Finding the framework to save your school money

Neil Watkins

Think IT managing director Neil Watkins has long believed that education has the power to change lives. With over 14 years’ experience of working with technology in schools, colleges and local authorities, Neil is turning IT in schools around by providing them with the best educational suppliers the industry has to offer through Think IT’s EU-tendered procurement framework.

Follow @E2BNThinkIT

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Image credit: Pixabay. Image credit: Pixabay.

Time and time again, when my colleagues and I speak to schools, they tell us that choosing and buying edtech is an increasingly difficult process. They simply don’t have the time – or the expertise – to create a detailed specification, go out to tender, evaluate lengthy technical proposals, interview suppliers and negotiate the best deals. On top of this process, there’s the ambiguity around financial budgets and the legalities and requirements which must be followed under EU procurement law. Edtech moves so fast, how do they know what they’ll need in three years time?

When we look at this challenge, and the rising costs, how can schools become more efficient?

The answer has its foundations in supply chain.

Helping manufacturers to help schools

Currently, many schools invest in products and resources through resellers. What they might not be aware of, however, is the exorbitant price tag that often accompanies these purchases, which quite frankly, schools could do without right now.

By the time a product has made its way through the supply chain from manufacturer, to distributor, reseller, and finally to the end-user, it can be substantially more expensive than the manufacturer originally sold it for. Not to mention the additional costs associated with installation and training.

If manufacturers’ products are to remain an attractive proposition for schools, then they need to look at more efficient ways of reducing the supply chain layers and associated costs.

There is, however, a simple solution: procurement frameworks. For a while now, the Department for Education (DfE) guidelines have heavily promoted the use of these frameworks in order to help schools save time, and of “Schools could do without the exorbitant price tags right now!”course, ensure value for money. Not only do procurement frameworks cut out the arduous task of schools having to run full tender processes, ensuring everything is compliant with the legalities and EU and UK procurement legislation, but they can also provide new ways for manufacturers to cut layers out of the supply chain to reduce prices for themselves, and more importantly, schools.

Procurement frameworks can play a key role in disrupting the traditional chain, bringing benefits for manufacturers, while also ensuring better transparency and costs for schools.

For example, by partnering with high-performing manufacturers such as SMART Technologies, Microsoft, Google and Fujitsu, to name a few, frameworks are able to secure the best possible value pricing from the source. This means that from the outset, schools are given the reassurance and confidence that what they’re investing in will not only positively impact teaching and learning, but will also ensure they are receiving the most favourable pricing.

What to look for?

When it comes to selecting the right framework for the job, schools should opt for one that is education-sector specific, where the advice and support provided is tailored to schools’ specific needs. Using a framework “Frameworks can provide new ways to reduce prices.”that offers schools the highest calibre in terms of product, service, cost, suitability and customer care, and with a thorough knowledge of the education sector, can mean the difference between success and failure.

Ultimately, frameworks are there to make procurement easier for schools, but with the added benefit of also helping manufacturers to find new ways to reduce the layers in the chain, lower prices for the end-customer, and cut their own costs. Doing so will ensure that they can remain competitive for schools with increasingly shrinking budgets.

It’s a win-win situation, so the only question schools should be asking themselves now is, why wait? Reap the rewards now to ensure that what you’re buying will benefit the school and its teaching and learning. Head out there and find the right procurement framework for you. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Before you do anything, identify what you need. Think about budgets and ask yourself, is it a necessity? How long will it last for? Does it require staff training? Will there be additional costs associated? What is the expected lifespan?
2. Next, work out a timeline and ensure there will be minimum disruption to teaching and learning.
3. Look for a framework with education expertise; while there are plenty out there, making sure you can call upon their guidance and knowledge will ensure you’re selecting the most relevant, efficient and cost-effective solutions for your school.
4. Different framework providers have different boundaries, and some will be restricted to a registered list of suppliers so opt for one with flexibility. The best ones are those that can add or remove suppliers when required, or even work with schools to identify alternative options which may not have been part of the framework initially.
5. Consult neighbouring schools or your local authority, as they may be able to recommend a framework for you

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"