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Protecting schools from real-terms cuts in England would mean spending the equivalent of an extra penny on the basic rate of income tax, says the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

In an article published in Schools Week magazine, Luke Sibieta, the education programme director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies says “it would cost £2bn to protect per pupil spending in the next four years and another £1.7bn to cover additional costs facing schools – representing a 10% increase in the school budget. Protecting schools from real-terms cuts would therefore require significant additional public spending: £3.7 billion is the equivalent of 1p on the basic rate of income tax.”

Schools in England currently face two main funding challenges: squeezes on overall funding levels and a changing allocation across schools.

In this current economic climate many schools are looking to find a balanced solution between economising and providing the highest standards of education. Head teachers have been threatening that should nothing change then the only feasible option would be to cut down hours or operate just four days a week.

One area that is often overlooked by schools is their document management and print output. Each year schools are wasting over 86,000 tonnes of paper, most of which is readily recyclable.

So how can schools save money on their print and paper costs?

Below are a few tips that can cut both costs and paper consumption.

Select black and white as default – Printing in colour can cost as much as 10 times more than printing in black and white. By changing default settings to greyscale or black and white it encourages users to only use colour when it is essential.

Invest in print management software – Print management software gives administrators greater visibility and control over what is being printed, where and by who. This also provides accountability for device usage, encouraging users to think twice before printing.

Restrict printing – Print management software can cap individuals’ print volumes, colours runs and device usage. Administrators are able to set parameters based on year group, class or even individual dependent on their specific needs.

Use chargeback software – Once agreed on print restrictions, i.e. pages per month, charge back systems allow administrators to assign costs per black and white and colour prints. Similarly costs can be attributed to specific devices meaning the more efficient printers, with thinner paper are cheaper to print to than the ones that print on higher quality stock.

Implement secure release – All too often print jobs are left at the device with the user forgetting to collect the document. By implementing secure release software it creates a virtual print queue that can only be released at the device via individually assigned access cards or pin codes.

Print in duplex – By switching default settings to print double sided, schools are able to reduce their paper consumption by as much as half.

Only use high quality paper for important documents – Whist thick, good quality paper can make your documents look and feel great, it is not economically viable to use for everyday printing. Fill printer cassettes with low gsm paper stock as standard, only using thick high quality paper for the most important of documents. 60gsm paper it is significantly cheaper and perfectly acceptable for everyday printing in schools.

Choose an eco-friendly device – Purchase or lease energy efficient devices, with high yield toner capacities saving money on running costs. Look for:

  • Multifunctional devices, that incorporate all of your document needs for print, copy, scan and fax in a single device.
  • Automatic duplex printing
  • ENERGY STAR logo

Use a Managed Print Service – Managed Print Services (MPS) offer a set rate per page printed, inclusive of device hire, automatic toner ordering as well as service costs for any labour and parts necessary to fix the device in the event of a break down.

Agilico work with heads of department to deliver improvements to workflow and reduce the volumes of print produced. The service is tailored to the specific needs of teaching and administration staff.

Typically we achieve 99.8% uptime across all Agilico managed printers so they can trust their printing devices to perform reliably. Our systems deliver a host of benefits that improve productivity through increased efficiencies whilst taking control of costs. Confidential information is kept secure and accessed and printed only by authorised personnel.

By embedding operational efficiencies throughout your educational establishment, you’ll cut waste and improve your environmental credentials.