The impact of the cost-of-living crisis is immense, and will likely be felt for the foreseeable future. Many families are struggling, or worry about soon struggling, to make ends meet, and there is a growing number that will be looking to their children’s schools for help in ensuring their children don’t miss out.
However, it’s not just families that are struggling. Alongside the cost-of-living crisis and the increasing price and uncertainty surrounding energy, schools are also facing the prospect of less students enrolling each year - meaning less government funding.
According to government statistics, total funding from 2010-11 to 2022-23 has grown as the total pupil population has grown. This has resulted in the total funding allocated to schools increasing 53% this year (to £53.3 billion) when compared to 2010-11 (£35 billion).
Sounds good… until you look at the finer details.
Last year, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) published their annual report on education spending in England. It revealed that education spending has actually been decreasing since 2010, stating “before the financial crisis, education spending represented just under 5% of national income. If it had remained at this level, it would have been £16 billion higher in 2019-20.”
What’s more, the situation looks set to continue. According to analysis carried out by Schools Weekly, per-pupil funding is set to decrease over the next year, despite the pressures on today’s costs.
For many schools, the big question is: how can they start to plug some of the gaps this will leave in their finances?
In this article, we take a closer look at five simple ways schools can generate further income and potentially ease some of the pressures they are facing this year.
When thinking of ways to increase your cash flow, you may have overlooked your biggest asset — your space.
From classrooms and sports halls to gyms and canteen space, when these aren’t being used in the evening or weekends they can be hired out to community groups, individuals and local businesses.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, research found that 43% of schools were letting space when not in use, with some saying they had hired out rooms to everyone from church groups and birthday parties to weddings and evening language schools.
This lends itself to other areas too, such as car parking and IT facilities if your school has the resources.
From fundraisers to charity events, schools across the UK have been raising additional money this way for years. Helping to involve and educate the local community, you’ll be able to raise funds in several ways, and not just through events that take months to organise.
Start small with coffee mornings, which can be organised by the PTA and brings parents together, paying small amounts for tea, coffee and biscuits. Then there are other events such as bake sales and even ticket money from Christmas and Easter concerts, school yearbooks and selling items children have made.
Another way to fundraise in the digital age is leveraging the world of online. From websites that’ll allow your school to collect income when teachers, parents, pupils and friends of the school buy from online retailers, to GoFundMe pages for charity events - the options are almost endless.
You’ll be familiar with sponsored walks, silences, swims and a whole host of other sponsored events that take place, but have you thought about working alongside local businesses for ongoing sponsorship?
A fantastic way to gain more funds while being involved with the community, sponsorship works as a two-way street between yourself and the business. While you get a donation, the business gets advertising.
This can be anything from a plaque at the school to the business logo on the website and printed materials at events they’ve sponsored, such as sports day. Even if you don’t get a cash donation, you could end up with something else, such as a football kit donated by the business that would feature the business’ logo.
Keeping it in the community, have you considered reaching out to ex-pupils?
While it’s often thought that schools in less affluent areas won’t drum up support in the same way a private school would, research has found this isn’t the case. Most former pupils like to see their school doing well, with around 30% willing to donate.
This is something quite common in private schools, with many taking more than £100 million annually. And while you may not get this kind of cash, there’s still a large pot out there to access — but how?
Your school, like most, will have a record of former pupils, whether it’s yearbooks or magazines you’ll be able to access. There may be an ex-pupils association, and if you don’t have one, check social media as there may be an unofficial one.
Once you’ve identified these potential donors, you’ll need to reach out and engage them through ways such as letters or online posts, either from the PTA or directly from the head.
£600 million. That’s how much gift aid goes unclaimed each year, and some of it could be yours.
If you haven’t heard of it, Gift Aid is a scheme designed to help UK charities and community amateur sports clubs make more money.
According to HMRC: “Every time an individual donates £1 to your charity, you can reclaim an additional 25p in Gift Aid from HMRC. Therefore, you can uplift your eligible donations by 25%.”
So, whenever someone donates money to your school or if you embark on most of the previous suggestions, you could be gaining 25% on top of that. Donations eligible for Gift Aid include:
And while you need to register as a charity, gaining access to this money that’s rightfully yours is quite easy.
Here at Pebble, our software, Tali, can help you claim Gift Aid quickly and simply. This is because, when you track income made from donations or fundraising endeavours through Tali, the software automatically generates claims forms required by HMRC, meaning they’ll be instantly ready for submission.
Once you’ve done this, all you have to do is decide where to assign the money — it’s that simple.
If your school, trust or PTA have been missing out on this additional income, and you want a quick, easy and efficient way to access it, get in touch with the Pebble team today to discover the benefits that come with Tali.
Want to know more? Leave your details and we’ll be in touch.
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