There has been a lot of debate in the press recently about extending the school year. The impact of the pandemic has had a hugely negative impact on our children’s educational opportunities. But, balanced again this, we know that teachers have been working hard throughout the pandemic educating the children of key worker’s face-to-face and other students online. Teachers need a break and this years summer holiday is going to be well-deserved!

This post is about not about that ‘end of year’. It relates to the financial year end which, for the vast majority of schools, will be the 31st March. Why does this matter? Well, from our experience assisting busy Heads of Music in their departments, the next two weeks presents an ideal opportunity to put in a request for equipment for your department. Headteachers, and other senior leaders with responsibility for budgets, will often have funds unspent that they are looking to allocate. Unspent funding will have to be returned. Timing is of the essence here. We are firmly of the belief that if you don’t ask, you won’t get. Whilst we appreciate that it will take some time crafting a proposal, this could be time well spent. So, what are the key points you should consider when making your request:

  1. Produce a well written and coherent proposal. No rushed, back of the envelope ideas. Make sure your proposal has a clear heading, key aims/objectives, a short description and justification for funding. Keep it to one side of A4. Most headteachers won’t have time to read multiple pages (and you don’t have the time to write them either!).
  2. Ensure that the sums add up. Present a clear budget for the new items (including accessories). Check, and double check, the maths.
  3. Quote for equipment excluding VAT. Remember, although schools are charged VAT at 20% by suppliers they reclaim this under educational supply. Your department should not be paying 20% extra for equipment
  4. Make sure you focus on the positive impact the new equipment will make on the educational opportunities of as many students as possible. Niche requests that only benefit a small number of students can be easily dismissed as non-essential.
  5. If possible, demonstrate how the funding will help you develop your department’s work in a new direction. Demonstrating how it enhances your current work is fine too, but it is good to send an aspirational message about how you are seeking to build on what you are doing.
  6. Remember, headteachers love to see how musical activities can contribute to the wider (read ‘public facing’) life of the school. Talk about how the new equipment will help you facilitate this as well as make a different to the curriculum opportunities that children will get in their lessons with you.

Finally, we spent a huge amount of time each helping Heads of Music in schools across the UK with funding applications. Our funding guide has been downloaded and read by hundreds of teachers. There are many other sources of funding for your music department. We are happy to advise you free of charge and help with your funding applications too. Feel free to contact us with any specific requests. We are here to help.