The past three Prime Ministers have promised that essential school funding will become a top priority. The truth, however, is that an additional £12.6 billion would be needed over the next two years to bring UK school funding back up to 2015 levels. The pandemic in particular has put a dampener on public funding.
Schools have had little choice but to become more strict with their spending. Some are looking into measures such as becoming more energy-efficient, which is great news for the environment. Sadly, others feel they have no option but to explore measures such as recruitment freezes, which are having significant impacts on learning. For establishments that haven’t yet looked into cutting costs through reducing waste, more stringent policies for the use of printers and photocopiers in schools can be useful.
Waste paper in schools
It’s reported that the average UK secondary school produces 22kg of waste per pupil, and that figure is more than double for primary schools. Perhaps unsurprisingly, paper and card are some of the biggest drivers of that waste. In fact, it’s estimated that paper waste costs schools around £484 million per year.
So, what’s the solution?
Perhaps the obvious solution is not to print at all; to move all learning and communication resources into a digital format. It’s a great idea. But as any educator will understand, going 100% digital is not possible.
Of course, there are ways to cut down on print needs. Using digital methods to communicate with parents rather than printing letters, for example. But in the classroom, children need their own tangible resources. And schools must also be able to maintain effective communications with families who are not digitally connected at home. The UK education sector simply cannot rely on digital experiences alone.
So instead of looking into ways to eradicate printing in schools entirely, it’s important to look at ways to make printing more efficient, to reduce waste, and ultimately to minimise the cost of printed materials.
Here are V Technical’s top tips for reducing print spending in schools:
1 – Opt for monochrome prints
Printing in black & white or grayscale is far more cost-effective than printing in full colour. Teachers should consider displaying a full-colour digital version of a resource on a screen in the classroom, but providing individual children with monochrome printouts. This offers a ‘best of both worlds’ situation, engaging students through attractive visuals while simultaneously reducing the cost of large-scale colour printing.
2 – Print economically
There are many ways to print more economically, from purchasing (or leasing) economical printers and copiers, to making sure to use the print preview function. Using a smaller font, and choosing the duplex print option to print on both sides of a piece of paper are also useful methods. Schools can buy printer cartridges that have been recycled, which are often more cost-effective (and eco-friendly) than standard cartridges.
3 – Control access
Where possible, it can be beneficial to move printers and copiers out of individual classrooms and communal areas, into restricted access areas such as a school library or administration office. This prevents personal printing. It also allows for printing needs to be checked for validity, and for appointed persons to recommend the most suitable printing options for each job – or suggest digital alternatives.
4 – Minimise printer errors
Paper jams that crumple up sheets and poor quality prints are major sources of wasted paper. By signing up for a contract for printer repair in Kent, local schools can minimise the risk of machine errors, and reduce any costs should repairs be necessary. At V Technical, we offer special rates for service & maintenance contracts for schools across the region.
Tackle the crisis with help from V Technical
Looking for an economical printer for your school? Interested in low-cost photocopier leasing? We’re here to help. Get in touch with V Technical to learn more about our dedicated services for schools.