Recycle and save: a new way for education IT

Education is one of the biggest recipients of public spending in the UK – but despite this, the sector is feeling the strain more than ever. According to the Institute for Financial Studies, the sector received £99 billion in 2020-21, second only to healthcare and around 4.5% of UK national income. 

However, for a variety of reasons, schools and other education bodies are feeling the financial pinch. National and worldwide crises that have hit Government finances mean that education spending isn’t rising in line with the (currently high) rate of inflation. This is making it harder than ever for schools, academies and trusts to make long-term financial decisions with confidence, and maintain good educational outcomes and teacher wellbeing.

Any meaningful way to find financial efficiencies is therefore vital for education bodies, and this blog highlights refurbishment, remarketing and recycling as major generators of savings in IT expenditure.

Barriers to progress in Education IT

It may seem strange to say, but the zeal (and in many cases desperation) for education bodies to save money in IT can often end up being the biggest driver of unnecessary spending. And that’s because so much of the thinking and planning in education IT ends up being short-term.

Many IT departments are given their budget for the year, and procurement teams are tasked with getting suppliers on board for the lowest possible outlay. In this case, the phrase ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ very much applies: the cheapest possible option is invariably of lower quality, at bigger risk of failure, and therefore costs more in the long run to repair and/or replace.

While many school leaders and IT departments want to commit to long-term investments and improvement programmes, the economic turbulence and lack of predictability in their budgeting year-to-year makes this impractical, if not impossible.

Holding back young minds

This inability to invest in the right technology in the long-term, or even to use suitable solutions in the short-term, quickly filters down to teachers and students alike. As IT refresh projects get deferred or mothballed, these end-users have to rely on legacy kit that’s too old, too slow and lacking the necessary security features and innovation that can help maximise student outcomes.

For example, students in Key Stages 3 and 4 increasingly need access to advanced 3D, video and image editing software, and these applications often can’t be supported by legacy kit. This results in poor frame rates, high latency, and ultimately a sub-standard and frustrating learning experience.

Within higher education, a lack of technological support or capability is critical, in a part of the sector where students have a wide choice of institutions at their disposal. universities and other FE providers that gain a reputation for old, unreliable tech will find it harder to attract students and staff, and to prevent existing ones from dropping out because they feel undervalued and unsupported.

Moving forward without breaking budgets

It seems like an impossible problem to solve: education bodies need the latest technology, but they don’t have the money to invest in it. But there is a solution, one that’s also the most sustainable way to enhance education IT – Recyclea.

For example, the remarketing and refurbishment services that SCC offers through our recycling services, SCC Recyclea, allows us to collect devices that any kind of business no longer needs. We can then restore these devices to their factory settings, and destroy data in accordance with National Cyber Security Centre processes.

Schools then have the option of redeploying or remarketing, two functions that can both be managed through SCC. They can be kept within the organisation and redeployed for the next generation of users, such as new teachers or a fresh student intake, giving devices a new lease of life and reducing ongoing IT costs in the long-term. Alternatively, they can be sold onto other education bodies or even to private businesses: the revenue accumulated in a pot that can be used to buy more kit, or simply be remitted back to the school for them to use elsewhere.

Either way, the act of restoring and extending the usable lifespan of devices can be highly beneficial for any education body.

Making every pound work for students

We know how important environmental concerns are for our customers, and what a critical role it plays within their ESG commitments. That’s why we provide access to the SCC Lifecycle portal to all our education partners, so that they can manage every asset efficiently in real time, from procurement to disposal and everything in between. Furthermore, they can track how their actions correlate with real-world benefits like emissions offsetting, energy saving, or landfill tax reduction.

All the measures mentioned here contribute to a circular economy where schools and education bodies can directly generate IT savings for themselves. Indeed, within SCC Recyclea, the savings can be accumulated within the Life Cycle central portal, and then remitted directly back to the education body to use as they wish. 

This empowers IT departments, and education facilities as a whole, to do much more with their existing budgets and get the latest innovations into the hands of teachers and students that need it. But in order to maximise the potential of recycling IT, it’s vital to work with an expert partner who understands the priorities and pressures of the education sector, and has the right solutions in place to address them.

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