While last week’s Autumn Budget delivered some encouraging and seemingly welcome commitments to stimulate UK business investment and growth, however there is a growing feeling that it was quite a different story for the Education sector.
The one-off, £400 million capital bonus outlined by The Chancellor to help schools in meeting the cost of “little extras” has been met with wide-scale criticism.
What may seem like a large investment, actually equates to an average pay out of just £10,000 per primary school or £50,000 per secondary, with new schools receiving the same as those in need of update and repair.
There have been concerns expressed that it will also go little-way to addressing the major staffing cuts and ongoing funding shortages currently faced across the education system. With more being allocated to fixing potholes than the education deficit, it is certainly seen as a difficult pill to swallow for many.
It's anticipated that bringing all school buildings in England alone up to just a “satisfactory” standard would need an estimated £6.7 billion injection, not considering the rest of the UK or the ongoing investment required to ensure that schools and individual faculties are equipped with the right equipment to serve pupils every year.
Whilst we must remember that over £1.3bn was pumped into UK schools in 2017, the harsh realities of school funding cannot be escaped. Schools have faced an 8 per cent fall in real-terms revenue since 2010 and as the secretary of the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT), Paul Whiteman describes, schools are “much too far down the list of priorities”.
How an Operating Lease can help schools
Under existing regulations, the only type of lease agreement that can be taken on (without prior specific approval) by a state-funded school or academy is an Operating Lease. Finance leases and hire purchase for example, are viewed as a form of borrowing and are therefore prohibited for schools, unless prior approval is obtained from the Secretary of State.
In recent years, schools and colleges have come to rely increasingly on leasing as a means of supporting new equipment procurement.
An Operating Lease can be used for a wide variety of equipment requirements and is in-line with all current accountancy regulations, helping to allay any fears that may have previously been associated with equipment leasing.
It also helps schools to reduce any large payments at the end of the leasing term, with assistance available for a broad range of equipment requirements, from IT and telecoms, to furniture, catering and sports equipment, helping to support the operational and educational performance of the school.
Operating Leases are both straightforward and easy to arrange. Our specialist team will guide you through the process step by step, providing convenient documentation, which you can sign a hard copy agreement or an electronic version.
White Oak UK are members of the Finance and Leasing Association and are the only approved leasing partner of the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL), giving you peace of mind that you are dealing with a reputable and established provider.
For more information or to discuss your school funding requirements, please contact us on 01244 525406. We would be happy to discuss how we could add value to your procurement process and help your budget go further.