If there is one thing we all seem to be talking about a lot in the past year, it’s money. Tight school finances, increases to national insurance contributions, and changes to the way that schools are funded means that money is a big concern for schools. Those of you who responded to our State of Education survey told us that the budget is your biggest headache this academic year.
There is no quick-fix for tight budgets. But there ARE ways to make those pennies stretch further and help to ease the strain.
Show Me The Money
While going all Jerry Maguire is not a good approach, fundraising can be a crucial income stream when budgets are tight. Effective fundraising relies on much more than the odd school fete and lucky dip stall.
Could you encourage parents to raise money for the school by taking advantage of their employers’ matched-giving schemes? What about working with local businesses to earn cash back on purchases by parents and the wider community?
And don’t forget: apply for grants! Regularly! Check out our funds and freebies article now to find out what’s available this month.
Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk is not just for Costco enthusiasts. Purchasing in large volumes can bring down the price of goods and help you achieve greater value for money.
Even the smallest, rural schools can still benefit from bulk buying. By working together with local schools, or by joining a purchasing consortium, you can reap the rewards of the cheaper prices that purchasing large volumes of a product brings.
Waste Not, Want Not
Some up-front investment in reducing waste can pay dividends in the long-run. Installing sensors on lights so that they turn off when nobody is in the room can save on electricity bills and upgrading to double-glazing (especially in older school buildings) can save on heating and cooling bills.
Food, Glorious Food!
School leaders don’t become school leaders because they are experts in the catering trade. Yet, most school leaders end up managing budgets that must cover the provision of school meals for hundreds of pupils.
Catering is difficult to price, and often high on waste; two factors which can make it incredibly expensive. But it doesn’t have to be!
Simply refining menu choices can save schools thousands of pounds. A streamlined, seasonal menu can reduce the number of menu options (providing great opportunity for bulk purchasing, and reducing the risk of waste) and eliminate the need to purchase items when they are at their most expensive (when they’re out of season).
Do The Dirty Work
The Department for Education’s financial efficiency metric tool is a very useful thing.
It is much easier to identify ways to save money if you know what other schools are spending. Use the DfE’s metric tool to find schools similar to yours, and get in touch! Grab a coffee, break out the spreadsheets, and get down to the nitty-gritty details of who spends how much, and on what. You might just come away with some new ideas!