Waltham Forest Schools strike deals to reduce debt

SCHOOLS left with crippling debts after falling victim to hidden costs in equipment hire contracts are believed to have struck deals with banks to reduce their liabilities.

It emerged that a number of Waltham Forest schools, which have been handed greater power over their budgets, were left with debts totalling more than £1million after signng contracts with companies for electrical goods, such as printers and laptops.

Some firms then went into liquidation, leaving schools owing large amounts to banks, or large hidden costs emerged.

The Guardian understands the council has now reached agreements with banks to reduce the amount of money schools owe.

Thomas Gamuel Primary School in Colchester Road, Walthamstow, is believed to have been left with seven-figure liabilities after signing a number of leases, incuding a deal for CCTV in 2010.

Clydesdale Bank, which was the bank involved in the contract, has since agreed to cancel the lease.

Edinburgh Primary School in Queens Road, Walthamstow, hired equipment worth up to £60,000, but was left liable for nearly double that amount.

Willow Brook Primary School in Church Road, Leyton, Jenny Hammond Primary School in Worsley Road, Leytonstone, and William Morris School in Folly Lane, Walthamstow, are also believed to have been affected.

Waltham Forest Council lawyers have been negotiating with banks in an attempt to reduce the debts, but banks are understood to be unwilling to cancel the complete liabilities.

The authority and the schools are bound by a confidentiality agreements imposed by the banks which prevent the details of the deals being made public.

Steve White, the borough's National Union of Teachers (NUT) representative, said: "It's fantastic the agreements to cut the debts are happening. The council has bailed them out.

"They couldn't do that for an academy. I worry that some schools could get caught so badly they're forced to close."

The council declined to comment.

Comments (23)

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6:53pm Tue 27 Nov 12

mdj says...

Instead of finding it 'fantastic' that the Council has bailed out these obviously crazy agreements, perhaps Steve White could be finding out what legal advice these schools sought in the first place from those Council officials highly paid to offer it.
Was it possibly members of his union who signed our schools up to agreements obviously beyond their competence to negotiate?
We need to know much more about how this can be possible.Who on earth signs a photocopier agreement with a confidentiality clause? Since these companies have been liquidated, who is going to sue on those clauses anyway? The secrecy can only serve to protect the incompetent to blunder again in the future. Is he happy with that?

'The council has bailed them out. They couldn't do that for an academy'
Unfortunately, you've just made an argument FOR academies, Steve!
If these schools were academies, they might have been much more careful with their limited budget, rather than throwing other peoples' money down the drain.
Instead of finding it 'fantastic' that the Council has bailed out these obviously crazy agreements, perhaps Steve White could be finding out what legal advice these schools sought in the first place from those Council officials highly paid to offer it. Was it possibly members of his union who signed our schools up to agreements obviously beyond their competence to negotiate? We need to know much more about how this can be possible.Who on earth signs a photocopier agreement with a confidentiality clause? Since these companies have been liquidated, who is going to sue on those clauses anyway? The secrecy can only serve to protect the incompetent to blunder again in the future. Is he happy with that? 'The council has bailed them out. They couldn't do that for an academy' Unfortunately, you've just made an argument FOR academies, Steve! If these schools were academies, they might have been much more careful with their limited budget, rather than throwing other peoples' money down the drain. mdj

9:42pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Obstinate says...

mdj wrote:
Instead of finding it 'fantastic' that the Council has bailed out these obviously crazy agreements, perhaps Steve White could be finding out what legal advice these schools sought in the first place from those Council officials highly paid to offer it.
Was it possibly members of his union who signed our schools up to agreements obviously beyond their competence to negotiate?
We need to know much more about how this can be possible.Who on earth signs a photocopier agreement with a confidentiality clause? Since these companies have been liquidated, who is going to sue on those clauses anyway? The secrecy can only serve to protect the incompetent to blunder again in the future. Is he happy with that?

'The council has bailed them out. They couldn't do that for an academy'
Unfortunately, you've just made an argument FOR academies, Steve!
If these schools were academies, they might have been much more careful with their limited budget, rather than throwing other peoples' money down the drain.
mdj the confidentiality relates to the NEW agreement with the bank, not the original agreement with the lease company.

