Our stretched schools should turn to alternative finance options

The subject of education budgets has taken its fair share of the limelight over the last few years, though sadly for the wrong reasons, with schools across the UK facing ongoing pressures when it comes to funding.

Last week, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) released a new report detailing the scale of this, with more than 60% of local authority maintained primary schools and over two thirds of secondary schools spending more than their allotted income in 2016-17, and this shows no sign of slowing down.

Additionally, despite there being more pupils in the education system than ever before, per-pupil funding appears to be in decline, which poses the question, just how are our schools going to access the funds needed to support pupil development?

There’s a need for schools to procure new technology, furniture and facilities to provide students with the right learning environment, and this is often a regular, annual expense. But when budgets are stretched, schools are under growing pressure to explore alternative options, to ensure they can cater for this essential expenditure.

Increasingly, we see schools turning to alternative methods to cover these costs, from fundraising initiatives to operating lease agreements – an off-balance sheet solution that helps the cost of investment to be spread over a more suitable period.

What is clear is that the landscape is changing, meaning that schools and those supplying into the education sector need to consider how they can ensure they have access to the right tools to support ongoing development and help our children to thrive.

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