These days, the topic of school budgetary cuts and decreased funding in education is rarely out of the news. This week, however, the Independent released figures that suggest that one in four secondary schools in England are, in fact, running at a financial loss.
The same report, analysing council-run secondary and primary schools in England over seven years, also found that the number of primaries running at a loss increased to 7.1% last year. These sobering statistics highlight the intensity of financial pressure our education system is now facing.
So, with little financial respite on the horizon, what are cash-savvy schools actively doing to address these burdens?
Innovative school fundraising
Rather than ask parents to contribute towards new IT equipment and overall school improvements, many school leaders are turning to innovative fundraising ideas to beat the budget cuts and bring in new revenue streams for their schools.
Cash-generating projects like school sleepovers, competitive schemes like The Apprentice, and skills swaps encourage pupils to work towards common goals and instil a sense of social responsibility; key transferable competencies for life beyond the classroom. What’s more, such initiatives can unite the local community and give parents a rare opportunity to enjoy a night out, child free!
Maximise IT investments
Spending money on new education technologies may seem like the lowest priority against a bleak financial backdrop. However, carefully considering your school’s digital framework is vital to meeting your attainment goals, supporting improvement plans, and providing the best possible education for students.
Consider the existing pain points that are causing financial drain within your school. How can these gaps be filled with cost-effective solutions, future-proof devices and free software?
Most importantly, ensure the teachers and other staff at your school are fully trained and entirely literate on your current and new technologies. This will cement the best return on investment and best value from your existing ICT.
Consider BYOD schemes
Approximately a third of secondary schools and one in ten primary schools have implemented some form of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scheme. This initiative is clearly on the increase; a further quarter of secondary schools are considering asking pupils to bring their own devices to class.
BYOD is excellent for maximising school budgets by displacing the cost of hardware onto parents that have already purchased tech for their children. It also more boosts engagement and retention by accurately reflecting life and learning outside the classroom.
At the same time, schools must have a stable and secure IT infrastructure in place for BYOD strategies to succeed.
Apply for a technology grant
To alleviate some of the current budgetary pressures, Promethean has launched a grant scheme to present 30 schools with an interactive, front-of-class ActivPanel.
The EdTech provider is giving away 30 cutting-edge ActivPanels to the 30 schools that show the most innovation and creativity, along with highlighting their need for new technologies, and demonstrating the overall impact it will have on their school.
Teachers and pupils are being asked to create a short, innovative video to highlight how an ActivPanel would improve their learning environment. Many of the previous entries have shown how a collaborative project like the Promethean Grant application can unite their school, encourage digital literacy and foster a greater sense of creativity.
The submission deadline for the Promethean Grant is 15th June 2018, giving schools plenty of time to invest more creativity in their ICT budgets. Enter by uploading your video here, and keep your eyes peeled for the results in July.