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exploring income generation in schools - sweating your assets

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

Whichever markets a school decides to target, either in the short or long term, it is important they ‘sweat their assets’. Which assets and resources are eventually leveraged to generate additional income will very much depend on each individual school but these fall in to three main categories:


Can the estate and infrastructure be used to generate income? These could include the letting of school facilities such as sports halls, classrooms, sports pitches, theatres and catering facilities for local community clubs, businesses and private individuals. It is estimated that schools are being utilised for only approximately 55% of the time.

Any commercial letting or residential letting of such a building would not be sustainable in these circumstances. Income generation projects could therefore take place throughout the year or alternatively during the summer holidays only, thus dealing with some of the concerns that might be raised around core purpose. For some this might seem a half measure but for those wishing to bring about a gradual shift in approach towards income generation this could be a way of gradually introducing such activities.

Remember, schools are businesses. It will be the entrepreneur in us that will prove just how much extra revenue can be generated to assist in enhancing dwindling budgets!

Knowledge Capital

Does the school have particular expertise or skills in areas such as IT or financial management that it could maximise?


Is there overcapacity that could be better utilised? This could encompass grounds maintenance services, catering, caretaking and payroll services.

Case Study

St James School in Exeter is a PFI secondary school, one of five in the city. As a PFI school it means that whilst the school can be used for lettings and income generation during out of school hours, the school has no control over or direct benefit from the activities.

In March 2014 Browne Jacobson wanted to run its first education conference in Exeter and was looking for a venue. One of the topics of the conference was income generation from school assets and therefore St James was proposed as a suitable venue.

St James runs a Catering GCSE and a group of 18 year nine students were tasked with organising and running the event as part of the curriculum delivery of the GCSE, splitting themselves into ‘task groups’ and identifying key areas of responsibility from catering and quality assurance to customer care and logistics.

The event has enabled the students to see the practical implementation of what they are studying and has enabled them to see the business side of the catering course.

training and events


ISBL regional Conference Sheffield

Browne Jacobson’s Associate Sophie Jackson discusses the rise in growth of SEN and the impact of this on schools. Please note that this event was postponed from June 2020.

View event


CST Inaugural Annual Conference Hilton Metropole, NEC, National Exhibition Centre, Pendigo Way, Marston Green, Birmingham, B40 1PP

Come and meet the team at CST’s Inaugural Annual Conference this summer. Partner Nick MacKenzie will also be delivering a workshop on governance leadership.

View event

focus on...

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Negotiating contracts under PPN04/20 with Bishop Fleming

This webinar will explore the potential pitfalls of contract negotiation and the regularity implications for Academies. After the webinar you will be well prepared to ensure that you have commercially competitive contracts, that also comply with the Academies Financial Handbook.


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As we enter the second week of school closure, we have developed a new guidance for Boards to help you implement robust structures for urgent decision-making.


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Coronavirus – guidance to social care and schools on vulnerable children and young people

With Covid-19 expected to place a substantial burden on statutory services and school closures being put into effect, the Government has now issued guidance on continued protection of this group.


Legal updates

Pension Scheme Exit Payment – an unplanned liability?

We have recently encountered a number of situations where academies have found themselves liable to large sums of money after their commercial contracts with catering providers have exposed them to reimburse payments.


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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