Implementing asset management in schools enables you, as a school manager, administrator, or teacher, to ensure the availability of assets to each student and member of staff. By choosing the right asset management tool for your primary or secondary school, you will be able to maximise the usability of key assets that are crucial for day-to-day operations.
With so many different software solutions on the market, it may be difficult for you to choose the best option for your school. But with our informative guide to asset management in schools, we can help you make the right choice.
Below, we’ve highlighted five key features that appear in most school asset management solutions, including the most beneficial to school managers and administrators:
Schools can consist of hundreds, or possibly thousands, of important assets that need monitoring. Keeping track of these usually requires a pen and paper or an Excel spreadsheet, which can be time-consuming, restrictive, and at-risk to fire or data loss.
An alternative solution is to implement an asset management solution. Asset management software is one of the easiest and quickest ways to build and maintain an up-to-date asset register. Each asset register can be compiled of essential data regarding a school’s soft and hard assets. These could be anything from chairs, desks, keys, and laptops, to important documents such as fire procedures and financial contracts. Asset registers allow you to store all kinds of information alongside each of your school’s assets, including:
An asset’s current condition
An asset’s current and previous locations
The teacher or classroom an asset has been or is currently assigned to
If an asset is scheduled for repair and when it will be unavailable during this period
How much an asset is being used and by which member of staff
Another feature to look out for when building an accurate asset register is mobile access; having access with mobile devices allows data to be accessible to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. For example, if a teacher wanted to check the current location of a projector screen, they wouldn’t need to be on school grounds to access the register and check the data. Instead, they could do this at home via a smartphone.
Sticking to an allocated budget that has been set by your school, district, or MAT (Multi-Academy Trust) can be difficult, especially without a form of spend-tracking in place. But, with an effective asset management tool, both you and your department heads are able to track spending for each faculty. This can help you to understand how the school’s budget is being used and how it can be better utilised.
Having a dedicated solution for tracking spending and budget costs can also help to:
Know the purchase and running costs of each school asset and identify which assets need protecting to sustain their best value
Re-allocate under-used assets to other school departments and save on replacements or unnecessary purchases
Calculate the level of depreciation in each critical asset around the school grounds
This type of financial data can also be accessed by your school’s local authority and MAT, allowing administrators to instantly understand your school’s costs and spending figures to help with future funding from the DfE.
With most school asset management tools, you have the ability to create reports and share data across the school’s entire hierarchy; between teachers, department heads, managers or even local districts.
For example, a head of the art department may require a weekly report from its teachers regarding the usage and condition of art supplies. In this instance, each teacher would input data about the usage and condition of their assets, such as paintbrushes and paper, and generate a sharable report that is then shared with the department’s head.
School reports and data can also be shared among:
Parents that wish to have access to their child’s classroom timetable, homework assignments and current grades
Students that need to access their timetable of classes and their current workload set by teachers
Local authorities such as school districts and MATs
In terms of local authorities, an asset management system can enable them to generate reports from multiple sites using a single login. For example, a MAT that is responsible for five academy schools can access all reports from these schools on one system, instead of having to gain access individually.
By renting out classrooms, equipment and sports halls, schools are able to generate extra funds. Additionally, with an asset management system in place, schools are able to build a booking module system to do this efficiently and professionally.
However, this system not only applies for equipment rentals. It can also be an effective feature for teachers that want to avoid double-bookings. For example, a teacher may have built their entire lesson plan around using a projector, only to find that it is unavailable.
With an asset module booking system in place, you are able to:
Build a check-in/check-out system for key assets such as laptops and projectors
Create a shared calendar between staff and departments to highlight which assets and classrooms are available
Create unique booking forms for each asset type and each department
Operate a portal login for staff to use that can also require administrative approval
The use of Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices can help improve the time management of inventory counts across each faculty department. They can also be used to help track visitors and parents around school grounds.
One major benefit of using IoT-enabled devices is for improving a school’s registration system. Once a teacher has entered the attendance data of their class, the asset management tool will report data back to the School Student Information System (SIMS).
IoT devices can also be used around the school grounds to:
Track the real-time location of physical assets, such as using GPS trackers to identify the location of school buses
Easily and quickly count the inventory of books, stationery, desks and chairs in each classroom
Help reduce downtime of important assets by scheduling pre-planned repair times and producing a maintenance schedule that can be accessed by teachers and administrators
Track visitors and allow entry in the school grounds by using barcodes, GPS or RFID technology in visitor passes
These devices are also key for keeping valuable assets (like monitors and vehicles) working at optimal level by helping to create an effective repair and maintenance schedule. By using technology such as Barcode and Bluetooth, you’re able to track the life cycle of each asset and understand when it needs repairing or even replacing.
