Recent breaking BBC news stories revealed that more than 300 heads of department believed that 63% of pupils did not have sufficient access to computers and 98% believed pupils without a home computer were ‘educationally disadvantaged’.
A Department for Education spokeswoman also said: “It is vital that we do all we can to close the unacceptable gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers”.
Additionally, with the introduction of the new computer science curriculum for schools, and Education Minister Michael Gove wanting to see coding taught as a priority, it’s clear that the ICT infrastructure of many education establishments is going to need some extra investment in order to keep up.
You may decide that your spending priorities lie elsewhere however – for example, new school transport, a kitchen refurb or refreshed sports equipment. Regardless, it’s going to be a challenge to balance your ICT spending with requirements in other areas – so where will the money come from in 2014/15?
Maybe you have been negatively affected by leasing in the past, or know another establishment that has? Turning around the poor perceptions of leasing can be an internal struggle – yet faced with budget cuts, alongside Ofsted demands for higher standards, there are few alternatives that reap such great rewards – as long as the deal you secure is the right one.
Read up on the top 5 benefits:
1. Retain funds which could be spent elsewhere
Need to employ an additional teaching assistant this year but stretched for budget to do so? Leasing will free up your funds to provide more flexibility with your spending. It will also help to ease difficult decision-making about what you can and cannot afford to buy. Leasing allows you to source vital items such as servers, laptops and iPads, while keeping money in the pot for extra staff or building improvements for example.
2. Upgrade for less
It makes little sense to pay for a new computer suite outright when the kit will need to last for a minimum of three years and soon become out-of-date. Leasing allows you to pay for significant tech upgrades over a period of time rather than spending a big percentage of your budget all in one go, leaving more pennies in the pot for the rest of the year.
3. Only an operating leasing will do
The right leasing agreements will be fully up-to-date and compliant across the entire UK education sector; local authority run schools, central government run academies, private schools, colleges or universities. To be sure you are compliant, finance should be provided in the form of an operating lease which is permissible under the Education Act, and the rules and regulations of all educational establishments in the UK.
4. Green guidance
1,744 schools have so far been awarded an eco-schools top Green Flag award. If you are looking to achieve green status you’ll need to make sure that any kit you lease is WEEE directive compliant and that there is an agreement in place for collection at the end of the lease. This should be provided by your leasing company – as well as free data cleansing for peace of mind.
5. Ongoing support
Keeping track of assets is a challenge. Education establishments are busy communities and often asset management falls outside of anybody’s remit. Some lease companies will offer ongoing support or asset management software to help you keep track on your leasing path.
In the face of few other alternatives and increasing challenges in the education sector, leasing seems like an obvious choice for 2014 and beyond. If you find it difficult to make a decision because you only have enough budget for an extra member of staff and a kitchen refurb – and not a new ICT suite, leasing may be a great option. Is it the year to say ‘bye bye’ to the bad press leasing encountered in years gone by? A new league of trustworthy leasing companies has emerged so it’s worth a revisit if you’re struggling with budget blues.
Download the leasing infographic to share with peers today>>
In picture format you will see:
• Leasing considerations
• Leasing statistics
• Leasing advice
• Potential savings