How to make your school’s ICT budget go further

Never has technology been needed more than in recent times and despite the digital divide continuing to widen, schools are now understanding the absolute necessity of ICT and being able to access both up-to-date and cost-effective ICT at that.

With this newfound (or newly accepted) appreciation, most schools will be looking to invest in or upgrade their technology over the next 12 months and despite the education budget showing an increase of 4.18% for 2021, this still may not be enough to cover all school ICT needs.

 

So, what can schools do to make their money go further?

Many moons ago, schools fell into the traps of leasing agreements that lasted way longer than the technology and ever since, leasing has been seen as a dirty word in schools with much fear at its mention.

But with new skills being required for our future workforce, the technology to teach these constantly evolving, plus the associated costs of keeping pace, doesn’t it seem that now may be a good time for schools to reconsider their leasing options?

 

Leasing with confidence

We know that numerous schools have hit the headlines through leasing agreements that have not been arranged by an education-focused partner. To use leasing effectively, your partner should know what they’re doing and exactly what schools need. This includes understanding compliance and regulations around education funding. This ensures your school gets what it needs, in all ways possible and you’re colouring within the lines.

The Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) says:
“An Operating Lease is the only type of lease agreement that state-funded schools (local authority or Academy) can enter into without prior approval.
“No other form of finance (such as hire purchase) may be entered into by a school as this is a prohibited form of borrowing.”

Leasing also provides transparency and control over your school finances, as you know how much you need to pay every month/term/quarter/year. Of course, there will be the occasional surprises, that when buying outright can be the spanner in the works that schools just don’t need having spent so much already but with leasing, your technology is new, is not outright owned by your school (unless you choose to retain equipment at the end of the contract) and therefore under warranty, providing an additional layer of assurance.

Of course, here at Dataspire, we’re always talking about ICT Strategy and Planning but honestly, with a sustainability plan that includes a leasing agreement, you will know exactly what you’re paying for from start to finish. We’re talking about upfront costs, how much the rental will be if you extend beyond the initial contract period, how easy it is to return the equipment and all the rest that the Dataspire team can advise you on.

Most importantly, leasing can help you to spread your costs. Rather than paying for everything in one go, you can spread that cost over 2, 3, 4 and 5 year options, paying monthly, termly, quarterly or annually. So, by paying for usage instead of ownership, a lease can offer schools access to technology at a lower lifetime cost and make those crucial investments possible.

 

Benefits of leasing with Dataspire as your partner:

  • Fixed, routine payments (usually three years)
  • Improved cash flow
  • Tailored payments to suit your school’s budget
  • Simple and easy to understand paperwork
  • No hidden charges
  • Education compliant funding
  • A potentially increased Ofsted rating as you embed new technology into your lesson planning
  • More engaged and motivated pupils
  • Additional financial advice and guidance
  • Keeping pace with technology in a modern world
  • Long term strategic support for your ICT vision

And even covers:

  • Software
  • Installation services
  • All Dataspire services including safeguarding and security, telephony and ongoing support (to name a few)

Then at the end of the lease, your school has the following options:

  • Return the equipment
  • Extend the lease
  • Retain the equipment (At the end of the agreement a fair-market fee will be calculated for which the school can retain the equipment.)

 

Sustainable scalability

Here at Dataspire, we maximise technology to save schools money while saving the planet because we know that the older technology gets, the less energy efficient it becomes, so by leasing with Dataspire as your partner, you can guarantee that your school is using the most environmentally friendly solutions at all times because at the end of the agreement you can return the (by then) older items and upgrade to the newer and greener options on the market.

In addition, Dataspire is constantly looking for ways to help schools unlock funding while reducing their carbon footprint, so this is yet another option that we can support you with.

 

Here’s how:

You can have a chat with one of our experienced consultants here at Dataspire and we will take you through each of the steps:

  • We will do an ICT audit to assess and understand your requirements
  • We will help you to create medium to long term goals with smarter purchasing, cloud considerations and suggestions to reinvest your new money
  • We will also help you find other opportunities through centralisation and economies of scale
  • We will help you to define your overall goals and the strategies required because it’s not just about the kit, it’s also about how you plan to use it
  • Basically, we will help you to plan for long term ICT expenditure and sustainable, scalable, ongoing financial planning.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make your IT budget go further.

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