With more budget cuts across the board and parents being warned that schools do not have enough money to run, it’s essential that schools try to find ways to save money. 

Here are five ideas for saving money that you can implement in your school.

Energy efficiency

The Carbon Trust estimated that £44 million per year could be saved if schools change the way they think about energy.

Energy saving schemes are relatively easy to implement in any school and, if you get creative, they can be a great learning tool. Drill home the importance of turning off taps and lights, whilst creating a fun classroom project about recycling.

Just reducing the thermostat by one degree and limiting heating to school hours only can be a simple way to start the process. Make sure that radiators are not obstructed and you can even use radiator reflector foil as a low cost way of reducing heat loss through walls.

If money becomes available for additional building maintenance, choose energy efficient options – although the initial cost may be greater, the savings on energy bills more than make up for this.

When discussing computing requirements with your IT staff, ensure that they focus on energy efficiency as well as performance and overall cost. Computers, screens, projectors – these all use significant amounts of energy and selecting energy efficient equipment can save you money in the long run.

More detailed ideas are available from the Carbon Trust.

Staffing

Does your school use any volunteers? If not, this is something you should definitely consider if you’re struggling with your staffing budget.

There are probably dozens of parents who would be willing to help out on school trips and clubs. Reach out to your community of parents and you’ll almost certainly find a number of them with time that they can dedicate to helping…especially with extra-curricular activities.

Speaking to other schools in your area about sharing staff members could also open opportunities to reduce your costs greatly. If your school only has a few students with SEND requirements, you may be able to share the cost of a non-teaching SENCO with one or more other schools in your area.

Don’t forget that you can also access funding from the Apprenticeship Levy to pay for training and qualifications for your staff. The fund is not limited to apprenticeships and can even be used for post-graduate training for teachers.

Printing

So much money is wasted in schools on printing and photocopying but there are a number of ways for your school to cut back, saving a lot of money in the process.

Some of these include: communicating via email instead of printing out documents, switching your printers to draft mode the majority of the time, use a lighter and cheaper paper (80gsm maximum) and by switching outdated printers to modern ones (these are usually more energy efficient).

Use technology to share documents, images, assignments, reports, etc. Either use the facilities built in to your school’s VLE or use free online services such as Google Apps.

Free and open source software

Do you need 100s of licences for Windows? How about office software – are you paying for licences for that too?

With the right IT support, you can switch to Linux or Chrome OS. Openoffice and LibreOffice are great (and free!) replacements for paid office software. And you can also find replacements for creative software – GIMP and Inkscape can do almost everything that you can do with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and they cost nothing.

For easy installation and updating, you can use Ninite to install or update multiple free apps in a single installation.

Free and open-source alternatives to everything from music editing to 3D modelling can be found if you know where to look.

Can your school facilities be used by the wider community?

Does your school have a large hall or classrooms you could rent out at a competitive price? How about car parking space for non-school hours? Could space be used for local community functions?

You can, for example, hold your local summer fair on school grounds and have pupils get involved in different stalls and games to generate a small income.

If you have a gym, swimming pool, playing fields or sports hall, there are a number of companies that will manage these facilities for you so that they can be used out of school hours.

It’s not always easy trying to save money in a school, especially when it is so difficult to find the time to focus on finding solutions. However, with a few changes and support from your staff and the students, it will eventually become second nature. The key is to be creative and keep thinking about innovative ways to cut back.