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Ready for a step change in buying?

Best value for schools label

Finance Director Hayley Dunn shares her advice for implementing an effective school buying strategy

There are many issues that schools face when it comes to buying strategy and managing finances. These include: rising costs, deficit budget(s), apprenticeship levy, stagnant income, pressure from increasing employee costs, procurement, and numerous options when it comes to suppliers.
In January 2017, the DfE produced a document called the Schools’ Buying Strategy. The premise is that it will help schools save over £1bn a year on £10bn of non-staffing costs by 2019-20. The strategy focuses on three core areas: skills and relationships, access to best value, and smart consumers.
Vital tools, guidance and support are already available for schools. These include:

  • Efficiency matrix tool – based on pupil attainment and income.
  • Top 10 planning checklist – information that school leaders and governors should be aware of in fulfilling their part in good financial management: staff pay as a percentage of total expenditure; average teacher cost; pupil-to-teacher ratios; class sizes; teacher contact ratios; proportion of budget spent on the leadership team; three- to five-year budget projections; spend per pupil for non-pay expenditure lines compared to similar schools; school improvement plan priorities and relative cost of options; list of contracts with costs and renewal dates.
  • Guidance on best practice.
  • Case studies.
  • National deals – available for energy supply, risk protection arrangement (RPA), MFDs, ICT for Education and Microsoft licences.
  • Salix loan scheme for purchasing energy- efficient systems.
  • Benchmarking Report Card.
  • Financial health checks structure.

About our expert

Hayley dunn is Finance Director at Codsall MAT and is a Fellow of the NASBM. As a certified accountant, finance is her passion. Hayley believes there is great potential for income generation and fundraising in schools and loves being part of projects that deliver value to pupils, whether by providing money, resources or life experiences. Hayley is an avid Twitter user: @ShropshireSBM, and blogs at

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