How schools can help families spread the cost of the latest devices
The advantages of using technology in the classroom are well recognised across the education sector. Tablets allow students to engage with the subject matter in a way that they find intuitive and interesting, while teachers benefit through better tracking of students’ progress and opportunities for greater group collaboration.
Of course, there are cons too, not least the ability to provide all students with devices when both school and household budgets are under increasing pressure. This has led many schools to look for ways to help parents to provide their children with the latest devices, by spreading the cost over an extended period of time.
This is precisely the route that a secondary school had been taking for several years with some success. A large number of parents had signed up to a scheme set up by the school which allowed them to rent the latest iPad over a period of two or three years.
Unfortunately, when the school’s auditors reviewed the arrangement they discovered that it fell within the auspices of Consumer Credit legislation, meaning the school did not have authorisation to provide the scheme.
Under threat that the highly popular program would have to close, the school’s accountants approached Maxxia to recommend alternatives that would provide similar benefits without the regulatory issues.
Maxxia looked carefully at the needs of the school and the students and developed a proposal based on an operating lease model. This allowed parents to fund the cost of a tablet over two to three-years, based on the true residual value of the equipment at the end of the lease period.
Not only did this meet all of the Consumer Credit requirements highlighted by the auditors, it did so at a reduced cost, as Maxxia was able to access a supplier offering significantly better pricing.
The scheme is currently in its second year of operation with over three hundred devices supplied to date.
In addition to the fundamental issue of authorisation, the school had also been administering the scheme, which had caused some major headaches. From arranging relevant insurances and managing individual claims, through to collecting and chasing direct debit payments from families, the school was becoming involved in a range of operations far outside their core responsibilities and competencies.
Alongside the operating lease, Maxxia was able to develop a range of solutions that reduced the amount of time and effort being spent on administration and facilitated better service to the parents signing up to the scheme.
The first step was to introduce a provider, specialising not only in the insurance of educational IT devices, but also in managing the repairs and servicing requirements that inevitably come with these items.
This was seamlessly combined with an online system that allowed the school to collect direct debit payments, monitor and manage payment history, and oversee the progress of insurance claims and device repairs through to pay-out or repair completion. This system gave complete visibility to all stakeholders and greater confidence in the schemes overall management.
And, because the student’s devices are effectively being rented for a fixed period, there are no concerns over obsolescence or their diminished value at the end of the agreement.
This type of end-to-end solution is typical of the work that Maxxia does in the education sector, with institutions including local authority schools, academies, private schools, further education colleges and universities. And, of course, our expertise in education leasing means that all of our solutions meet the latest Government directives and regulatory requirements.