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Money saving tips for schools

(50 Posts)
Honeymoonmummy Tue 26-Sep-17 07:19:59

Hi all, I'm a school governor and we are meeting up next week to discuss ways the school might be able to save costs in the current economic climate. Does anyone have suggestions of things that have worked at their school, no matter how big or small in monetary value? It's a catholic primary school if that makes any difference. Many thanks in advance smile

Theworldisfullofidiots Tue 26-Sep-17 07:30:41

We have done a review of everything and there is very little where you can save money apart from staff.
We changed school Lunch provider and this improved quality and saved money.
We have run out of ideas. We are going to try the school lottery. Rather fed-up of asking parents for money.
We are probably going to stop swimming. We just can't afford it and we get no money for it but we are in one of the poorest funded areas in the country.

RippleEffects Tue 26-Sep-17 07:34:47

One of the big ones for me is making sure every child is getting their full funding allocation.

I went on a series of trips at the end of the summer term. The number of them that we used half a coach was shocking. Its a very high pupil premium school so it was esentially school paying for the trip. We could have easily doubled up and had two coach drop offs.

I've always thought school buildings are a massively underused resourse. Yet so many people require holiday child cover. And so many clubs need a base.

Don't be tempted to allow things to get petty with staff essentials, like toilet paper. Yes really. My mum taught at a school undergoing cost saving and they decided staff used too much. Result, they had to get loo paper from the office. It was a school joke 1 sheet for a no.1 or 2 for a no.2. 30 years on my mum still brings it up. Upsetting staff harmony is costly. Greater sickness, working closer to rule etc.

I heard of an initiative in the NHS somewhere where they roled the question out to staff. There was a deal where something like 50% of each saving they made they could use in an area they felt needed investment. I believe it created a really positive atmosphere that even though costs were being made people felt like money was being spent because they had some control over the direction of it.

meditrina Tue 26-Sep-17 07:35:19

It's really unlikely there will be much you can do, if the school has been well administered to date (sorry)

I'd suggest a review of all procurement for the school.

And also checking if anything can streamline any admin processes. But don't necessarily switch everything to online - it's not always better and is unlikely to be much cheaper. Make absolutely sure that your processes do not breach data protection standards (even a small fine can be crippling if you have no slack in the budget, schools do get fined)

sashh Tue 26-Sep-17 07:50:47

Can you get a local business to sponsor things? A lot of hospitals give appointment cards with a taxi number on the back, the taxi company features pay for the cards.

Maybe sponsor exercise books? Or packs of felt tips?

What are the parents/PTA like? Are they active?

Years ago I worked for an electrical wholesaler, we would often be asked for prizes for a raffle, to be honest it gave us shelf space but looked like a half decent price.

Can you hire out school spaces after hours or at weekends? Things like drama clubs or martial arts clubs need space and depending on the school layout you could give access to the hall and no where else.

Could you start a drama club? Puline Quirke schools seem to be springing up all over, not sure of the costs.

FE college students always need placements in schools - it would't save any money but would give you some 'free' labour one or two days a week.

Theworldisfullofidiots Tue 26-Sep-17 08:05:22

We use Fe students and volunteers. We also find grants.
I feel your pain. We need money to pay salaries. Grants won't let you do that.
I'm afraid it's going to get worse. We increased our role and got no money for it.

