Saving money for a school budget is the desired outcome for many within the education sector. Why is this and can an online alternative provision assist?
EDClass’ teacher, David Hickey, taught as a headteacher across schools in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire and highlighted how schools should take appropriate steps to ensure that they accommodate their budget requirements. Mr Hickey said:
“Schools should consider collaborating together and sharing costs with other schools in terms of staffing and how they share their resources. Certain schools, that aren’t necessarily academies, may work together in cluster and share resources so no schools work alone.”
Children not feeling valued can cause an excessive hindrance to the progression of a school regarding budgets due to lapses in behavioural judgment and other factors.
Many students are enrolled on alternative provisions, but should they be a long-term or temporary solution? Can they benefit students long-term? According to Ofsted statistics:
“Roughly 7,000 primary-age pupils are known to be in state-funded, unregistered and independent AP. This is a small portion of all primary-age pupils. However, the number of primary-age pupils referred to alternative provision (AP) has been rising in England over the last 5 years.”
Interventions for younger pupils during primary years must occur to allow for a suitable solution which caters to their specific needs and can afford them a better future in later life.
Students with behavioural challenges will benefit from learning at their own pace away from the added pressures of peers and a school environment that could be imposed on them.
All of this can support budgets due to structured plans being put in place before anything drastic has to be implemented.
Saving on reprographics
Reprographics can cause schools to waste a lot of money, especially for those who are excluded. An online alternative provision could be a great cost-effective solution to help with this issue. Mr Hickey said:
“Reprographics can be quite a hassle and costly, especially for those who are excluded. Some may not even engage with paper-based work, but online learning could reignite their passion for learning with structured learning opportunities.”
“Sending work home also contributes to paper wastage. But, having an online provision may be more appealing and engaging for the child instead of having a folder full of photocopies, which often is not given much thought and it may not have any link to what is relevant in their classroom or what the child needs.”
“An online alternative provision becomes another voice for the student and they can work in unison with the school. It can be a fresh start for the child as they feel that someone be there for them in their hour of need.”
Students outside of the mainstream setting still require support; it’s just about implementing the correct provision to help these students who may be struggling.
Sharing costs to save
Sharing costs across schools and working as a ‘cluster’ could also be a tactical approach to help save on budgets. Training schools can help initiate new ideas and formulate strategies for behavioural improvement which can benefit the overall budget of a school in the long run. Mr Hickey said:
“Schools should look at the resources and subscriptions that they have and see if they are not being used effectively. Subscriptions can be reviewed that help fit the curriculum and an online resource can help with that. It might only be a small number of staff that use them so they may not be used effectively.”
“Looking at health and safety is crucial too. Some schools may not see it as a priority, but in regards to long-term projects or developing early years units it could be good to share plans so everything is in order and significant costs can be saved all around.”
Schools working in synergy and cooperating to enhance educational delivery for students can save on costs and benefit both staff and students; a win-win for all.
Taxi journeys are costly in terms of money and academic and wellbeing development
Another aspect that has raised some issues has been rising fuel costs and taxi fares for students and families. The average cost of a taxi fare ranges from £1.20 to £3 per mile and in some cases, children live tens of miles away from their schools. This money could be better used elsewhere and allow students to focus more on their learning if they are supported. Mr Hickey said:
“Firstly, not only are you looking at the cost, but what the child may be doing on that journey which could be time wasted and perhaps be used better at home.”
“Having access to qualified teaching support online is amazing. Support can be provided straight away for their learning or wellbeing.”
“It’s also important that children have a substantial breakfast and sometimes in school, this goes unnoticed. But an online alternative provision can provide structure to ensure the child has been fed and is ready to learn.”
Having a pastoral wraparound approach for students, especially those with behavioural problems can aid their development and also the budgets of schools.
Save on exclusions
An online alternative provision can supply real benefits to students, especially those who are at risk of exclusion. Excluding students can cost the taxpayer £370k throughout their life.
Therefore, the right solution must be searched for to save on school budgets and future expenditures.
The numerous staff that have to get involved and the time spent attending to these students could be used better elsewhere. Those who have fluctuated timetables also result in a member of staff being taken away, so an online provision could accommodate certain needs. Mr Hickey said:
“Exclusions can affect staff wellbeing subsequently impacting staff attendance and then rising costs as a result.”
“I think you can look at costs in terms of where a child’s needs haven’t been met properly, where perhaps an online provision could have come in earlier before they were excluded to maybe help.”
Put a systematically approached support system in place
Schools must have effective and immediate IT support in place to help assist them and their students. If there is a lacklustre provider in place then this can heavily impact progress and budgets.
Schools may use several different types of applications to support their students. However, this could be another avenue to help support budgets.
Having one platform where everything is under one bracket in terms of training, recaps, reminders, improvements and updates can be extremely cost-effective.
Mr Hickey said:
“Some suitable online alternative provisions can provide this, it’s just a case of prioritising and focusing on one which could potentially save schools a lot of money in the long run.”
Online alternative provisions can work in unison with schools and students and provide solutions to tightened budgets. Staffing problems since the pandemic have caused several challenges but APs can help. Mr Hickey said:
“Staff problems have caused several problems and I think an online alternative provision can definitely assist. These provisions can be another support for these children and relieve pressures placed on workforces.”
“It’s important that safeguarding is prioritised when children are learning online as there have been some instances where they have been exposed, but having content online with support is amazing.”
How EDClass can assist
The cost-effectiveness that EDClass provides in terms of value for money is undeniable. Support is fully given to schools and students with anything they require.
Elaborate safeguarding mechanisms are integrated into the platform tracking the IP of the learner and records everything that is said or on video. Attendance and wellbeing reports are also provided to ensure a student is safe.
One-to-one support is supplied by UK-qualified teachers with a pastoral wraparound care approach to allow students to feel valued and reach their educational potential.
Schools and students can also take advantage of the expansive learning lesson content. Students can be educated from the comfort of their own homes.
If you would like to see the platform for yourself then call the team on 01909 568 338, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free online demonstration here or by clicking the button below.