Is The Paperless School In Sight?

When Islay High School in Scotland invested in purchasing a mobile PC and tablet for every pupil and teacher, it was imperative that they find savings to support the cost of implementing this technology. To raise the £141,000 required to buy 245 Samsung Ultra mobiles and satisfy the requirement of purchasing another 41 Samsungs for next year’s Year 7 intake, they had to review where their budget was going. The answer was unexpected, with the school realizing that a significant expenditure was taken up by photocopying fees. In 2005/2006 alone, the school had spent over £20,000 on paper, ink, and jotters. Upon further scrutiny, it was revealed that at least 50% of this budget was used for paper-based memos.

To combat this, the school introduced a central intranet system that could house all the necessary information. All data was divided up for staff and pupils, and this eliminated the need for paper memos. The school estimated that if every pupil had an Ultra Mobile and every teacher had a PC, that a significant reduction in photocopying and printing costs could be achieved.

After discussions with suppliers, the school discovered that it could transform its sophisticated photocopier into an industrial-grade scanner by adding a PC and specific software. As a result, all incoming paper documents were scanned and saved on the school’s intranet rather than being printed in hard copy. The conversion was a turnkey solution that could be carried out under the school’s existing contract with Canon.

The deployment of this system resulted in an 80% reduction in printing and photocopying costs every term, and the school succeeded in cutting costs by much more than expected. The school staff communicated all memos through the intranet, and most students used OneNote on their Ultra Mobiles to do all their assignments, leading to a reduction of paper usage. Hence, the school could eliminate the need for big, bulky handouts, such as course notes, reminders, and memos.

Another advantage of reducing paper expenditure is a recycling program. Besides, investing in open-source alternatives helped teachers to save money and reduce overall expenditure. For instance, Adobe Photoshop is costly, and purchasing a license for the entire school can be expensive. However, a few software such as Photoshop Elements, The Gimp, Artrage, Blender, Open Office, and Audacity could do the job.

As teachers search for ways to minimize expenditure, it is possible to toggle between digital and paper-based methods, which would help reduce costs and promote environmental friendliness. Through innovative solutions, costs can be drastically reduced without compromising the quality of education.

Blogging for Professional Development

Encourage all educators in your institution to compose and publish a blog post once a month, on a regularly rotating basis, on a common blog. This way, everyone can share a valuable educational method they have found successful. By doing so, you will have access to helpful everyday professional development contributions from colleagues without having to pay for substitutes to attend costly and possibly ineffective training programs.

Ewan McIntosh, the National Advisor for Learning and Technology Futures from Learning and Teaching Scotland, recommends this practice.

Savings with 80%

As per Robert Hart, CEO of Intuitive Media and former ICT advisor with Sheffield, expensive software with elaborate features often makes up for only 20% of the user’s requirements. Consequently, purchasing a software with 80% of the necessary abilities can save teachers a lot of money. Apple’s iWork costs less than Microsoft Office and provides most of the latter’s features.

Further savings can be achieved by utilizing Pixelmator instead of Photoshop while offering 80% of the latter’s functions. For instance, Pixelmator (Mac only) has a price of £30.61, whereas Photoshop CS3 has a rate of £569.

Savings with Open Source

Introducing Linux "thin clients" to your institution can lead to substantial ICT budget reductions, allowing you to improve school infrastructure. Moreover, providing courses like digital applications at GCSE and Applied GCE ICT at A level can be achieved easily with open-source software without any costs. Implementing open-source solutions like Karoshi for servers can save around £30,000, allowing you to distribute more hardware and computers among both students and staff.

Garry Saddington, ICT Coordinator from Skegness Grammar School, and Jo Harris, Network Manager from Dover Grammar School for Boys, are advocates for saving costs by using open-source technology.

Final Thoughts

By adopting cost-effective techniques like blogging for professional development and utilizing open-source software, teachers and educational organizations can save a substantial amount of money. These savings may be utilized for the betterment of the institution by providing more infrastructure and hardware for both staff and students.


  • bensonsimpson

    Hi! I'm Benson Simpson, a 35-year-old educational blogger and teacher. I write about educational topics such as student motivation, creativity, and effective teaching techniques. I also run a blog about creativity and learning, which you can find at



Hi! I'm Benson Simpson, a 35-year-old educational blogger and teacher. I write about educational topics such as student motivation, creativity, and effective teaching techniques. I also run a blog about creativity and learning, which you can find at