Schools in England are being promised an extra £1.3bn over the next two years after the Government bowed to pressure from campaigns around funding shortages. However, many schools and colleges will still be trying to balance the books with the current limited funding available while trying to improve the services they can offer to attract new students and improve staff retention.
Realising the potential of technology to help tackle these issues is often overlooked as it is considered an unnecessary expense, which ultimately results in a downturn in student and staff numbers, as systems become dated and unworkable.
Senior management teams are now required to be more commercially savvy. IT managers, bursars and head teachers are fast learning that restricted, legacy systems can be replaced by flexible systems offered in the commercial marketplace at a fraction of the cost, allowing them to move with times.
Below, I highlight some of the key areas where costs have been reduced and services greatly improved:
Many schools and colleges are under the impression that their internet connectivity is co-funded and that they currently benefit from reduced costs, so they never review their options. Upon engaging with the commercial marketplace, they are a fast learning this is not the case and more attractive terms can be found with commercial internet service providers.
Web filtering solutions
Traditionally, schools and colleges have used a handful of UK providers for their filtering solutions believing they were protecting their staff and students from harmful web content; meanwhile their staff must wait weeks for service changes to be made to expensive contracts. IT managers are now deploying commercial solutions that can be run in-house that offer complete protection, instant changes and cost reductions.
Educational establishments seem unaware that the traditional line market (ISDN) will be rendered obsolete as of 2025 and will be replaced by SIP/VoIP solutions. These modern telephony solutions benefit from zero-rated call charges through certain providers, so a school or college spending around £500 a month on calls and lines for example can reduce the cost to around £90 per month.
While traditional suppliers seem to have had the education sector’s best interests at heart, these solutions are simply not fit for purpose as more schools and colleges use wireless devices as an integral part of the learning environment. Modern solutions give you the coverage you need while also allowing IT managers to have complete visibility of the devices being used on the Wi-Fi network.
As one of the leading UK technology suppliers for education, swcomms can provide free consultation services on any of the above subjects. Please do not hesitate to contact me to find out more.