Schools are responsible for their own budgets (that's the way they and many other people wanted it), if they do not seek advice that is their error. Unfortunately in this case I can see no blame with the council. It is not only schools in this area that have been taken in by this, it has happened in other areas of the country.

What makes you think an academy is going to treat it's budget any differently to a school? I would be interested to hear your reasoning behind this thought. Personally I don't see the difference as it will be the same people involved, if they don't take the time to get advice when they work at a school why will they when they are in an academy?
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: Instead of finding it 'fantastic' that the Council has bailed out these obviously crazy agreements, perhaps Steve White could be finding out what legal advice these schools sought in the first place from those Council officials highly paid to offer it. Was it possibly members of his union who signed our schools up to agreements obviously beyond their competence to negotiate? We need to know much more about how this can be possible.Who on earth signs a photocopier agreement with a confidentiality clause? Since these companies have been liquidated, who is going to sue on those clauses anyway? The secrecy can only serve to protect the incompetent to blunder again in the future. Is he happy with that? 'The council has bailed them out. They couldn't do that for an academy' Unfortunately, you've just made an argument FOR academies, Steve! If these schools were academies, they might have been much more careful with their limited budget, rather than throwing other peoples' money down the drain.[/p][/quote]mdj the confidentiality relates to the NEW agreement with the bank, not the original agreement with the lease company. Schools are responsible for their own budgets (that's the way they and many other people wanted it), if they do not seek advice that is their error. Unfortunately in this case I can see no blame with the council. It is not only schools in this area that have been taken in by this, it has happened in other areas of the country. What makes you think an academy is going to treat it's budget any differently to a school? I would be interested to hear your reasoning behind this thought. Personally I don't see the difference as it will be the same people involved, if they don't take the time to get advice when they work at a school why will they when they are in an academy? Obstinate

10:16pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Cornbeefur says...

Sadly, when people sign money belonging to others without consequence of waste, this is what happens.

Shame that they did not put their house on it.

Then again, I feel the contacts they signed may be flawed?
Sadly, when people sign money belonging to others without consequence of waste, this is what happens. Shame that they did not put their house on it. Then again, I feel the contacts they signed may be flawed? Cornbeefur

10:18pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Cornbeefur says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
Sadly, when people sign money belonging to others without consequence of waste, this is what happens.

Shame that they did not put their house on it.

Then again, I feel the contacts they signed may be flawed?
Soul loser will ultimately be LBWF Council Tax Payers though of course?
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: Sadly, when people sign money belonging to others without consequence of waste, this is what happens. Shame that they did not put their house on it. Then again, I feel the contacts they signed may be flawed?[/p][/quote]Soul loser will ultimately be LBWF Council Tax Payers though of course? Cornbeefur

10:47pm Tue 27 Nov 12

mdj says...

'.. if they don't take the time to get advice when they work at a school why will they when they are in an academy?'

Because they know that no kind person will come along and bail them out, as I said above.
It's fictional to say that schools ( or anyone else) are 'responsible' for their budgets if someone else is picking up the tab for their mistakes.
Like schools, Councils are responsible for spending money entrusted to them for the general good: that is why there are elaborate rules (too often bypassed) to make sure that comparisons are made via a tendering process, when offers are made that are too good to be true.

Were these schools 'caught'; as Steve White says? it seems that individuals made decisions about using other peoples' money in ways they would not dream of using their own.

I'm sure he's as alarmed as I am about what impact these losses will have on the quality of schooling provided: but, like many good people who believe in the collective provision of services, he mustn't blind himself to how fiascos like this undermine their cause.
In a system where no one can be blamed, no one can be trusted.
'.. if they don't take the time to get advice when they work at a school why will they when they are in an academy?' Because they know that no kind person will come along and bail them out, as I said above. It's fictional to say that schools ( or anyone else) are 'responsible' for their budgets if someone else is picking up the tab for their mistakes. Like schools, Councils are responsible for spending money entrusted to them for the general good: that is why there are elaborate rules (too often bypassed) to make sure that comparisons are made via a tendering process, when offers are made that are too good to be true. Were these schools 'caught'; as Steve White says? it seems that individuals made decisions about using other peoples' money in ways they would not dream of using their own. I'm sure he's as alarmed as I am about what impact these losses will have on the quality of schooling provided: but, like many good people who believe in the collective provision of services, he mustn't blind himself to how fiascos like this undermine their cause. In a system where no one can be blamed, no one can be trusted. mdj

11:10pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Obstinate says...

mdj wrote:
'.. if they don't take the time to get advice when they work at a school why will they when they are in an academy?'

