Schools look to improve efficiency and make millions in savings

Education sector experts will be called in to help schools save up to £1 billion by 2019/20, the Department for Education (DfE) has revealed.

School Systems Minister Lord Agnew said experts will be sent to schools free of charge to help them “make every penny of education funding count”.

He said schools unnecessarily spend millions of pounds each year on running costs and advice will be given to help school leaders maximise their resources and budgets.

This may include “smarter ways” to buy essential services like water or electricity, or “innovative ways” of timetabling classes to free up teachers’ time.

The DfE suggests that the measures could save up to £1 billion a year which could be reinvested into “frontline resources”.

Mr Agnew said: “How schools use their money is important in delivering the best outcomes for pupils and business leaders are essential in ensuring the cogs of a school keep on turning.

“We know time is precious for school staff and making every penny count is vital. Together with our wider package of support for schools, these advisers will help us to maximise resources, freeing up teachers to focus on delivering a knowledge-rich education and giving every pupil the opportunity to make the most of their lives.”

University of Brighton Academies Trust was among the first to be involved in the scheme.

Dr John Smith, its CEO and Accounting Officer, said: “As an experienced senior budget manager and educationalist, the Schools Efficiency Adviser, having invested time in understanding the particular context and comparing costs to a range of benchmarks, provided alternative perspectives on use of resource which could positively impact the budget, providing robust yet supportive challenge. This resulted in alternative strategies for some resource management being adopted by the academy resulting in a longer term sustainable budget being set.”

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