Getting your school to save and succeed with edtech

Schools can invest in efficient technologies to drive additional revenue, says Chris Smith, head of community at Kajima Partnerships

Technology is embedded in society, and we’re undoubtedly seeing the benefits that its widespread application can bring. This is particularly the case for UK edtech, which has seen an unprecedented level of investment over the past five years and now has a projected worth of around £3.4bn by 2021.

With access to an increasingly diverse range of innovative technologies, we are now realising the true value of edtech and its progressive role in positively shaping our education system. Invested in correctly, edtech can be an effective tool to help reduce workload, efficiencies, engage students and communities, and provide tools to support excellent teaching.

One particular stream of edtech is helping schools make the most of their best assets by hiring them out to the community. Through investing in lettings software, which provides schools and universities with an effective bookings system, schools can better manage the hiring of their facilities in a cost- and time-effective manner.

Generating additional revenue

Education spending is the second-largest element of public service spending in the UK behind health, yet the amount of this budget that’s actually seen by schools and higher education is low. A recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that total school spending per pupil in England has fallen by 8% between 2009–10 and 2019–20, highlighting the severity of these funding cuts and the impact this is having on our schools.

At a time of such intense pressure on education budgets, many schools would benefit from capitalising on existing resources. By investing in a lettings technology platform and opening their facilities to other institutions and the local community, schools can generate average annual revenues of £70,000, and up to £470,000 per year for larger secondary schools. The fresh revenue can be reinvested into school facilities, staffing or even to offset existing deficits, providing further support to their business.

Driving edtech efficiencies

The government’s Edtech Strategy identifies five ‘key areas’ of opportunity where technology can help drive change across all phases of education; one of which includes administration processes. In reducing the burden of ‘non-teaching’ tasks through edtech, schools can save both valuable time and money, freeing up additional resources to be used on the more important roles within education institutes.

In the same way, for schools that already hire out their facilities, handling the admin and financial aspects involved in space lettings is not part of a school’s ‘core’ business, and can be time intensive. Introducing a lettings platform that manages these administrative tasks while also providing a streamlined financial system, including automated invoicing and online payments, can make a significant difference.

Engaging with the community

Schools are home to some of the UK’s best facilities, from sports fields to swimming pools, and all have access to spaces such as classrooms, car parks and halls of varying sizes. With such valuable assets on the local doorstep, technology has the capacity for schools to reach out to the wider community via online marketing platforms and engage across a diverse range of people. Using an online lettings programme, opening up facilities for use by local clubs, charities and business promotes community cohesion and integration, helping to reduce societal boundaries and barriers.

It’s clear our education system has vastly improved with the introduction of edtech, and as we continue to progress in our digital world, acknowledging the small investments that can be made to our schools, can make a big difference.

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