PaJeS believes that collaboration is essential for the future of Jewish schools. We are therefore creating the Jewish Schools Network (JSN) – an umbrella organisation that will support clusters of Jewish schools across the UK and offer them competitive, sustainable and high quality educational programming, services and support. The JSN will help to give strategic vision to schools as well as providing a platform for schools to work together, achieving economies of scale and enhancing the quality of the provision being delivered to students.
Over the past six months we have held a number of meetings for headteachers of Jewish primary and secondary schools in London, Manchester and Gateshead in order to present the JSN proposition. We were very pleased to have had such a positive response, with a wide range of schools represented at each meeting.
The vast majority of the schools who attended these meetings expressed a particular interest in the JSN’s procurement services. Through a group purchasing model, the JSN will help schools to realise significant savings on essential items such as utilities, administrative supplies, staff recruitment, ICT, insurance and security.
We recently appointed Brian Jones, Director of Finance at Sinai Jewish Primary School, as our part-time Chief Commercial Officer. He will be driving the JSN’s commercial offering and developing opportunities for more integrated working across the Jewish educational sector. Brian will be giving presentations to school business managers, bursars, headteachers and governors over the coming months to explain the procurement services that the JSN will be offering.
Financial pressures resulting from reduced fees income and lower than expected budget settlements from Local Authorities, require schools to consider more strategic opportunities to operating within their budget envelope. Following my appointment to the role of CCO with PaJeS, an initial assessment was completed to consider key areas of opportunity with the most benefit to school in reducing their immediate contractual costs with the aim of producing in-year efficiency savings. Negotiations are actively underway with representatives in the areas of Insurance, Agency staffing and Utilities. Whilst the requirements of every school will be different, we would envisage that through a collaborative approach and based upon historical evidence and service mapping, we will be able to reduce costs by a minimum of 10% for individual schools. We would expect to be making formal announcements on these initial partnerships within the next month or two.