Headlines: October 26th, 2007

Schools in Wales have been told they could make an extra 20 million pounds a year available for education if they take steps to save money on buying everyday equipment such as stationery and photocopiers. Andrew Davies, the Welsh Assembly Minister for Finance and Public Service Delivery is urging them to get better value.

Mr. Davies drew attention to the Schools Revenue Project, which aims to get them to link up with the rest of the public sector when they buy facilities and teaching and office materials. He said the savings made through the initiative would allow more money to be put into frontline services, including staff recruitment and buying specialist equipment.

He said the education sector had already saved around 1.3million pounds through smarter purchasing and 290 schools in Wales were involved in collaborative agreements to buy stationery and more than 50 were getting better deals on computers and printers. There was, he said, much more that could be done if schools were to become more efficient. It is estimated that the 1800 schools in Wales spend a total of 200 million pounds a year on stationery and items including exercise books, paper, photocopiers, whiteboards, computers, and other teaching materials.

The Assembly Government’s Education Minister, Jane Hutt, urged local councils to make more use of the initiative. “We would expect local authorities to work with schools and governors to find real opportunities for efficiency gains which can be reinvested to help improve the quality of education. This project shows that efficiencies can be made without compromising quality and I urge all schools to join the scheme,” she said.