Andrew Preston responds to proposed schools budget cut of £3bn

Andrew Preston, CEO of de Poel education, comments in response to the news that state schools in England will have to find £3bn in savings by 2020:

“The education sector is under colossal pressure, struggling to align demanding financial targets with unyielding funding cuts – against the backdrop of increased pupil numbers and rising costs. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that the National Audit Office has warned the budget gap will have reached £3bn by the end of the decade.

“With schools now facing further budget cuts of 8% in order to bridge this gap by 2020 – and 60% of secondary schools already saddled with burdensome deficits according to NAO’s funding analysis – we implore schools to take a completely different approach in how they manage their temporary supply cover.

“Gaining momentum and popularity within the education sector, the neutral vendor model is making waves with pioneering schools recognising the need for an independent intermediary who can level the playing field when it comes to agency rates and margins. This is alongside ensuring a continual fill of demand and helping them to realise significant upfront cost savings on their temporary supply cover spend – typically between 8 and 10%. Crucially, all of this is done whilst fulfilling compliance and safeguarding obligations.

“As a leading procurer of temporary supply cover, de Poel education has no financial affiliation to any recruitment agencies and so is completely independent in our ability to offer the very best supply staffing solutions. We work with a select group of compliant local and national education recruitment agencies to drive better value, raise standards and source the best supply workers for schools – and academies, colleges and universities – across the UK.

“Our web-based software solution, e-tips®, enables increased visibility and control, access to real-time Management Information and greater candidate availability, allowing us to guarantee cover.

“This point is evidenced by the many educational institutions – including Thornbury Academy – using electronic end-to-end systems like e-tips® with great success, maintaining full visibility and control of their supply spend and consequently paying substantially less in agency margins.

“With Department for Education (DfE) set to launch a new funding formula, which will see 10,000 schools gain money – but similar numbers losing in this same move – now is a critical time for schools to seize control and take a long-term strategic view on how to tap into their temporary supply cover.”