Maidupmum Tue 26-Sep-17 08:27:28

Things that worked well for me when I was a Catholic HT are;
- not using school suppliers for anything you can buy on Amazon or EBay- it's so much cheaper to buy things online and often the delivery is quicker, especially if you set up Amazon Prime
- get a school credit card and use it to buy things as opposed to ordering things from suppliers (I'm thinking of things like tea and coffee that are ££££ from educational suppliers).
- look at getting a couple of school minibuses. Although the initial outlay is about £50000, you can then take a whole class out on a trip and not have to pay coach costs. You can get 17 seat minibuses that are under 3.5 tonnes so any member of staff can drive them. You can then share minibuses with your cluster and never pay for transport again
- look to local people to do things like gardening etc
-don't use the recommended Archdiocese workmen- get your own. The quality of their work will be better and you won't end up paying the astronomical 'professional fees' that they charge
-get your business manager/site manager to project manage any project up to a medium size.... see point above!
- Look at every member of staff's contract and ensure that they're doing the job that they're being paid to do- over time there can be accidental 'slippage' over these things, time can be being wasted and time is money!
- ensure that your PTA is making money and it's being used effectively
- make a point of always asking any supplier if that's really the best price they can offer and making it clear what price you're really expecting to pay.
-can you share some membrs if staff with other local schools or share service level agreements to split the cost?
- renegotiate your photocopier contract

I'll think of more later probably!

Honeymoonmummy Tue 26-Sep-17 08:48:07

Wow, there's some absolutely brilliant ideas here, thanks so much. Re the archdiocese workforce point (sorry can't see poster name on my phone), I thought you had to use them, or is it just over a certain limit?

I was wondering about the after school club, it is really cheap and I doubt the school charges rent so perhaps one thing might be to put up the charges and pass the saving onto the school as rent?

Please keep the fab suggestions coming! brewcakeflowers

Badbadbunny Tue 26-Sep-17 09:23:20

I know, not a school, but one of my clients is a children's nursery. They saved a whopping 50% of their "consumables" costs by ditching the specialist educational supplies catalogue firm and buying everything from Amazon/Ebay and Tesco online instead - things like paper, pens, crayons, toys, chairs/tables, tea/coffee, loo rolls, nappies, cleaning products, etc. The savings ran to several thousand pounds per year and that was only a small nursery (20 places).

Another massive saving they made was ditching the photocopier contract and using a small, cheap, desktop multi-function printer instead for the very few things they HAD TO photocopy. They then bought a decent laser printer and printed stuff off directly from the computer rather than the old-fashioned idea of printing one off and then photocopying it multiple times. Cost per sheet of printing directly from a computer to a decent laser printer is a lot less than a photocopier contract.

Kazzyhoward Tue 26-Sep-17 10:21:55

Use the previous year's exercise books if there's more than half the book empty - even moreso if the same teacher has the same class the following year! It drives me insane to see the waste of dozens of half (or less) used exercise books.

DS has just gone into year 11. He is in the same groups and with the same teacher for the same subjects. Yet in his first week, he came home with no less than 15 brand new exercise books. For some subjects he was in the middle of a section so it makes no sense to have the first half of a topic in the year 10 book and the second half in the year 11 book. It was as if the school were desperate to hand out new books because they had nowhere to store them, or something equally ridiculous. Seems that schools/teachers are on auto-pilot and just do this kind of thing automatically without thinking whether it's actually necessary or not.

Same when it comes to the end of the school year - surely when you're just 2/3 weeks from end of term, it makes no sense to give out brand new exercise books which you know aren't going to be used more than a few pages - give out A4 paper instead which can be stuck in.

MiaowTheCat Tue 26-Sep-17 10:35:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSnowFairy Tue 26-Sep-17 16:52:21

Use email to send out parent letters instead of photocopying.

Hire out parts of school in eve / weekends / over Christmas (if you have lots of parking, try seeing if caravan clubs interested)?

100/200 club to sell numbers​ - winners get cash prize, school takes a good cut.

Work with local secondary school to order things in bulk (eg paper) as bigger schools generally get better rates (as they buy more).

Use your catering facilities to provide food for other schools.

hippyhippyshake Tue 26-Sep-17 17:28:46

Agree with false economy glue sticks and also cheap coloured pencils that break when sharpened. Are your exercise books pre-printed with the school logo? It seems to be the rage. They are then stickered with name/class/subject. It must be cheaper to stamp the school logo on and children actually write their names on the front (like the old days).

