own school more effectively?
SchooliP helps pull together skill sets across the school or trust to enable you and your colleagues to share best practice and help everyone to gain recognition for their skills, making it easier to allocate different staff to help progress as a school or trust. This is also a massive benefit when considering CPD courses for teachers as it is cost effective to just pay for a single course for one staff member and for them to share their findings with colleagues.
Pupil Premium - Can you be allocating this more effectively? Download our free Pupil Premium Strategy and Templates today to put you a step closer to a more effective expenditure.
Does this need to be printed? Printing and ink costs add up to roughly £20,000 in the average school in England, that's £487,440,000 throughout all schools in England alone! Google drive is a great way to store and share documents and spreadsheets without printing.
As well as Schools Procurement allowing you to administer all school contracts successfully, it also helps you to secure the best deals for your school, providing you with hints and tips for saving money. The simplest one; don’t be afraid to ask for a discount!
Due to the fact that costs vary between schools because of either the location, size of the school or the amount of pupils and staff, there isn’t a golden rule on how to maximise spending. However, a few tips we can give are to make sure you’re doing extensive research when deciding what and where you want to buy it from, finding the best possible price for the same or a relative, similar service. Another point which doesn’t happen so often, but has sometimes been a fault is when school contracts aren't administered successfully, making sure you don't renew any by mistake or default. Finally, making sure you are keeping full control of your spending, monitorisation of purchases can be very beneficial to schools as you can see any increases or decreases in certain aspects of essential purchases, enabling you to act accordingly to make any changes to them.
When attempting to reduce spending, it is important not to determine spending by what schools ‘have always done’ either nationally or locally, and focus on what your school would truly benefit from. A lot of the time, schools can put off training and CPD expenditure because it doesn't show a obvious and direct impact on the school, where as we have seen and received a lot of positive feedback from the customers of SchooliP which can view CPD impacts vs costs within the software and make strategic decisions which are informed with clear evidence.
When dealing and managing school spending, it is important to make sure everything is done as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It is necessary with the focus on budgets to work harder to making smarter choices when allocating money.
Recent threats towards funding cuts makes the implementation of Schools Procurement all the more of a necessity, the software and buying services will help give an understanding as to where your school can make savings and drive value for money.
When Schools Procurement is embedded into a school, the business managers will be able to simplify tender processes and take advantage of expert advice from experienced educational buyers from Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply qualified individuals (CIPS), mitigating any potential risks of any spending pitfalls and taking advantage of economies of scale.
Save money with Schools Procurement
Find out how you can ensure your buying processes are as efficient as possible with Schools Procurement.Book a demonstration