How schools are making the budget add up this year

  • How schools are making the budget add up this year

Balancing the budget is getting tougher each year – so we asked teachers and heads how they handle it…

“We have cut back every single line of our budget. When I started five years ago we had 54 teachers and 9 SLT. We now have 42 teachers and 5 SLT. Even with these savings we cannot avoid the gaping black hole of our costs being greater than our income. Next year we are promised an additional 4% on our revenue, but our costs have increased by over 9%. Anyone can see that is a real terms cut of 5%.”

- Headteacher, East Sussex

“I have become expert at reducing texts down as small as possible and squashing multiple exercises onto one sheet to reduce printing costs.”

- Anon

“Supply teachers cost around £230. Along with very close diary management we have developed a teacher support manager role to provide supply. We maximise the use of these Learning Managers in providing cover and estimate they have saved us £80,000 as well as providing continuity of care for the pupils.”

- Richard Sheriff, Head of Harrogate Grammar and Vice President of ASCL

“Our mantra at Tapton in recent years has been ‘clarity, simplicity and impact’; this is in response to the challenges posed by the removal of KS3 levels, the new specifications at GCSE and A Level, and the current budget crisis. Anything we invest time and energy on must have an impact on learning, and enable students to achieve their dreams. Everything else should be designed to support that.”

- Kat Rhodes, Associate Headteacher, Tapton School

“The principle to make your budget balance is all about your main costs. Three quarters of total spend is on staff so unfortunately in order to save large sums of money you need to restructure or make cuts in staff as anything else is tinkering around the margins. Second to that is making cuts in departmental budgets or changing contractors from in-house to bought-in or vice versa.”

- Headteacher, Mansfield

“Ensuring we have effective practices in place when we are choosing, buying and implementing tech and ICT for our academies is absolutely vital. We have recently been working with an education ICT specialist, and instead of procuring services piecemeal, we collaborated with all of our academies to see if we could procure their ICT requirements as a whole, thus creating significant economies of scale. The result was over the next three years, we expect to recoup savings of between 10% to 15% and e-safety and security across all of our academies is improved.”

- James Miller, National Director of Estates and Technology at Ormiston Academies Trust

“My science technician is a stickler for finding the best deal. We hunt around whenever we buy equipment to get what we need at a bargain price.”

- Anon


“In order to save my school money I reuse resources. I donate newspapers, yoghurt pots and jam jars to the Art department. In my MFL department we repurpose sheets of scrap paper.”

- Anon

“The Victory Academy was rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted. Its staffing structure did not match the school’s curriculum. We introduced an innovative, curriculum-based financial planning model which has turned the school’s fortunes around, and enabled it to achieve both financial efficiency and academic success simultaneously. The results have been transformative – we have reduced costs at The Victory Academy by more than £2m over three years, the school is now rated ‘Good’.”

- Stuart Gardner, Chief Executive, Thinking Schools Academy Trust

“We’ve never had it so bad. I’ve had to downsize school provision, cut capitation, delay buying IT and streamline staffing. We’ve been looking around at everything and anything to cut, and we’re setting budgets for next year, but possibly facing an unfunded pay rise for staff. Schools have to be really rigorous as potential outcomes are getting rid of nice non essentials like trips or non-core subjects like music or art.”

- Rob Campbell, CEO, Morris Educational Trust, Cambridgeshire

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