Monetising your school’s ICT facilities

Originally posted on 22 May 2017

Independent schools spend a significant amount of money on ICT facilities both to enhance the learning environment and to ensure the smooth running of the school’s administrative function. Whilst most schools will look to incorporate messages about their ICT facilities into their marketing literature to attract new pupils, there is also the opportunity to leverage ICT to generate income from other sources too.

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Download The Education White PaperTechnology plays an important part in most people’s lives nowadays, and when booking social, educational or leisure activities, having access to good technology, such as fast Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity, forms an important part of people’s decision making process in choosing a venue for such events. This is something which Independent Schools can capitalise on, since they have these facilities anyway, which are often lying dormant, or as a minimum under-utilised, during the school holiday periods.

ICT suite(s) are an obvious facility that can be let out in the school holidays to summer schools, clubs or local groups. However lettings do not need to be restricted to the ICT suite alone nowadays, since most independent schools now enjoy school-wide Wi-Fi and support for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) which presents the opportunity to let out any classroom, allowing guests to bring their own equipment and effectively set up an ICT suite "on the fly".

Many Independent Schools have also invested in a music technology suite, which is a desirable facility which can be let to groups, clubs and budding local musicians during periods when the school is not using it.

Wi-Fi is also now considered a "must have" for events such as weddings, parties, summer schools or business conferences. Whilst they are not always aware of it, many schools’ Wi-Fi systems offer the facility to generate restricted-duration tickets for guest Wi-Fi access, as well as the ability to charge for Wi-Fi access in the way that many hotels do, typically offering a basic level of connectivity for free and then charging a fee for higher speed/capacity.

Most schools have also bitten the bullet and paid the charges needed to get high speed leased line Internet connectivity into their premises. However many smaller businesses or clubs in the area cannot necessarily afford these type of costs. This offers another opportunity to Independent Schools to provide a slice of their internet connectivity to a local small business/golf club/sports club etc as an income generator for the school.

So one way and another there is much that schools can do to leverage their ICT and create an additional income stream from it.

Naturally if you're planning to provide access to your school ICT facilities to outsiders, then some suitable security provisions need to be put in place. This is relatively straightforward though, since firewall policies can be set up and Wi-Fi configured such that guests are kept completely separate from the school's network traffic and systems.

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