Could a new social network provide a cash boost for Banbury schools?

Despite budget cuts Banbury schools are performing well when compared to regional and national averages for educational standards at GCSE level but could be more efficient according to a private social network.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 1:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 1:06 pm
Education news

Schools within Banbury have achieved 46 per cent against 'Attainment 8' targets compared with 47 per cent regionally and 46 per cent nationally. Progression at secondary schools has been in line with national expectation based on the “Progress 8” metric.

OFSTED reports 90 per cent of primary schools in the area to be good or outstanding, compared to 89 per cent and 88 per cent, regionally and nationally. At the secondary level, they report that 88 per cent are good or outstanding, against 84 per cent regionally and 76 per cent nationally.

This means there is a case to seek opportunities to identify further ongoing improvements, including in how parents, pupils and staff are engaged in learning.

Financially, however, times are difficult, with Banbury having a per pupil funding of £4,284 against the regional and national figures of £4,396 and £4,694 including LEA and Academy chain central support spend.

Funding is a huge problem and shows no signs of easing. Both primary and secondary schools have had funding slashed, with 74 per cent of primary school survey respondents and 73 per cent of secondary school respondents saying that they had less to spend on resources. Almost half of respondents also said that IT provisions had been reduced.

Per pupil funding levels in 2013/2014 (scaled to 2018/19 prices) were £4,506 against the regional and national figures of £4,665 and £4,694. This represents a drop at national level to 95 per cent of 2013/14 funding and at constituency level a drop to 95 per cent of 2013/2014 funding.

Simply looking at Space Studio Banbury, Blessed George Napier Catholic School And Sports College, St Mary's Church Of England Primary School, Banbury and Harriers Banbury Academy, shows that pupil funding is £7,333, £4,904, £4,159 and £3,720 respectively, which highlights the need to look creatively at making savings and finding new income streams.

Schools across Banbury are under increasing pressure to think more commercially about how to save money, and if possible, generate revenue.

Schools can typically spend thousands of pounds a year on systems that are intended to improve communication, but that in practice are built on 20th century technology, cost a lot of money and don’t move the educational agenda forward.

As the downward pressure on budgets continues, communication suffers which can lead to a negative impact on learning, a lack of focus, a failure of purpose and a loss of credibility for the school.

That is why The Collate Loop is offering support to local schools in Cherwell. The mission of The Collate Loop is to help ease the financial pressures on schools’ budgets, improve parental engagement, and develop social communication in schools across Banbury. The Loop also provides schools with a modern set of tools to help teach children about internet safety.

With The Loop, the 50 schools across Banbury could create combined savings and revenue of over £175000.

The Collate Loop is a private social network for schools that brings social communication to all school stakeholders, including teachers, leaders, parents, pupils, staff and governors.

Cost saving for each school would be achieved in a number of ways;

• The Loop is full scale private social network, but also serves traditional school communication, as such school’s no longer need their existing communication tools (SMS sending service, push service). We will knock off 20% of their current spend immediately when they move to us, plus give them their own private social network in with this cost.

• The Loop is capable of carrying carefully curated local adverts, which are served to grownups who use the service. We are able to take some of the revenue derived from the ads and give this back to the school.

• Schools that refer to other schools receive a 1/10 discount on their annual charge (a handful of terms apply). This can continue until there is zero cost for The Loop, with possible revenue from ads only.

Martyn Allan, director of The Collate Loop said: "These are difficult times for education in the country. We must move forward together as a society and new technology provides unparalleled opportunities for schools in Cherwell to improve education, reduce spending and generate an income which can be used for other important items such as school equipment and additional resources.

He added: "We are proud to offer our private social network to schools as a way of contributing to solving a number of problems.”

To find out more visit their website.