The EYFS Framework sets out seven areas of learning and development, and all require resources if your team is to cover them effectively. These resources fall into various categories – from equipment, IT, security and furniture, to learning resources for the children (toys for role play; sensory toys; tools for writing, reading and mathematics; communication and exploratory toys; and ICT). These are key elements of your annual budget, and their variety and quality will influence parents’ impression of your setting.
For these reasons, investing in resources needs careful planning and management to ensure the most effective purchasing decisions…
Your requirements – The initial step is to identify the specific items required for every activity, covering each Framework area and age range. Select reputable suppliers; unfamiliar names may be cheap imports.
Research the products – It’s important that all resources are reviewed by the staff and, where possible, tested to ensure they meet requirements. Involve the parents if you can. Areas such as ICT need particular care to ensure that they’re the correct tools and can be shared by the children.
Quality – This is essential. Items must be robust, durable, easy to maintain and have a long-life. They must be safe and have the correct accreditation. Equipment that’s kept or used outside needs to be frequently checked for damage. Ensure that products can be recycled.
Understand the T&Cs – Check minimum order values, delivery times, how back orders are handled and contractual commitments/periods. Remember that VAT is often omitted from the unit pricing and is added on at the end of the invoice.
Maintain an inventory – You must know what you’re using and how frequently; this enables wasteful usage to be identified.
Purchasing – Review your suppliers of services and products regularly to ensure that you are getting the best value for your needs. Look at the quality, usage levels and price. These initiatives will reduce costs and return better value.
Stephen Gaubert helps organisations to manage their costs and work with you to obtain the best products and solutions.