Schools minister Lord Nash has warned schools to “cut their cloth” in order to adapt to an increasingly difficult economic climate.
Speaking during the Independent Academies Association’s autumn conference Lord Nash, who chairs the Future Academies chain of schools, said that schools had so far been relatively well protected from public spending cuts, but that would all change following the next election.
“Given the state of the public finances we have inherited, this government has done pretty well to protect the schools budget, but I’m afraid that whichever party wins the next election there will be further cuts in the public sector,” he told the Independent Academies Association’s autumn conference.
“Education in schools has operated in a relatively benign financial climate for a long time. But a new generation of school leaders is going to have to emerge to cut their cloth to drive efficiencies.”
He said finance would be one of the biggest challenges for all schools in the next few years and that institutions needed to start finding ways to make their funds go further.
He suggested that savings needed to be made through more effective purchasing, economies of scale, a more efficient use of teachers and teaching assistants and a better use of IT, he said.
He also praised the routes taken by some academy chains were to standardise lesson plans and spend more time on delivering the lessons instead.
Meanwhile, Independent Academies Association president and former schools minister, Lord Adonis, told the conference that the government should provide incentives to encourage schools to work more closely with business.
He encouraged schools to hire a full-time director of enterprise and employment in its senior leadership team, whose role would be to engage with employers to make workplace experience and lessons in enterprise part of mainstream education.
He went on to say that he had high hopes that this would eventually become the industry standard at some point in the future, thanks to match funding.
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