27 April 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie
The proportion of primary schools using e-procurement is expected to almost double to a half in the next two years, according to the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA).
The trend is part of the findings of BESA's Procurement in English Schools study for 2009. The trade association, which represents more than 300 educational suppliers in the UK, surveyed 288 primary and 198 secondary schools across England.
It found that schools currently using e-procurement often used services operated by local authorities, only available in certain local areas.
E-procurement was found much more widely in secondary schools, with more than 70 per cent using it this year compared with 59 per cent in 2007.
"The number of secondary schools buying with e-procurement is not forecast to rise," the report said. "However, we expect that those already using it will be employing it more."
The study also found that donations to schools had fallen since the recession, leaving them with less to spend.
"Smaller schools, particularly in rural areas, rely on contributions from parents and businesses to help fund special purchases such as ICT suites or play equipment," said BESA director Ray Barker. "Schools are starting to see some of these contributions dry up."