The Benefits of Managing School Assets & How to Achieve Them
Managing school assets with an effective asset management solution can be essential in a sector that is so financially focused such as education. In 2019, the BBC reported that one in five teachers are independently managing school assets and paying for these classroom resources using their own money.
Even after the Budget 2020 announcement, which includes a cash injection for arts activities in secondary schools and PE in primary schools, one thing is clear. Some schools are still struggling financially and would benefit from being able to free up spending in some areas.
This guide explains why managing school assets can be vital to working within school budgets and breaks down the benefits of asset management to enhance the educational setting for all students.
Gain Greater Visibility of School Assets
Schools typically have hundreds, even thousands of educational assets that have a crucial impact on children’s learning. These range from consumables, such as stationery and textbooks, to tablets, whiteboards, and other IT equipment, right through to classroom furniture.
Let’s consider Education Technology (EdTech). The use of EdTech is on the rise, though many schools are yet to realise its potential, because of budget restraints, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of time and training. That said, EdTech is making its way into classrooms through digital devices, virtual reality and robotics. EdTech equipment isn’t cheap, so it’s crucial to track and manage it properly.
Soft assets, such as software licences, are an asset type that can be often overlooked. A school asset management system can help you keep track of licenses, so you can renew, reassign or dispose of them when necessary. Then there are also facility-based assets, which are needed to keep the school operational, such as heating, plumbing and lighting.
School asset management software can help school managers and administrators to understand where each piece of equipment or resource is located at all times. In turn, this can also help teachers to utilise the assets they need when they need them.
For example, imagine a primary school is putting on a play. The teachers need laptops, microphones, a sound system and a whiteboard to enable the performance to run smoothly. After months of rehearsals, there could be many disappointed kids and parents if a piece of equipment didn’t work or suddenly went missing.
But, by implementing school asset management, organisers can effectively avoid this type of situation from occurring. They would be able to track the whereabouts of all necessary assets before the start of the performance, to make sure they’re available for use and in working order.
Improve the Accuracy of Asset Data
All schools have a responsibility to carry out auditing processes for key stakeholders, such as governors, and in the case of state-maintained schools, the government.
The Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) is what schools must comply with to achieve good financial health and show they are managing resources effectively. Academies, in particular, need to account for assets with capital values of between £500 and £1,000.
Asset management can help school managers to understand the lifecycle of their educational assets, from purchase, or lease, right through to disposal. It also helps make auditing and reporting more straightforward. They are able to quickly retrieve data on school asset values such as depreciation values, asset disposal procedures, PAT testing evidence and more.
Managing School Assets Allows for Better Inventory Management
As well as asset tracking, effective school asset management can help administrators and staff manage their inventory and save money in the process. Wolverley C of E School is benefiting in this way. By using asset management software, Wolverley C of E can now check stock levels to see what is being under-utilised before purchasing new equipment.
They can also track how often kit is being used to avoid over-ordering.
Inventory management and asset tracking go hand in hand. School assets can be tracked using barcodes or QR codes. You can also see which members of staff have access to specific equipment by using a check-in and check-out system. This process can also help to reduce the risk of assets being lost or stolen.
Produce Maintenance and Repair Schedules
Breakages and faults not only interfere with day-to-day operations but they can also severely impact the school budget. Unplanned problems, in particular, are both disruptive and challenging.
Many school asset management systems have built-in maintenance modules. This is where staff can log issues with equipment and resources as soon as they arise. This can help to reduce the number of reactive repairs needed. By reviewing past service history on assets, managers can plan for preventative maintenance before a catastrophic failure takes place.
Planning ahead like this can help to minimise disruption caused by faulty equipment, reduce costs caused by maintenance issues and keep the school environment safe and productive for students.
5 Extra Benefits of Managing School Assets
1. Improve Budget Reporting
The aim of a school asset management software is to collect data and analyse trends relating to asset costs. The level of control with these systems also allows finance managers to meet obligations, such as evidencing appropriate use of public funds. Having an effective asset management system in place can also make it easier to create accurate accounts regarding depreciation, values and projections.
2. Future-Proof Asset Strategies
Forward planning is key in asset management, and by monitoring a school’s assets appropriately, teams can be aware of when they need to think about replacing assets or planning repairs. Understanding an asset’s lifecycle is vital in an industry such as education. For example, knowing when a projector is due for maintenance can save significant downtime and replacement costs. In a sector where budgets need to be spent wisely, this type of planning is essential.
3. Increase Security Measures to Reduce Theft
In a busy school environment, it can be easy for things to go missing. But, with an asset management system and a school asset manager in place, the number of lost or stolen assets can be significantly reduced. This allows you to track key educational assets, such as IT equipment and machinery, in real-time. Some asset management software can even give real-time alerts if assets are moved out of a certain zone. During periods where schools are closed, such as the Christmas holidays, security is paramount to avoid assets going missing. In conjunction with security patrols and intervention, asset management can make this easier.
4. Build a Greater Conducive Learning Environment
Fewer asset-related problems equate to less disruption and a more seamless learning experience for students.
5. Reduce School Asset Spending and Costs
The education sector can see an improvement in both time management and spending with an effective school asset management system in place. This includes wasted staff time when searching for equipment and a benefit from economies of scale and bulk-ordering equipment. It’s important that budget and resource is managed effectively in education, given the financial impact that these types of waste can cause in an already stretched sector.