PeteAndManu Tue 26-Sep-17 19:21:19

Is the after school club run by a third party? Be careful over pricing, compare it to competitors and remember having one is attractive to parents who need wrap around care and so ensure you attract pupils to the school and the funding that follows them.

Who provides supply? Do you have a HLTA to provide cover?

Do you get all the pupil premium that you should? Has everyone completed a form for this?

noblegiraffe Tue 26-Sep-17 19:24:45

Offer placements to PGCE students?

bookgirl1982 Tue 26-Sep-17 19:27:31

Incentivise staff attendance to reduce supply costs.

Ensure all eligible pupils are signed up for pupil premium.

Rent buildings to local groups -but charge a market rate which covers costs.

Look at inset and training for value for money.

Chottie Wed 27-Sep-17 01:28:15

If your school is near a sports centre / swimming pool, hire out the car park when there are events which require additional parking.

Just charge the club a flat fee for all day parking. They man the gates and you just need to arrange for the unlocking and locking of the car park.

Chottie Wed 27-Sep-17 01:30:08

Collect up all the unused, unwanted stationary items lurking in classroom cupboards and put it all in a central cupboard. Everyone then checks and uses supplies from this cupboard before ordering new.

PerspicaciaTick Wed 27-Sep-17 01:51:51

What percentage of your budget is staff costs?

If the vast majority of your budget is staff costs, then fiddling about trying to trim the photocopying budget etc. is going to have a tiny impact.

Definitely look into becoming a hub for community activities - and charge for the use of your facilities. Hire out the hall for parties and other events. Hire out the playing field to sports clubs or fitness/bootcamp training in the evenings and at weekends. Hire out the site to a holiday club company. What about Slimming world meetings? NCT courses? All these groups need a venue. Make sure you charge enough to cover caretaker overtime/ extra staff and wear and tear.

PeteAndManu Wed 27-Sep-17 07:40:28

When you are looking at hiring out your venue check the following - do they have insurance, have a letting agreement in place, are they aware of fire procedures and are safeguarding controls in place. We are reviewing our internal controls re safeguarding and we are being asked about this where children are involved.

hippyhippyshake Wed 27-Sep-17 07:57:40

My school has zero budget for anything or so they like to tell you. But the amount of colour printing and laminating we do is enormous! At one of my schools we had to type in a code for anything printed in colour, just to pinpoint it and deem whether or not it was necessary. This may be a saving? So many photos are printed off now for evidence and I'm sure they don't have to be in full colour!

imsorryiasked Wed 27-Sep-17 08:04:29

Send it a wish list to parents - lots are happy to donate but prefer to provide an actual "thing" than cash that disappears into a black hole. Often their employees have schemes for charity donations (to your pta if not the school) or could sponsor play equipment etc.

Theworldisfullofidiots Wed 27-Sep-17 08:26:01

I'd actually argue the other way. We would like donations with no strings attached.
It's relatively easy to get grants for things like play equipment but not easy to raise funds to pay the actual running costs for the school, most of which is staff. (And most schools are not over staffed). I have an idea why not fund schools properly.

Theworldisfullofidiots Wed 27-Sep-17 08:26:11

I'd actually argue the other way. We would like donations with no strings attached.
It's relatively easy to get grants for things like play equipment but not easy to raise funds to pay the actual running costs for the school, most of which is staff. (And most schools are not over staffed). I have an idea why not fund schools properly.

Kazzyhoward Wed 27-Sep-17 08:36:37

At DS's school, they say that they have far more success when asking for donations and doing fund raising if they have a target figure to aim for to buy specific items. Looking at the "friends" webpages, in the past, they've raised money to buy a 3d printer and laser cutter for the tech dept, a new sound and light system for drama. It's a bit like those sliding hoardings they have outside churches when they need to raise tends of thousands for the church roof! People like to say what they've helped to buy. I don't think general donations towards normal running costs such as wages would have anywhere near the same effect as the donees have nothing to show for their donations.

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