Jenny Powell 21 January 2015

School funding crisis

School funding crisis image

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

Managing short-term lets image

Managing short-term lets

Deborah Heather explores the issue of homestay rentals and managing short-term lets within council boundaries.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Practitioner - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a England, Essex, Clacton-On-Sea
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Practitioner - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
In Essex County Council we are "Serious about Social Work". Having recently won the Best Social Work Employer of the Year Award 2018 and been awarded England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Practitioner - Children in Care

Essex County Council
In ECC we are "Serious about Social Work". Having recently won the Best Social Work Employer of the Year Award 2018 and been awarded 'Outstanding' by England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

My Options - Casual Personal Assistant (PA) Support Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£9.36 per hour
Can you make a positive difference to someone’s life? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Local Authority Designated Officer LADO

London Borough of Bexley
£48,570 - £55,182 (inclusive of Choices Flexible Benefits of £2,370 pa)
Do you think you have what it takes to join our team of excellent and dedicated social work professionals? Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how public sector organisations can unlock the hidden value in their land, and why a new approach to construction could help boost the outcomes of the Government’s One Public Estate programme.

The December issue also considers why learnings from ancient cities could provide the key to promoting wellbeing in the modern built environment. It also contains a case study on how the London Borough of Westminster has provided high quality care for the elderly alongside a block of luxury apartments.

Register for your free digital issue