Here are some key points to consider as you search for the right asset management software for your school:
Once you have chosen the right software, you’ll want to deploy it as quickly as possible. In this case, it’s important to know how long the vendor will take to make the system available to you. You should also consider the time it takes to activate portal logins for staff and the process of collecting all inventory data to build your asset register, such as the number of books available to pupils and the number of chairs and desks needed in each classroom.
It’s important to know what other software can be integrated into your choice of school asset management software and how easy the process is. For instance, your institution may already be set up with accounting applications, emails, spreadsheets and more. It can also be beneficial to know if this software solution provides its own functionality, such as tuition management and inventory control, that can replace existing systems.
As a manager of a large educational institution, you’re bound to have a variety of different configurations for each operation. In this case, you’ll want to look for an asset management tool that is highly customisable to suit your setup. If you choose a system that requires you to change the way you control most operations around the school, this can end up being time-consuming and expensive.
Before making any decisions, make sure you’re able to demo or trial the vendor’s product. This is a great way to understand the system and define whether it is easy enough for each staff member and department to use. You’ll want to look for familiarity when compared to programs you may already use, such as registration and inventory software. It’s also good to look at the vendor’s training options in case you need teachers to be well trained in using the system. For example, do they offer video tutorials, online support or in-person training? And can they accommodate in-person training outside of school hours to avoid lesson downtime?
When it comes to receiving the right support and training, a good way to check that you’ll get the very best service is to understand the vendor’s history. Check to see if they have experience supplying other schools or educational institutions and how long they have been doing so.
In terms of a vendor’s asset management solution for schools, how they define ‘school’ can have a big impact on their features and tools. For example, if you’re managing a large educational institution such as a secondary school, you’ll need a scalable system to accommodate the large amount of assets, as opposed to the fewer assets found in a primary school. Also, if you’re an academy that relies on the DfE’s funding, then you’ll want a system that focuses more on tracking your school’s spending in relation to its budget.
Here are a few benefits that you and your staff can take advantage of when choosing the right asset management tool for your school:
The amount of paperwork required to track equipment, documents and records throughout school grounds can be overwhelming. But, the right school asset management tool can provide the features necessary to build a central data repository for all essential assets. This is also crucial for protecting and backing-up data in case of fire or damage, which can destroy a paper-based asset management system and lead to complications and delays when it comes to filing insurance claims.
Having access to the school’s asset register can reduce spending on equipment that you already have in the school grounds. For example, a teacher may request that their classroom needs more chairs. But, by looking at the data, you’re able to see a number of chairs not being used in another department. Instead of purchasing more chairs, you can relocate them from one department to another, where they can be of more use.
By using the right tools, you’re able to manage and track spending requests of each faculty department. This can be a request such as trays and cutlery from the school cafe, or for more books and desktops from library staff. Whatever the requirement, these requests need to be aligned with the budget set by the Department of Education or the local district.
As school operations need to be aligned with a strict budget, replacing lost and stolen assets can become a financial headache. However, by utilising a school asset management’s tracking and tagging features, theft of crucial educational assets can be reduced. For example, if a classroom projector cannot be located, teachers can check the data and see where it was last seen and who it was last used by.
With access to a real-time asset register, staff are able to know the location and quantity of equipment available to them. This means the constant need for manual audits of assets, which require a lot of time and resources, are no longer needed.
The purpose of implementing asset management software in primary and secondary schools is to:
Maximise and track the usability of school equipment
Ensure the availability of assets such as laptops and science equipment to students and teachers
Make sure the equipment needed to run the school is always in working condition
Achieve effective management of a school’s entire inventory in a cost-effective way
With asset management software, schools are able to reduce spending on the replacement of lost or stolen assets. While also accurately tracking spending across all departments. And, with the UK Government funding £39 billion to the school budget for pupils aged 5-16, it is essential for schools to track their spending and not incur any unnecessary costs.
An effective management system also provides access to a comprehensive asset register for all educational personnel. This includes teachers, department heads, administrators, school managers and even local districts. The data highlighted by an asset register allows staff and students to know the location, condition, and quantity of each school asset.
An important part of keeping an educational institution running smoothly is making sure all critical assets are operating at maximum output. One way this can be achieved is with an effective maintenance and repair schedule. For example, by checking the correct data stored in the system, you’ll be able to know when the school bus needs a service, or when the computers in the IT department will be unavailable due to a software update.
In 2016/17, primary schools spent £41,780 on maintaining and operating their assets, while secondary schools averaged £172,560 over the same period. But by having a maintenance schedule in place, schools can reduce this expenditure and use the extra funds elsewhere.