According to BESA (the trade association for educational suppliers) nearly half of all schools anticipate that more than 50% of pupils’ time will be exposed to teaching and learning through technology in 2014. From recent news reports on school technology take-up it looks like ICT is set to become even more embedded in all learning, with pre-loaded iPads, interactive learning programmes, coding, and apps leading the way.
It’s imperative that in the current climate schools ‘up’ their game when it comes to new technology or risk falling behind in the academic tables and in Ofsted ratings – and in the eyes of prospective new students (and their parents).
Schools are ring-fencing much of their precious funding so they can replace their ICT equipment when they need to, but when technology moves on again and iPads and interactive whiteboards suddenly look obsolete, they’ll be faced with old technology that no-one wants to use, and will have to find the funding to purchase new resources once more.
Choosing to lease can help you improve ICT teaching and learning at your school or institution, without unnecessarily injecting your entire budget into new equipment. Plus, you can more easily replace your outdated tech when new learning ideas and opportunities come along.
Positive leasing relationships – a real life example
The Green School
The Green School in West London opted for a solution that replaced its outdated IT systems with leased equipment. When they really looked into what was needed to provide exceptional education they realised it was vast: “a wireless network, extensive re-cabling, new desktop PCs, a virtualised desktop infrastructure, interactive whiteboards, and projectors – as well as new servers.” This added up to almost £500,000 worth of kit.
Leasing helped them to obtain all of this. In addition, the school experienced flexibility and honesty from the very start of the discussions, about what they needed for the entire system installation, and also ongoing as after care.
“…we needed a lease structure that was both affordable and sustainable….a structure that suited us perfectly; allowing us to proceed with immediate and on-going IT requirements across the school.” John Wiffen, Director of Finance at The Green School
The Green School had previously taken out another lease with a different company, and as a result had received a large bill from them – due under their historic lease contract. As their new leasing provider we helped them to look through the paperwork to define whether or not there was enough evidence to challenge the claim. In the end, The Green School was able to recover £48,000, a substantial amount that can now be put to better use improving the school environment and also teaching and learning.
You must insist upon…
When opting for leasing, establishments need their chosen company to provide them with a transparent view of current lease practices – giving them a wider commercial knowledge of leasing – vital for success.
- An excellent understanding of the education sector
- Transparency, openness and honesty
- An agreed level of support/service level agreement (SLA)
- A shared short, medium and long term view of how the contract should evolve
- An ethical end of lease agreement without hidden costs and unwanted kit
Finding the best ways of maximising existing funding or securing new, trustworthy funding routes can be a minefield for education establishments – and there are many pressures; Ofsted, grades, SEN, parent, governor, pupil and staff demands to name just a few. Learning spaces are now communities in their own right and balancing the books is a weighty task for all those involved.
However, these days there are leasing schemes out there that schools, colleges and universities should feel they can rely on. It’s a challenge to put negative memories about poor leasing agreements to the back of our minds! But a silver lining has emerged – bringing with it a range of leasing companies – focused on education – who understand the everyday challenges faced by those working in a demanding learning environment.
Want to know more? Download and share with your colleagues ‘Ten reasons why this is THE year for leasing’ and you will learn:
• How leasing can improve academic standards
• Why leasing it is the most cost-effective solution
• Who benefits from leasing
• What kind of service you should receive
• Which types of equipment you can lease