With most schools in the UK declaring that they are officially out for summer, it is time for everyone to put their feet up isn’t? Wrong! COVID-19 has had a hard-hitting effect on us, leaving many people and businesses with large holes in their pockets. Although the government has agreed that schools will still receive their core funding allocations, meaning teachers who are still doing online lessons can be paid and other financial commitments are met, the crisis has still been a huge blow to regular income. A huge number of support staff at schools have been furloughed due to COVID-19, with the aim that the support from the government will help business as usual to continue when we come out of the global pandemic. However, this is not guaranteed yet, and it is therefore a good time to consider other avenues for saving costs as we watch the next few months play out.

According to Sarah Ingrams from Which, Oil prices have plummeted to their lowest levels in three years, with the average price of a litre of heating oil dropping by 29%. Over a range of different oils, you can now pay an average of 36p per litre, compared to 51p per litre at the beginning of the year. For schools, this is something to take into consideration when buying gas and electricity, as with a business account you can buy your energy up to three years in advance.

Now, even though buying oil now while the prices are low is definitely a good idea, this isn’t necessarily the most reliable way to go about saving money in the long term. If we look at previous patterns, it is more likely for oil prices to go up not down, so who knows what could happen in a matter of months. Where will this leave us at the end of the three years of cheap energy? Well, probably footing a large bill for the next year that we cannot afford. We must therefore look at other avenues.

Through this crisis we have been forced to reduce our energy consumption in schools without pupils, teachers and many staff being there, but this could all go back to how it was before if we are not careful. Looking right across the board at all the ways we spend money and changing our behaviour towards it is a great start. Consumption reduction is the only real way to reduce our long-term costs. For example, if we look at how much photocopying paper we use, take that amount and aim to reduce the figure down by giving each individual the responsibility to only use a certain amount of paper per week we will achieve a consumption reduction over time. Not only does this help costs, but it is also much more environmentally friendly and gets rid of a lot of waste.

So, two key things to look at, first, the price of energy, a quick effective way in the short term to save money. Secondly, consumption, the less we consume, the less we spend. Now, this all sounds obvious but if you look at the habits within your school, do you really think they are efficient. You will most likely find there to be a huge amount of unnecessary costs. Through behavioural change over time you can fill the gaps that coronavirus has made in your regular income.

We have lots of information on our website about our Using Less Stuff Behaviour Change Programme we would love you to read!  Our ULS Behaviour Change Programme is a one stop shop to reducing consumption across your school and/or business.  It’s the ‘How to’ rather than the ‘why we should’. And it is designed to change behaviour across the whole organisation from the Head/CEO down, including all staff and teams.  It’s a monthly subscription online programme, which once you start using less, pays for itself in savings made.

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