01 Feb School IT standards hike meets school IT budget squeeze: how school business leaders can respond
It seems like an impossible choice, doesn’t it? Schools are being directed to upgrade their IT to meet new DfE school IT standards – yet every school IT budget is critically under pressure as never before.
Effective IT opens new educational opportunities and is vital for the successful functioning of the school – but budgeting realities are biting hard.
90% of schools say their budgets will run out in 2023 thanks to the combined forces of spiraling energy costs, high inflation and rising staffing costs.
Striking a balance is a challenge. So, what should school business leaders do?
There’s only one direction to turn. You need to boost the efficiency of what you have, driving out every redundancy or unnecessary cost, and making very smart and informed purchasing decisions as you augment school IT systems for the future.
If your school can only do this effectively, it is possible to strike a fresh balance between school IT standards and the budget.
Making school IT budget savings and driving IT efficiencies
Without expert input, it can be extremely difficult for a school to identify areas for savings and make the smartest purchases that won’t break the bank, but will deliver the right results.
Many now have rather complex IT systems, laden with hastily-chosen upgrades and software additions implemented in response to the pandemic. Different solutions have been sold in and implemented by different providers in a rush, without appreciation of the full picture.
This is as true in a small primary school without a dedicated IT specialist as for a large, multi-academy trust where resources are split across sites.
For some it has unquestionably created inefficiencies, duplications, disconnections and wasted expenditure that schools could do without.
There are several places your school should look, with the twin aims of lowering operational costs and raising your school IT standards to meet DfE benchmarks:
- Cloud solutions: reducing the total cost of school network ownership by moving costly IT services off-premise.
- Email security: sourcing economical hosting with in-built security keeps all your users protected.
- Continuity: smart backup and disaster recovery solutions prevents downtime and protects data so neither school operations nor education are disrupted.
- Cyber-defence: preventing intrusion and reducing malware risks with enterprise-grade cyber-protection and monitoring.
- Connectivity: assuring fast and dependable access to IT and educational systems in every school building, across the campus and remotely via Wi-Fi and broadband.
Making smart choices to raise school IT standards
Many schools are burdened with legacy networks and on-premise servers which are increasingly inefficient to run on-site. These can seem a barrier to modernising and upgrading systems to meet changing standards.
Making best use of IT budget is essential. A school is a relatively small organisation, even within a multi-academy trust. As such, they can struggle to access the latest IT at attainable prices, since the most competitive packages are optimised for larger organisations.
The range of IT options available is vast. Without deep technical knowledge, it’s challenging for many school business leaders to specify their needs and interdependencies or the integration challenges they may face.
It is a very tall order for school business leaders to navigate it all and find the most cost effective and technically optimal way forwards. And, with so many school IT services and providers available, it can be hard to see who can help.
How smart school business leaders take action
Simply IT can help. We can help you identify your needs, current gaps, and formulate an effective IT strategy to bring your school up to the DfE’s exacting school IT standards.
Through a school IT audit we can help you gain understanding of how to best utilise limited school IT budget, identify savings, and weed out waste and duplication as you modernise.
We often help school IT owners to:
- make the most of the cloud, saving on on-premises equipment.
- implement cost-effective and secure data backup.
- reduce costly on-site IT support and reduce energy costs of running IT 24/7.
- gain access to sophisticated cloud solutions typically out of reach for smaller organisations.
- make smarter purchasing decisions without having to look around for the best deals.
Our expertise in helping schools with IT and our enterprise-grade IT capabilities means we’re perfectly placed to help schools reduce costs and meet government’s school IT standards.