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The Benefits of Asset Management in Schools

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Schools in the UK are facing significant financial pressures with new projections suggesting that 90% of schools will have lower per pupil funding in real terms in 2023-24 than in previous years.

The education sector in the UK remains at the forefront of the news in light of recent projections that suggest that nine out of ten schools in England will have run out of money by September. Data from the National Association of Head Teachers shows that 50% of its members say their school will be in a deficit, with almost all head teachers expecting to be in the red by September. 

On top of facing funding cuts, schools throughout the UK are dealing with rising costs of teacher salaries, pensions and resources. Additionally, schools are constantly implementing new technology and infrastructure to keep up with the constant evolution of technology. The outcome of this is schools having to make difficult decisions, such as cutting programs, reducing staff or increasing class sizes, all of which will negatively impact the quality of education. 

The aforementioned issues faced by schools throughout the UK highlight the need for remedy and whilst there will never be a ‘fix all solution’, schools may benefit from using asset management systems to help them reduce costs and improve their financial position amidst a time of high financial pressure.

What is asset management and why is it important for schools?

Asset management involves tracking and managing a school’s physical and soft assets. Physical assets typically include items ranging from simple consumables such as stationery and textbooks to the technology the school owns such as laptops, whiteboards and other IT equipment. Soft assets refer to the school’s software licenses.

In the case of the majority of schools in the UK, implementing the right asset management tool will make it easier for the institution to keep track of what physical assets – such as lab equipment, laptops and stationery – they have, where they are and how available they are for students or teachers to use. Effective asset management will also allow the school to gain insight into the working condition of all the assets they possess allowing schools to schedule maintenance or replacements in a more efficient way. 

Overall, asset management allows the school to run more efficiently and provide a higher level of service to the students as teachers have more insight into which of the assets are available for teaching, and if needed, which assets need replacing or fixed. 

The Benefits of Asset Management in Schools and Education

Asset management provides a lot of benefits to the day to day running of schools, however it is also vital for addressing the continually pressing issue of increasing financial pressures experienced by the majority of schools across the UK. Here are some of the key benefits schools can gain through implementing asset management systems into their institutions to reduce the impacts of financial pressures:

1. Establishing the lifecycle of school assets
Through the implementation of asset management tools, schools will gain visibility over the lifecycle of their assets. Whether that is how long science equipment is remaining functional or the condition and health of computers, asset management tools will allow the school to determine how long each asset remains functional before needing to upgrade or replace equipment. This will allow institutions to reduce their costs as they can now plan in advance for the replacements or repairs of assets in a more efficient and cost effective manner rather than relying on emergency repairs or replacements of equipment that unexpectedly fails. 

2. Setting Discipline on Tech and Software Spending
On average, schools across the UK spend around £900 million on technology, software and EdTech. However, in the context of falling budgets for schools in general, optimising their spending on technology and software is crucial to helping remedy the current financial pressures. Through the use of asset management systems, schools can ensure that they are only paying for what they need and avoiding unnecessary spending on technology or softwares that are deemed to have a poor return on investment. 

By having visibility on all of the available technology in the schools possession, it also removes the issue of unnecessary spending on duplicate assets. For example, a teacher may request more tablets, yet when looking at the data in the asset management system, they can see a number of tablets are not being used in another department. 

3. Compliance with regulatory requirements
All schools in the UK are required to keep records of all their assets for compliance with data protection laws. For example, all schools must comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Under the GDPR, schools are required to keep a record of all information relating to students and staff. Through utilising asset management, schools have complete visibility of all their IT assets which contains all of the information that is needed to comply with GDPR. In addition to this, schools must comply with health and safety regulations. By employing an asset management system into their practice, schools can ensure all of their assets that pertain to health and safety regulations are fit for purpose and can alert the school when these particular assets require maintenance or replacing.

4. Enhanced Asset Clarity Offers Improved Operational Efficiency
In line with the day to day benefits asset management brings to a school, achieving operational efficiency can also help with the financial position of the school. Through having a clear picture of their assets, schools can improve their preparedness by planning and allocating their assets where they are needed most. This will reduce wasted resources and ensure each asset is being used with maximum efficiency. To give an example of what this might look like, a school could identify that a department has an allocation of laptops that are not being used frequently enough to warrant the allocation. As the school can now monitor the usage of this asset, they can reallocate the laptops to a department that needs the most and save unnecessarily purchasing more laptops.

5. When crisis strikes
Schools that still depend on ‘old school’ methods for managing their assets run the risk of fire or other circumstances destroying their 

records. This can be costly for schools when it comes to insurance claims to be filed for lost assets as they will have no evidence of the assets they possessed meaning they will likely have to replace all lost items at their own expense. Through employing an asset management system, storing all this information in the cloud keeps it out of harm’s way and can be continually updated. 

In conclusion, as schools continue to face ongoing cuts and increased costs, finding a way to reduce costs and improve their financial position is crucial for the longevity of the school. Whilst there is no miraculous cure to this problem, asset management is one way schools can achieve this.

Researched and written by Charlie Green, Senior Research Analyst at Comparesoft

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