During our research into ICT spend, we found that some secondary schools, for instance, are spending as much as £135 per pupil on school-employed ICT teams and any outsourced technical support.

But when we speak with schools about how they can reduce these costs, we suggest that if you're spending more than £115 per pupil on ICT support, then you're spending too much and not deriving the best value from your ICT investments.

So how can you ensure the technology in your school is working for you – and your budget? Whilst budgets are remaining flat this will mean a reduction in real terms taking into account pensions, national insurance and inflation – the Institute of Fiscal Studies claims this could be as high as 12% by 2020.

This means both capital and revenue budgets are under constant pressure, but there is a way around this problem; one of the most effective ways to reduce ICT costs is to change the way your budgets are used.

Rather than having a large capital outlay on hardware and replacing costly servers like-for-like when they reach the end of their functional service, you could become a ‘serverless school’ where services and systems are delivered to staff and students through the internet.

This allows the costs to be spread through a friendlier revenue model, and means you can opt for more cost-effective internet-optimised devices for your teachers and students. It not only makes financial planning easier but reduces the need for schools to build up a capital fund for future ICT purchases.

Every school has a personalised strategy shaping their approach towards becoming serverless - this could include migrating the Management Information System (MIS) and the commoditisation of what is traditionally very complex and expensive locally-based hardware into services such as Wireless as a Service (WaaS), Filtering as a Service (FaaS) and Backup as a Service (BaaS).

For example, a typical primary school will spend £1,300pa on hardware and support for their admin server hosting their MIS; by migrating to a cloud-based service this can be realised as an annual saving.

For more advice, insights and tips, check out the other blogs in our Budget Solutions series at www.rm.com/blog

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