Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Having served as a Head of Science for 10 years, I know how hard it is to order for a
new academic year.
It requires co-ordination of technicians to provide accurate stock checks and of the teaching team to contribute their thoughts on equipment which is past its sell by date, or to bring in new ideas which need equipment to back them up.
Once this information is collated, you are then in a position where you have to justify the spend. This varies dependent on your school’s situation.
1. Established and trusted HoD has the final say, and the order is signed off without second thought.
2. Established and trusted HoD but with a new Head who is charged with reducing the budget and requires demonstrable value for money.
3. Experience HoD in a new school who wants to inject new energy into their department; but this requires money.
4. New HoD. Trusting those around them to have provided the right information, but can’t be sure that spend is reasonable, affordable or justified
The list is endless.
I was fortunate that for the bulk of my time as HoD Science, I had Heads and Senior Leaders who were also scientists, so they could give my order the once over and them make recommendations, or provide a double tick.
Lots of HoDs, Heads, SLs, SBLs aren’t in the position to know what represents good value.
So it often boils down to one deciding factor; does it fit the budget?
The school can often be left in the position where either there is a very expensive white elephant tucked away in the corner whilst more frequently used equipment is showing wear and tear, or the department has everything it needs, but to fit the budget quality has been compromised.
I once worked in a school where we could only buy from one supplier. The Head had decreed. When I joined and found this fact out from my Senior Technician, I asked why. I think to be honest, I knew the reason. It was the cheapest.
Quality was being sacrificed for cost.
I learnt on a train from Milan to Amsterdam once that architecture was based on three things; time, quality and cost – and you could only ever have two of them.
If you wanted quality at a low cost, then it was going to take a lot of time. Quick and quality? Get ready to put your hand in your pocket. If you want something quick and cheap, you can’t get the quality.
This has stuck with me and is central to developing one of DPS’ core principles; school’s cannot afford cheap.
Whilst a low upfront cost may be attractive, the total cost of ownership of equipment; repairs maintenance, can soon rack up the pounds.
I always tried to get the best value when placing orders for my department. This mean scouring five different catalogues to find comparable items then phoning up to try to haggle with my local sales rep. Not always successful, but always took time.
Since stepping away from the classroom in December 2019, I have taken to time to find the very best commercial terms that suppliers are willing to offer so that those terms are there for every school at the point of need.
You don’t have to wait for the big summer order to help save a few %.
Discounts made readily available whatever the size of the order.
Science being my background, this is subject I started with and I am delighted to say that I have secured a 20% discount, ready at the point of need, for any school that joins the DPS community.
That’s not all;
Design Technology – 10-15%
Stationery – 10%
Telecommunications – 10%
Discounts ready for your school to access when you need them.
Thinking back to the time I could have saved or redirected when I was a HoD, I would have seen DPS as a blessing.