How can schools save money amid the latest budget cuts?
Despite the government’s pledge in November to boost school funding, the rising costs associated with the cost of living crisis means that per-pupil funding will actually be 3% lower in real terms by 2024-25, according to The Institute for Fiscal Studies.
With this being where public schools get their money, the picture is one of concern for headteachers. Data from the National Association of Head Teachers shows that 50% of heads say their school will be in deficit this year, with almost all expecting to be in the red by September.
Many will be looking for creative solutions to school budget cuts, that don’t impact on the quality of education being delivered to pupils. In this article, we share some of our recommended ways for schools to save money during these tough times.
Why budgeting is more important than ever
Effective budget planning and management is one of the most vital tasks within any school. It allows resources to be allocated based on organisational needs and objectives, reduces the risk of any unforeseen financial shortfalls, and overall, leads to better educational outcomes. But with budget cuts affecting education and the cost of everything from school textbooks to energy bills rising by the day, it’s never been more important to stay in control of your school’s budget – and reduce spending wherever you can.
So, how can schools save money amid primary school budget cuts and secondary school budget cuts? Despite what some may think, saving money isn’t the same as cost-cutting. Saving money means making more strategic decisions, which could include reaching and engaging more parents. On the other hand, cost-cutting could be a reduction in budget in a single area, like minimising the number of teaching assistants, for example – something no school wants to resort to.
Here are our four money-saving top tips:
1) Make sure CPD is as valuable as possible
It’s important to invest in your staff’s continual professional development, but sometimes, this money is being used in areas where your staff may not be benefitting as much as they could be.
There are many free resources out there to support your ECTs and teaching staff, including several on YouTube. But the most important thing is that you listen to your staff, so make sure you pinpoint the areas where CPD will be the most valuable and allocate the budget here, rather than spreading the money across multiple, less worthwhile training courses.
2) Increase your school’s sustainability
With energy bills rising, you may already be looking at ways to cut back on your energy usage, without it impacting teaching and learning for your staff and students.
Allocating some of your budget towards initiatives like installing solar panels or sensor-activated lighting could be part of a long-term cost-saving plan. But in the short-term, consider choosing LED light bulbs and ensuring heating systems are operating efficiently.
Above all, make saving energy a focus for your whole school by involving students in the pledge to use less. You could appoint eco champions to check whether equipment or lights are being left on, and run sessions to communicate the importance of saving energy for the future of the planet.
3) Reach and engage parents
Making parents feel more involved in your school can strengthen ties in a number of ways, and it could even save you some money along the way.
Parents who feel part of the school are more likely to offer help at school events, which could save money hiring extra people or paying staff working outside their usual hours.
Start getting parents engaged by introducing a communication platform like the Reach More Parents app, where you can share all the most important information in a timely way, using one easy to use platform.
4) Make use of educational technology
We’ve already touched on it briefly, but one of the most significant areas you can save money in your school is by replacing outdated processes with educational technology.
Whether this is eliminating internal printing costs with a communication platform, saving time and money spent chasing payments by going for a digital payment platform, or reducing the costs associated with contacting parents by opting for an all-in-one parent app, there are plenty of tools to save money through tech. Read on to find out more.
How can the Reach More Parents technology save you money?
At Weduc, we offer a number of simple yet powerful communication solutions to save you time and money, and we reach more parents than any other system.
- Our all-in-one parent app brings all your school’s information into one school app for parents to reach and engage them more than ever before. This also means a reduced workload for those who previously published school information manually across multiple systems, and fewer login queries from parents who may have previously struggled with the management of multiple apps and systems. Time is money after all!
- The Reach More Parents platform, also known as ‘Mission Control’ is a single solution that powers your school. Not only will it eliminate the time and costs associated with previously paper-filled processes, but it’ll give you a clearer view of data across your school – so budgets can be allocated accordingly.
- With a parents evening system like Reach More Parents, you’ll experience yet more time-saving benefits, and put the power in the parents’ hands by letting them choose appointment times that suit them. Plus, with video call compatibility, you can run smaller events at your school – and lessen the costs and demands associated with this key event in the calendar.
- When it comes to school payments, there could be a way to make things easier for everyone with technology like online school payments. Parents can pay for school trips and other activities digitally, and quickly top up their school meals money purse. And for schools, there’s less risk of cash handling, and more effective financial management overall. It’s win-win.
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that we can never know what’s around the corner. That’s why it’s such an important time for schools to be looking at ways you can save money across your school, putting you in the best possible position to ride out any future budget cuts and make sure student outcomes are never impacted.
If you’re interested in exploring any of our software or services, from the Reach More Parents communications platform to our parent app and custom-branded apps for schools, click here to book an informal chat at a time that suits you.
Or, get in touch through our enquiry form, or give us a call on 01509 221 349 to chat about how schools can save money.