Do you *really* know what your school spends with ICT?

A short post today, partly in preparation for a longer review of the courses from the FITS Foundation, but mainly in response to Ray Fleming’s latest blog post.

One of the areas we covered on the FITS : Advanced course (also known as the FITS : Manager course) was about financial management … but, as with all of the areas covered, it was not dealt in isolation. For all of us on the course it was a good chance to look at all financial aspects which impact on IT / ICT in schools.

I’m not surprised that Ray has pointed out that 33% of headteachers could not state what percentage of their budget was spent on ICT … but I think that is more a reflection on the honesty of those headteachers and the complexity of what we are talking about.

Let us look at what we could include in this budget.

  • Desktops
  • Laptops
  • Servers
  • Peripherals (printers, cameras, scanners, etc)
  • Audio – Visual equipment (projectors, IWBs, speakers, DVD players, etc)
  • Consumables (toners, backup tapes, mice, etc)
  • Educational software
  • Contracted support
  • Network Infrastructure

And then you get into some things that people might not have initially included in this pot.

  • Broadband connection
  • Broadband / LA services (email, web filtering, etc)
  • Management Information Systems
  • Staffing
  • Reprographics (and perhaps the paper in the printers)
  • Telephony
  • CCTV

… and they might not have included things that individual departments buy from their own pot.

And what about the energy consumption … surely that should be included in the pot too.

So … I am actually surprised that it was only 33% who said they didn’t know, as I didn’t think the Becta survey quite drilled down as far as some of the above, but I will be suggesting to my local schools if they can use the above as the basis of their planning. It should help with those looking at virtualisation as an option which might help to reduce the energy consumption as well as helping to establish long term, sustainable plans for funding IT, or at least being able to manage the impact of some investment in refreshing equipment is put off for the next year or so.

5 replies on “Do you *really* know what your school spends with ICT?”

Great post Tony!

You got me on paper in the printers and energy costs. Everything else is pretty much covered.

Not sure where systems like Sanako are included? However, now to go back and edit that budget… :0)


Sanako would come under the category of specialist hardware, similar to CAD/CAM kit, high-end video conferencing facilities, high-end tools for video / audio recording / editing. These sort of items have to be carefully considered during curriculum planning.

When a new course is introduced (eg music technology) you not only have to consider the training of teachers to deliver it, the rooms it will be delivered in, but also the hardware / software to run it on, increases in storage space, the time for the relevant support staff to get it in place and up to speed on supporting it and the expected lifetime of both the qualification and the equipment.

We had a budget manager at our school who was supposed to keep track of such things (whether he did or not, I don’t know).

I think we also lumped in desks and any IT ‘fittings’ for the machines in each of our rooms.

I wish I’d kept a greater handle on the spend but I wasn’t allowed it (as a lowly assistant…), I’d have loved to know how much was actually wasted!

We just got our accounts back from the auditors – this year I spent £6 Thousand on ICT – once the accounts had come back from the auditors that number had jumped to £13,000. They lump in and adjust accounts in ways I can’t fatham.

The Head was a bit shocked too!

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