2020 was a year like no other for schools and academies. Pre-pandemic, income generated from community lettings and commercial activity accounted for around 8% of an average MAT or Secondary school’s income. The last year has seen this reduced to 4% - equating to approximately £377m of additional income lost.
Alongside the impact of complete closure of sporting and community facilities, in August 2020 one of the largest school lettings management providers - School Lettings Solutions went into administration. They worked with around 300 schools nationally, and employed over 900 staff. A Times article published in February claims they went under owing £4.16million in unpaid invoices to schools. Following all of this schools and academies are coming under fire for outsourcing this service.
But for those who have only just put community lettings on the agenda, how do they manage these bookings on limited budgets and already stretched resources? This is where outsourcing can be useful, the potential for a third party to come in and find customers, manage the admin/payments and physically be on-site during the booking is very attractive – particularly if there is a competitive financial model in favour of the school or academy.
The challenge is one of trust.
How do schools and academies know they are selecting a trusted lettings partner?
What financial models ensure that schools/academies are receiving a fair cut of the income?
How do they protect themselves should the worst happen again, and a lettings partner goes under?
With the sector emerging from lockdown, and with the ability again to re-open their doors to the community, now is the time to rethink your operational model.
Oaks and School Space have co-produced this guide of key recommendations to ensuring your lettings income, customers and reputation are protected. Whether you’re looking to let out your spaces for the very first time, or you have suddenly been left without your lettings partner, it’s a must-read!