Schools must optimise revenue from available resources

Schools today are suffering from unprecedented funding shortages.  According to The Institute for Fiscal Studies, schools in England are facing the biggest fall in per-pupil spending in 30 years. (1) As a result, fundraising has become an essential part of school life and educationalists must be increasingly creative in looking for fresh ways to relieve budgetary pressure.

Many schools have already woken up to the revenue generating opportunities of hiring out facilities for use by the local community.  Obvious facilities to hire include football pitches, badminton courts, basketball courts and swimming pools.  But schools could generate additional revenue from hiring less obvious facilities such as carparks, specialist classrooms and other flexible spaces that can be used for a variety of different activities – with every asset owned, from overhead projectors and interactive whiteboards to Wi-Fi, adding to their value.

Schools can also optimise margins and increase revenue from their lettings services by implementing a simple online booking system. Kajima Community’s online lettings software, BookingsPlus combines the four essential elements of Marketing, Bookings, Payments and Communication to deliver community use in one seamless process. Users can choose to use the system as a stand-alone platform, or incorporate the marketing services offered by Kajima Community’s BookingsGuru service to help boost bookings.  

This money generated, which for BookingsPlus schools is an average of £70,000 per annum – rising to as much as £420,000 for some schools - can be reinvested in staffing, SEND resources, new equipment, or even to carry out essential maintenance.

Rachel Snowden, Lettings Manager at Manor Church of England Academy, an outstanding school based in York with a reputation for academic excellence said, “We have been working with Kajima Community’s BookingsPlus service for two years and it has transformed our lettings process.  Not only do our clients find it quick and simple to use, but its in-built marketing website, complete with search engine optimisation tool, has helped us to maintain a strong web presence – targeted at the right audience.  This has led to a significant increase in our enquiries and bookings, resulting in a revenue increase of more than £18,500.  We now generate a gross annual income of £128,000, which we are able to reinvest in the school to deliver the best teaching and learning experiences for our staff and young people.

“As well as marketing support, BookingsPlus provides us with regular software updates, ensuring that we are not only fully compliant with any new legislation , but that we are operating as efficiently as possible.

“Thanks to its efficiency and effectiveness, BookingsPlus has saved use considerable admin hours.  It has liberated time that can be given back to the school, helping to create and maintain the outstanding learning environment of which we are so proud.”

Clive Hibbert, Venue Manager at The Bushey Academy in Hertfordshire agrees that enhancing the efficiency of its lettings system has resulted in significantly improved revenues:   “Since swapping to BookingPlus from a different lettings system in January 2017, we have seen our revenue increase upwards of 200%. The additional revenue made from hiring out our facilities to the local community can be reinvested back into the Bushey Academy to improve teaching facilities for our students and provide them with the best possible opportunities to learn, develop and grow as people.

“The advantage of BookingsPlus is that it is simple and efficient and allows us to streamline our bookings. Previously, we were having to use multiple platforms simultaneously to do the same job. With BookingsPlus, our account and web systems are all in one place and we can access them remotely.

“Thanks to its intuitive interface, dashboard management tool and vastly improved calendar features, our staff instantly know what is happening on a day-to-day basis and now have more time to spend on education-related tasks instead of wasting hours manually filling out invoices.”

In today’s climate of severe budgetary restrictions, schools have two stark options: to slash costs or fundraise.  Rather than being forced to cut costs through drastic measures such as reducing head teacher time or cutting SEND resources; or spend precious time on intensive fundraising activities, schools should be helped and encouraged to introduce revenue generating technologies that can add to, rather than detract from their budgets -  liberating educationalists to focus on delivering educational excellence to all.