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How an agile tech budget helps schools in uncertain financial times

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When it comes to school ICT budgets, it’s clear there’s never enough money for everything a school would like. But increasingly, schools are getting better at making strategic investments and making smarter use of the tools they already have. That’s according to our annual State of Technology in Education report.

Yet, financial pressure always made strategic objectives harder to achieve, even before the impact of COVID-19. So, could a more agile approach to IT investment help schools prepare for unexpected costs during uncertain financial times?

What is agile budgeting?

With a traditional approach to budgeting, in which you allocate your costs a year ahead, you’re given very little room for manoeuvre in an unpredictable climate. You’re also assuming the state of play for projects as far away as 10 months. And as we’ve seen in 2020, the world can change at a moment’s notice.

Agile budgeting, however, means creating your budget in sprints, either monthly or for each term. This way, you can more accurately calculate exactly how much each term or project is going to cost, based on pupils’ needs, school’s goals and the current (ever-shifting) landscape.

When it comes to your ICT budgeting, it’s even more helpful to be agile. You’ll have the flexibility to take into account shifting requirements such as classroom hardware, remote software, licenses, and any other tech supplies you might need to support post-lockdown protocols.

What are schools spending this academic year?

According to BESA’s report, ICT in UK Maintained Schools, there is almost no evidence that schools are downgrading their ICT budgets, compared to previous years. 

In fact, there’s likely to be more budget for tech this year — two-thirds of primary and secondary schools are planning to invest more in 2020. Much of the new investment, according to the report, is being made in assessment solutions and pupil devices, with the primary sector also investing in learning platforms and digital content.

Schools are, therefore, making smarter investments in tools that are both upgradeable, future-proof and support wider school objectives such as attainment and results. Indeed, respondents to our annual State of Technology in Education survey indicated a trend towards investments that fit the longer-term goals of the school. 

An agile approach to forecasting and spending, therefore, could allow this year’s tech budget to stretch further and address wider strategic objectives. That way, you can plan accurately for at least a few weeks or months, and if an unexpected requirement is announced, you can readjust in the next round of budgeting.

By reassessing tech budgets throughout the school year, and investing wisely in tools that have the lowest cost of ownership like a Promethean ActivPanel, you’ll have greater peace of mind you can tackle unexpected financial hurdles as they appear. To find out if your school could benefit from our front-of-class technologies that encourage pupil engagement and boost school results, request an on-site or remote demo.

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The State of Technology in Education Report 2020/21

See what over 2,000 educators said about strategy and tech use this year and over the last 5 in our widest-reaching report to date.

View the report