In recent years, budget pressures and funding shortfalls have been huge challenges facing schools in the UK. This problem does not affect just teachers and students. It leaves a mark on each individual local community.
Whether it’s stationery or staffing, schools have been making difficult decisions, day-in day-out about where to cut and restrict resources to balance their budgets. When schools struggle to make ends meet, they must get creative about fundraising for their school. The result? They are forced to shift their focus from doing what they do best – educating.
When faced with the statistical reality of the school funding crisis in the UK (according to Andrew Bainsley, NEU’s statistician), it sounds like fundraising for schools could actually become a full time job for some educators. To support the 7.5% increase in school costs over the last 4 years and the fact that there are over 500,000 more pupils than 4 years ago, schools in the United Kingdom desperately need a £2.3bn funding increase. If the trend continues, by 2022 they will need a funding boost of over £3.4bn. The chances they’ll get it from the government are slim to none.
Bridging the Gap
One way that schools are bridging this funding gap is by hiring out their school facilities to local community groups. Sports teams, yoga groups, dance classes and church choirs are keen to rent space that puts them at the heart of their communities.
Groups love renting from schools because it:
- Means they participate more actively in the community
- Often puts them in direct contact with their customers
- Gives them access to state-of-the-art spaces at a fraction of the usual price
5 Steps to Start Letting Out Your School
Get permission to launch a lettings program
As soon as you can, ask your school School Business Manager or Governor about the idea. You will need to get permission to launch the lettings program. Be mindful that your school may have specific requirements that you may need to fulfill in order to initiate.
Clear out your halls from clutter
Determine which spaces in your school will bring in the most community groups. This might be a newly refurbished dance studio, your main hall or an outdoor space for sports that will be in high demand. Clear out these spaces from clutter, as you will be receiving guests from the community there.
Query volunteers from your staff
Eventually, you will need to staff your school lettings. Find out if there are any volunteers from the school staff that are willing to stay after hours to supervise such activities.
Define what is important to your school to include in the lettings policy
The perfect lettings policy keeps the school property safe. Making sure that it includes ground rules for your customers that prevent any incidents from happening is essential (ex. Get out by 10pm).
Ask the webmaster to add a page for lettings to the school website
Having a gateway through which the community members related to the school can find out about your lettings opportunity is very important. Add a lettings page on your website with contacts, even if it doesn’t include a booking form.
School Space will take care of the rest
School Space is a social enterprise with over eight years of experience in generating income for schools. They work with schools to manage the lettings of their sought-after facilities, ensuring they can focus on what really matters; students getting a fantastic education. “We are an ‘Airbnb for schools’, if you like, but we manage the operations for the school too,” says Jemma Phibbs, co-director and founder of School Space, in front of MoneyWeek Magazine.
A partnership with School Space significantly increases a school’s lettings capacity and income. Partner schools in London and Oxford that work with them have seen, on average, a 128% increase in their facility usage within 6 months of working with School Space.
How does it work?
Some of the UK’s best sports and arts facilities are on the premises of British schools.
When school is out, during the evenings, weekends, or school holidays, schools can hire out these top-notch sports halls, main halls, astroturfs, studios and courts to local groups. This not only maximizes the use of their facilities, but also transforms the school into a thriving community hub. In addition to generating new income, using School Space increases community engagement, building networks with local groups and showcasing facilities to prospective parents.
The team at School Space takes care of managing the entire letting process, so the school can just reap the benefits.
They are responsible for:
- Providing excellent customer service throughout the entire process
- Advertising and marketing the space to make sure people know about it
- Managing a calendar of bookings
- Staffing for caretaking and cleaning up after all events
- Welcoming guests and supervising activities onsite
- Invoicing and a full audit trail insurance
- Ensuring all venues are clean and secure, before and after a booking
Since launching in 2011, School Space has made over £1M for schools across London and Oxford.
The School Space vision for the future is to be able to support 10,000 schools in the UK with income generation by renting out their underutilised facilities.
If you’re a head teacher, school business manager or just an active member of your community, learn about how you can help generate additional income for your school!
Get in touch with our team at email@example.com or just give us a call at 0203 369 3269, if you’re in London, or 01865 575 678, if you’re in Oxford.
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