The TES goes all ICT today – and drives the cost saving agenda

It’s not often that the TES reports on ICT – apart from a couple of pages tucked away towards the back of the magazine. But today they’ve splashed articles about ICT on the front page of the main newspaper and on the front page of the magazine. Unfortunately, in keeping with ‘good news is no news’, you won’t be surprised to learn that it’s dominant because of the bad news on ICT.

In the main newspaper, they focus on the cut in the Harnessing Technology Grant to schools (something I wrote about on 7th July – does that mean I scooped a paper by nearly a month?) and the impact it will have on local authorities and schools.

Raid on IT budgets doubles to £100m

Experts warn of disaster as Gove plunders technology pot to fund free schools
Read the full article

And in the magazine, a similar dramatic start gives you the flavour of the whole article:

Byte the dust

Hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on ICT equipment every year, but there is growing evidence that school cupboards are brimming with unused and obsolete kit that should never have been bought in the first place.
Read the full article

So is that it? Are we back to the turn of the century, when only bad news allowed ICT to creep out of the special termly ICT supplement? Well, despite the gloomy headline, the magazine article does give both sides a voice. And I think that means that there’s a chance to look on the positive side.

There is no doubt that budgets will be challenging. And if you’re an ICT leader in a school, you should expect a much, much more difficult set of questions about your ICT investment plans going forward. But don’t get downhearted. There are so many ways that ICT can make a contribution to the success of a school – not just in learning, but in teaching and minimising other costs, that you could actually come along like a knight in shining armour to save your school money.

I’ve been working steadily on the Top ICT Money Saving Tips for the last six months, continuing to add more detail and to identify additional case studies of schools that have actually implemented the savings. And I’ve also carefully questioned and checked all the claimed savings. What started as a list of Top 10 ICT Savings has turned into 14 ways to use ICT to save money from the school budget. And for a secondary school, the savings quickly mount up – to a potential saving of up to £350,000 over three years.

I don’t expect you to believe me straight away. I expect you to challenge the numbers, and look for the evidence. But I’ve approached the whole exercise with your head teacher’s perspective. I’ve imagined them asking ‘Prove to me that this saves me money’.

And I hope that my latest version of the Top ICT Money Saving Tips for schools does exactly that. Please take a look – it just might help you if somebody in your school has read this week’s TES!


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