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Budget boundaries — how to optimise spend towards school objectives

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Budgets remain a contentious issue for schools. While the UK government announced funding to support with costs associated with Covid, our survey respondents were already concerned about the impact of budget on strategy.

Over half of senior leaders agree budget is still a key factor when devising their school’s strategy — a further 38% say it’s a consideration. 

But is there a positive to come from the cloud of negativity? When it comes to technology, schools are under intense pressure to make best use of the budgets and tools they have. So, the number of educators that say money is invested in the right tools has gone up by 13% in five years. 

What budget do schools have for ICT?

As Adrian Shorthouse, Headteacher at Kewaigue Primary School, explains: budgets are always a challenge. Now schools have to be creative with what tech they have or how they invest, and prioritise the most valuable learning tools.


It is projected that budgets will rise by +10% in 2020. According to BESA, there is always variation in budgets between schools and between years, but on average ICT budgets expanded by +3% in 2019.

“After 3 years of a deficit budget we are finally at a balanced budget. However there is no budget for further IT expenditure.”
Head of Department/Faculty, Local Authority Primary, London

The outlook for 2021 is for a contraction in budgets after significant increases during 2020.

What’s changed in half a decade?

5 years ago, 29% of educators believed their school’s tech budget allocation was at the right level; that number has dropped by 16% today. IT managers have lost the most confidence in their schools’ IT budgets: 46% were happy with the level of investment in 2016, yet only 19% say the same 5 years on. 

But it seems that schools are making smarter ICT investments overall. The number of educators that believe money is correctly invested has gone up by 13% in the same period.

How schools can optimise their investments for attainment

Schools increasingly recognise that investment in high-end equipment, like a 3D printer for example, may look impressive. But at the same time, tools of this nature do little to contribute towards school’s strategic goals like results and attainment.

By taking a more strategic approach to investment, schools can weigh up the benefits of each new piece of equipment, as well as understand how it will be used day-to-day. If the hardware is upgradeable, can support interactive learning, collaborative activities, and develop a growth mindset in pupils, it will boost your schools results and attainment too. Can it be used in conjunction with existing tech and tools? Even better.

For more key facts and stats about the current education landscape, from budgets to training, take a look at the State of Technology in Education Report 2020/21.

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The State of Technology in Education Report 2020/21

Our latest and greatest report is here! 5 years of edtech trends, surprising stats and candid insights from over 2,000 educators.

View the report