Jenny Powell 21 January 2015

School funding crisis

Recent reports warn that schools are facing an increased funding crisis that will result from higher than expected pupil intakes.

It is estimated that by 2023 an additional 880,000 places will be needed and funding simply isn’t in place for these numbers. The government has pledged £7.35bn, but the cost of this rise is expected to be £12bn.

Local government is understandably wary that it may be called upon to fund the shortfall, but with cuts already underway, what else can be done to fund growing numbers without compromising services elsewhere?

Instead of looking from the top down, a possible solution would be to reverse the view and look at what can be done on the individual or micro scale to offset the risk. With austerity rightly remaining a watchword and recession a not too distant memory, budgets are likely to fall under even greater scrutiny.

Possible solutions for further and higher education centres might focus around the diversification of their offerings in order to maximise income from fixed assets. Putting existing facilities and infrastructure to use during ‘down-time’ could generate a valuable revenue stream to offset any cuts.

However, for schools on a smaller scale, these options are less viable – the scale and facilities required are lacking and the opportunity is therefore not feasible. Smaller institutions must therefore pursue other options in order to maximise their available budgets.

Procurement and shared services are a vital weapon in the arsenal for smaller establishments to make savings and combat the shortfall that may be to come.

Using a professional procurement company may not immediately appeal / be the initial consideration, but the expertise and leverage that an experienced procurement team can bring to the table more than offsets the fees charged and can bring tremendous Return on Investment .In an environment under financial pressure, recognising where best to deploy available resources, and when to use third party expertise, can make a big difference.

The savings that could be made, whilst not guaranteed to bridge the funding gap, could make significant inroads to part-fund additional classrooms and resources at schools.

Government funding is targeted at new free schools and academies and, although the majority of these are in areas of great need, the needs in other areas will have to be met by local government and, in these instances, innovative and diverse approaches could resolve the gap between cost and funding. Should funding materialise from government then the savings realised can be made available to other improvements in facilities or service provision.

Either way being smart about budgets and maximising spending efficiency will reap the rewards in years to come without resorting to austerity measures in the short term.

Jenny Powell is owner and director of JDP Procurement Services Ltd

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Payroll Specialist

Essex County Council
Up to £34805 per annum + + 26 Days Leave & Defined Benefits Pension
Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Payroll & People Advisor - Permanent

Essex County Council
Up to £27338 per annum + + 25 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pension
Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Payroll & People Advisor - 12-month Fixed Term Contract

Essex County Council
Up to £27338 per annum + + 25 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pension
Payroll & People Advisor - 12-month Fixed Term Contract Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Waste Manager

Isle of Wight Council
£42,923 to £46,402 per annum
We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated individual County Hall, Newport / Agile
Recuriter: Isle of Wight Council

Engineer (Client Team)

Manchester City Council
£35,336 to £39,571 (Bar at £38,553) per annum 
The post holder will be responsible for supporting the Client Team Manager Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.