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Exploring income generation in schools - necessity v distraction

9 June 2014

Download a full copy of the report here

Read another section of the report:

defining income generation

necessity v distraction

leading from the front

capacity is key

sweating your assets

sharing good practice

School budgets are coming under increasing pressure year on year and regardless of whether they are a maintained school or an academy, schools are unlikely to be able to rely wholly on government funding in order to achieve the plans they have for growth, either in the short or long term.

The generation of additional income is no longer a question of choice – it is increasingly becoming a necessity and is perceived by many sector leaders as being an essential tool with which to ‘oil the wheels’ and sustain excellence and ongoing improvements in learning.

According to the IFS around 65% of primary schools and 80% of secondary schools will see a real-term cut in their budget between 2010-11 and 2014-15. Therefore, schools are under growing pressure to adopt a more entrepreneurial ethos by improving links with employers and increasing commercial income from these links.

For many publicly funded schools, income generation is a ‘private sector’ approach and it goes against the grain to be ‘commercialising’ education in this way. Some are reluctant, in times of increasing fiscal scrutiny and accountability, to be seen to be taking entrepreneurial risks with monies from the public purse.

Whilst it is accepted that the sector’s attitude to risk needs to be reconsidered, there is also a cultural change that needs to take place for this to happen – an acceptance that business can be an engine that drives school improvement coupled with the desire to find the means by which it can be effected successfully. It can also be used as an opportunity for schools to develop employability skills in their students by actively involving them in entrepreneurial and enterprising opportunities. The local community could also stand to gain from increased and better facilities on its doorstep.

The shrinking role of the local authority in this arena is also an opportunity for schools to promote greater collaboration, pool resources and utilise available capital. The need for schools to work together has never been more important and being part of a partnership is preferable to being a single, potentially isolated school. Teaching schools are an excellent example of genuine collaboration for self-improvement.

A structured approach...

Whatever strategy a school decides to adopt it is important that a structured and consistent approach is followed so that the most effective and risk free activities and initiatives are followed. This should include a four stage process of identifying those assets and resources to be used for generating income, assessing the opportunities, putting in place robust policies and procedures to manage any activity and evaluating the activity against pre-agreed objectives.

A school will need to consider how much financial benefit needs to be realised from income generation to make the effort worthwhile. The figure will be different for every school and cannot be identified as a national or regional benchmark.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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