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The B Word (Budget) And The Rise of The School Business Manager

Published on 14/09/16

As you may already know, the role of a School Business Manager is to be a strategic enforcer; whether this is in regards to what policies are in place, hiring, diring, or looking after the pennies. They are usually the unsung heroes of any school. 

Just to refresh your memory, we wrote a post about the "Top 5 Challenges Facing School Business Managers" - where we discussed how it's not always easy to implement significant changes within a school without rocking the boat too much.

However, the main responsibility of the SBM is to ensure the school is effective, efficient, and constantly evolving. That being said, how can one school expect to perform on the same level as another with significantly less funding? According to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), it is the outdated grant system that, in 2015, dedicated only £4,208 per pupil in poorly funded areas compared to the £6,297 per pupil in the highest funded schools.

This all changed in March 2016, when it was decided that the Department for Education pledged to ensure that "every school and local area, no matter where they are in the country, is funded fairly according to need rather than the oddities of history; meaning areas of highest need will attract the most funding and ensuring that all children get access to the education they deserve".

Instead of funding going through local authorities, who were previously responsible for how much funding schools were allocated, the money now goes straight to the schools. This provides headteachers with more certainty over future budgets - allowing them to plan and structure their spending more effectively and in advance. It now addresses the fact that all schools are unique and each individual school should be able to decide what is best for its pupils. 

Managing the budget of any school, regardless of size and situation, is a difficult prospect. Distributing funding across various faculties, areas and projects, whilst ensuring that every child is getting the education they deserve - is what we would call a "heavy load".

About 80% of a school's spending goes on salaries, which only leaves 20% to play with. This means that saving money where possible becomes top priority - following the mantra of "every little helps".

We have conjured up a few tips for SBM's for saving money and managing budgets:

Bulk Buy

Buy as much as possible from one source in order to get the biggest discounts.

Value Over Price

Know the difference between good value and simply cheap! More often than not, quality is a compromise and could result in a decrease in the item's longevity.

Cost Cutting

Get any new suppliers to prepare a full cost analysis and never forget to ask for discount - after all - if you don't ask, you don't get.


Don't be afraid to ask for the best prices from new and existing suppliers. If you have been with a supplier for a long period of time, they will value your custom and potentially thank you with a small token of their appreciation (discount).

Service Benefits

Often, you will find that services pair up with one another in order to save their customers time and money.

Do It Together

Bear in mind that joint procurement can cut costs by at least 10%. Ask any schools in the area if they want to join forces for equal rewards. Everyone loves a bargain!

Energy Efficient / Sustainable

Even minor differences, such a upgrading to more efficient light fittings could result in a 70% energy saving! That could equate to tens of thousands of pounds!

Hopefully this has provided you with some money saving ideas of your own. If you're interested in getting a new school website, but are also on a tight budget - we offer template designs at great value! Join our referral program and become an e4education Ambassador today for extra discounts and bonuses!