In his March Budget, Chancellor George Osborne placed a ring fence around the Education budget, promising that spending cuts across government departments would not lead to school spending cuts. Despite his pledge, recent reports suggest that a second round of £11.5 billion cuts could threaten the school budget, prompting the need to consider how best to manage funding for schools.
Every educator knows the value of a strong teaching staff and modern, up to date equipment, how much each costs and what the budget per pupil is. But, where most schools won’t be able to justify spending an average of £300 per unit to buy an iPad outright for each student regardless of the rising wave of approval for integrating modern technology into the classroom in the face of threatened cuts, leasing options can offer a lifeline. Considering leasing as an option is a popular boardroom tactic but it can also reap dividends in schools.
There are many benefits to leasing, not least of which is the chance to free up funding for other areas. In practise, a leasing contract can have a positive impact on several areas within each school: it offers a wealth of new opportunities for the faculty to introduce new equipment without taking a huge bite out of a limited or strained budget. For students relying on the school’s equipment to realise the strengths that will help them to excel as professionals in later life, leasing offers a chance to develop skills at a crucial point in their lives.
Seeking an alternative source of funding for schools also allows budgets to be re-aligned and invested in core areas such as retaining staff. By opting out of costly long-term investment in IT equipment, leasing gives head teachers the chance to channel their precious budget into more pressing matters such as keeping teaching staff on. We’ve all read about the casualties of the recession and how cuts in funding for schools have affected teachers across the nation. With leasing as an integral part of the financial plan, money can be diverted to staff training, recruitment and development.
IT based leasing solutions also offer schools the chance to upgrade and stay current, giving the student body a solid foundation from which to develop employable skills. With IT leasing as the asset funding source, the student body and teaching staff will benefit from enhanced learning devices like tablets, iPads and essential memory servers much quicker than would otherwise be the case through traditional channels.
Leasing is also budget-friendly option due to its low commitment; you won’t be tied into a long-term investment during which time the devices and software purchased become outdated.