Planning and managing School ICT budgets can be particularly challenging. Technology is advancing at a lightening pace and is a major part of every aspect of school life. Funds are always tight. It's become increasingly important to do more with less. Decisions need to be made wisely.
That's why, forecasting the ICT provision and spend can be a potential minefield.
As well as determining investment for future ICT needs, costs and projections, you will need to make an allowance for any hardware, software, staff training or development projects. You will also have to consider any compliance issues that may impact on safeguarding, e.g. cybersecurity, data protection and e-safety.
One thing is clear, in order to maintain expected standards, against an ever-expanding ICT remit, your budget will need to stretch.
So how can you help your school to save money?
We suggest you take these THREE steps ...
Draw up a clear ICT Strategy & VisionHere, developing an ICT Strategy that complements your organisation's overall vision and objectives is key. Your strategic priorities become the rationale, so you can focus wisely when setting your ICT budget. An effective Strategic ICT Group with allow you to see the bigger picture and will stop 'buying ICT for ICT's sake', keep you focused on what your trust, schools, teachers and students actually need.
Carry out an ICT Audit and Current State Review (CSR)This will provide you with a clear insight into the present health of your MAT or school's ICT systems and operations. Many schools and trusts choose to use an external advisor in order to provide an independent evaluation of their current ICT. An impartial evaluation supports effective governance as it provides a snapshot of current practice to senior leaders and governors. A CSR can be done at any time. If funds are available, it can be carried out immediately, or it can be planned for in advance, the cost being included in next year's budget.
Close the GapOnce you have done a CSR, you will be able to confidently determine 'where you are' against 'what you need to do next' allowing you to optimise your ICT budget. This will also ensure your MAT or schools' ICT is working most effectively to realise your short-term goals.
As independent ICT advisors to UK Education we have a wealth of experience that we’d be happy to share. If you would like us to carry out a CS Review, the process starts with an ICT Audit where one of our Education ICT advisors will spend around three days at your school, with up to an additional day for any subsequent schools (in the case of MATs). The CS Review will provide you with a comprehensive action plan, identifying effective steps you can take to streamline and simplify your existing ICT.
Get in touch now if you'd like to find out more about how you can maximise next year's ICT budget. We offer an initial FREE 30 minute phone consultation with no obligation - so what have you got to lose?