Decide on priorities Your aim is to save some money for the school by making good decisions about ICT. It’ll be important to show how that can be done. So it’s time to decide where to start.
One imperative, and it’s more to do with management than technology, is to weigh the balance between going for quick immediate results on the one hand, and laying the foundations for longer term efficiency and savings on the other. A good example of playing the longer game is found in our Microsoft® Case Study of West Hatch High School. http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=4000008128 It begins with the governors agreeing, in 2008, to commence a six year ICT transformation project starting with a complete rebuild of the network infrastructure. That, clearly, tells of vision, leadership and long term commitment. Four years on, with no sign of stopping, story after story now comes from West Hatch of the effects on learning, efficiency and, yes, cost-saving, of that early decisiveness.
Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to demonstrate a quicker impact on the budget, and another story, from Islay High School, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ukschools/archive/2010/10/21/reducing-the-school-printingbudget-by-two-thirds.aspx tells of a drive on paper saving – “No printed handouts or memos” – that cut paper and printing by an astonishing eighty percent from 2006 to 2007. Money saved was spent on student and staff netbooks.
Clearly, we can’t tell you what your priorities ought to be. There’s something to be said for a quick demonstration of what’s possible, but it’s more than likely that the long haul has to start in the background, too. It’s the planning that’s important, with a transparent whole-school collaborative approach and a strong steer from leadership.
Green, lean and far from mean
Trying for cost savings almost by definition addresses the increasingly important ‘Green’agenda along the way. The main contributor here is a reduction in the use of electricity, but there are savings to be made, too, in the use of paper and the consumables involved in printing and copying. Reducing the amount of hardware in the school, and extending its life also help make a positive environmental contribution.
Many schools are highly active in seeking to reduce their impact on the environment, signed up in many cases to organisations such as ‘Eco-Schools’
Where this is the case, the drive for cost saving will both support and be informed by those responsible for the environmental effort, and there’s much to be gained from working together to ensure that nothing’s missed on either side.
To help your school further with cost saving, we have partnered with the Guardian to make our new 'Cost Saving in Education' eBook exclusively available within their Teacher Network until the end of September 2012. The eBook can be viewed/downloaded directly via the Guardian's Teacher Network download centre.