Once you’ve decided your school is heading down the iPad route, the next step is to find the perfect financial option for your scheme (one that’s going to help you get the most out of your budget, ideally). To get a better understanding of the range of options out there, we sat down with our finance partners Burnetts and CHG Meridian to ask the big questions concerning finance…
We’ve never heard of a contribution scheme. What are they and how do they work?
“A parental contribution scheme is a programme whereby the parents of pupils opt to pay towards devices their children are going to be using in school, whether that be in full or in part. For a lot of schools, parental contribution schemes are the only way to make a new technology investment happen. If you’ve decided to run a contribution scheme, the first question to ask is whether you have any budget to put towards the scheme or if you need to fund the whole scheme through contributions. Don’t worry, either way works.”
How does it benefit the school?
“It’s all about providing sustainable IT. We all know the advantages mobile device technology can bring to teaching and learning, especially in a 1:1 deployment, but they can be expensive for a school to cover the whole cost, so getting parents on board is key. If they can see the advantages iPad is having to their child’s progress, they will pay towards the technology needed.”
What does a monthly payment from a parent actually pay for?
“That monthly payment pays for: the iPad (along with any associated accessories, such as cases), warranty protection for the length of the lease, insurance against accidental damage, theft and misappropriation by an authorised user. It also covers parental contribution cancellation insurance to make sure the school isn’t out of pocket if a parent leaves the scheme for any reason. Also Direct Debit collection costs and all administration costs for managing changes of payment details, and all correspondence with parents if a payment is missed.”
How do we make sure we’re getting the most out of our budget?
“As the lease agreement is with your school rather than with individual parents, we don’t need to run any credit scoring or background checks. Instead, you can use public sector borrowing power to get lower finance rates, and students and parents pay you back a monthly fee based on that rate, rather than the higher one they’d be offered in the high street. You will need to pay the VAT upfront, but you can claim this back at the end of the scheme (to do this you need to prove the device is essential for learning, so you’ll need to offer it to all pupils within a year group or across your school to qualify).”
Do we have to organise all the admin side?
“Nope – Jigsaw24 have all the admin legwork covered, providing an exclusive digital portal, branded to fit in with the rest of your school website. Parents can log in to this using a secure username and password, then choose from a pre-selected list of devices and accessories. They then register their Direct Debit details so that Burnetts can administer their monthly payments on behalf of the school.”
How do we collect Direct Debits, and what happens if a payment bounces?
“When a Direct Debit collection fails, we know straight away. Burnetts will agree with you in advance how you would like this to be managed, then the team will contact parents on the school’s behalf and make alternative arrangements, all being discussed with you to make sure you keep control of your scheme. For example, you might want two collections to be made the following month, or might choose to spread the missing payment over the remaining period. If a parent stops paying, you can protect your school by taking out Burnetts’s Parental Contribution Cancellation Insurance.”
So who actually owns the devices?
“Good question. The leasing company technically owns the device, but the agreement is with the school directly. It is possible for school to pay a portion of the cost of devices (so things are cheaper for parents) and the monthly cost for parents can be adjusted to compensate for any extra investment from the school. The title to the devices can be transferred to parents by paying the residual value of the iPad as a one-off payment at the end of the scheme. Alternatively it could be built into the monthly contribution amount from the start.
“This can also be extended to staff. We’d advise setting up a separate login area for staff, showing a pre-agreed list of devices (which could extend to Mac notebooks and other additional devices) with options for monthly payments, but the mechanics of the system would be the same as the student purchase scheme. We can also offer salary sacrifice schemes for teaching staff.”
How do we get started?
“We can help you with everything from all the equipment, including iPad devices, WiFi, software and apps, to a compliant operating lease, theft and accidental damage insurance to make sure your devices are protected, as well as a system for collecting contributions from parents. If you’re looking to run one of these schemes, one of the Jigsaw24 education team can come to your school to have a chat about it with a representative of both CHG Meridian and Burnetts.”
Want to know more about options for financing your IT vision? Get in touch with the education team on 03332 409 217 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.