As school managers will be aware, the Department of Education has been asked to prepare plans for cuts of between 10% and 20%. This would come to between £5.71bn and £11.42bn.
While it is now widely expected that front-line schools budgets (those received from local authorities via the Dedicated Schools grant,or DSG) will be protected from the worst of the cuts, the full impact on school spending will require very careful reading of the detail.
Of particular interest is the impact on ICT investments within schools. The cuts inevitably carry some threats to the modernisation of the teaching and learning profession – some projects have already been scrapped, including education facilitator BECTA.
On the other hand, there may be opportunities for schools to save costs and increase efficiencies – particularly in areas such as cloud computing, open source and even the prospect of local authority collaboration to achieve savings through sharing resources and/or technology expertise.
Whatever the outcome of Wednesday’s announcement, many schools will be looking very hard at the small print before making planning decisions for their next budget year.