How Schools Can Do More With Less, Thanks To Edutise.

Schools are facing an uphill struggle; the government expects them to perform for OFSTED, educate and enrich the lives of our children, whilst juggling more demands with fewer resources.

As a country, we are still paying back a budgetary deficit from the last time we maxed out our national credit card. We carefully avoided the fate of many Eurozone economies, and the one European recession-era hangover, Greece, but that doesn’t mean this government has relaxed when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

Cut, then keep cutting budgets until they balance

Spending cuts are still mandated, with £900 million coming from education cost savings in the 2015–16 financial year alone.

These cuts will come equally from the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), according to an article in TES.

A pre-budget Association of Colleges (AoC) study into DfE funding, estimated that there “will be £600 million [shortfall] in 2015–16, rising to £4.6 billion by 2018–19.”

Here’s what the AoC predicts it will cost the DfE to maintain funding at current levels.

Here’s where the AoC predicts additional costs will be incurred by the DfE whilst the government struggles to maintain funding at 2014–15 levels.

The AoC is concerned with the impact on the education of 16 to 18-year-olds, with other organisations voicing worries for other age groups, from early years to higher education.

Largest educational budget cuts since the 1950s

An Institute of Fiscal Studies investigation in October 2011 estimated there would be the “largest cut in education spending over any four-year period since at least the 1950s.”

The IFS found that education spending, as a share of national income, would reduce to only 4.6% for 2014–15, down from 6.4% in 2009–10. This represents a real-term decrease of 3.5%.

An IFS projection showing the real financial decrease in education funding in recent years.

At the same time, the state-funded school population is set to increase, from “6.95 million in 2010–11 to 7.14 million children by 2014–15.”

No level of education is safe from the cuts. The ring fence that did exist under the Coalition has been quietly taken down. Early years, youth services and 16–19-year-old students will all face 20% reductions, with per pupil spending, on average, £1,000 lower than it was in 1997–98.

A bleak picture for education funding

Before the last general election, The Association of School and College Leaderssaid no matter who won, each party painted a “bleak picture for education funding.”

Schools are now operating within that bleak landscape, with little money for essentials, never mind the arts, field trips, new technology, literature, music, and everything our generation took for granted. These are the building blocks of a well-rounded education, and yet we wonder why businesses complain that children leave school with few useful skills. We can’t have it both ways.

Schools are tested, largely, on the pupils performance come exam time. Well rounded, socially skilled young people don’t emerge from test papers; they are formed as a result of a fully enriching education, one school’s no longer have a budget to deliver.

Hidden savings: A solution in plain sight?

Within education budgets are hidden savings. These funds, hidden in plain sight, could be unlocked and redeployed for the benefit of our children. According to a DfE non-statutory advice document from November 2014, schools “collectively spend approximately £9.2bn on non-pay spend including energy, catering and back office requirements.”

The DfE recommended schools learn to work together to achieve cost savings, not unlike larger companies. Imagine if only 10% was saved: schools would almost have an extra billion pounds to spend on students!

Businesses and schools: Saving money together, for a brighter future

At the same time, businesses are spending billions on similar non-pay essentials. Both SME’s and schools pay almost the same as consumers, whereas larger organisations benefit from economies of scale.

Our mission is to give schools and small businesses the same bulk-purchase cost savings as larger companies.

We are now making that mission a reality, with Edutise already trialing in several schools and dozens of businesses signing up every week. Our Groupon-style marketplace has over 5,000 essential products and services for sale, making it easy for businesses to help schools give children a better education and brighter future.

Businesses: Save money on office supplies and help your local schools today. Sign up now, so you can be amongst the first to hear about great discounts that will help children in your community:www.edutise.com

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