Because they know that no kind person will come along and bail them out, as I said above.
It's fictional to say that schools ( or anyone else) are 'responsible' for their budgets if someone else is picking up the tab for their mistakes.
Like schools, Councils are responsible for spending money entrusted to them for the general good: that is why there are elaborate rules (too often bypassed) to make sure that comparisons are made via a tendering process, when offers are made that are too good to be true.

Were these schools 'caught'; as Steve White says? it seems that individuals made decisions about using other peoples' money in ways they would not dream of using their own.

I'm sure he's as alarmed as I am about what impact these losses will have on the quality of schooling provided: but, like many good people who believe in the collective provision of services, he mustn't blind himself to how fiascos like this undermine their cause.
In a system where no one can be blamed, no one can be trusted.
But in this case mdj nobody has bailed the school out. They still owe a substantial amount of money, the council has merely negotiated a reduced amount of cash, something that could have been done without council help had they the knowledge or sought the advice to do this themselves. The debt remains to be paid by the school, from their budget.

Academy status will not protect the school from people signing contracts that they fail to fully understand or take advice on.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: '.. if they don't take the time to get advice when they work at a school why will they when they are in an academy?' Because they know that no kind person will come along and bail them out, as I said above. It's fictional to say that schools ( or anyone else) are 'responsible' for their budgets if someone else is picking up the tab for their mistakes. Like schools, Councils are responsible for spending money entrusted to them for the general good: that is why there are elaborate rules (too often bypassed) to make sure that comparisons are made via a tendering process, when offers are made that are too good to be true. Were these schools 'caught'; as Steve White says? it seems that individuals made decisions about using other peoples' money in ways they would not dream of using their own. I'm sure he's as alarmed as I am about what impact these losses will have on the quality of schooling provided: but, like many good people who believe in the collective provision of services, he mustn't blind himself to how fiascos like this undermine their cause. In a system where no one can be blamed, no one can be trusted.[/p][/quote]But in this case mdj nobody has bailed the school out. They still owe a substantial amount of money, the council has merely negotiated a reduced amount of cash, something that could have been done without council help had they the knowledge or sought the advice to do this themselves. The debt remains to be paid by the school, from their budget. Academy status will not protect the school from people signing contracts that they fail to fully understand or take advice on. Obstinate

11:52pm Tue 27 Nov 12

mdj says...

'But in this case mdj nobody has bailed the school out..'
Well, Steve White seems to think so. It's frustrating not to have a fuller picture, but sadly that's a typical situation for the ordinary member of the public.

Can any reader give us more detail on how a primary school can end up in hock for a million quid for office equipment, assuming that 'seven-figure' quote is correct?
'But in this case mdj nobody has bailed the school out..' Well, Steve White seems to think so. It's frustrating not to have a fuller picture, but sadly that's a typical situation for the ordinary member of the public. Can any reader give us more detail on how a primary school can end up in hock for a million quid for office equipment, assuming that 'seven-figure' quote is correct? mdj

7:58am Wed 28 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

mdj wrote:
'But in this case mdj nobody has bailed the school out..'
Well, Steve White seems to think so. It's frustrating not to have a fuller picture, but sadly that's a typical situation for the ordinary member of the public.

Can any reader give us more detail on how a primary school can end up in hock for a million quid for office equipment, assuming that 'seven-figure' quote is correct?
mdj, I hope the following helps.

It would seem that in the above account that there have been cases of schools hiring equipment which, unknown to them, has not been bought outright at source, but with a bank loan. When the company goes out of business the schools owe the money to the bank. Reading the story, though, I think the total is £1m, not the sum each school owes. It's not very clear.

But that's not the only danger area for schools. Below is a summary of information given ar a training course when the full horror which can hit a school came home, not because they have been criminally irresponsible but because the true costs are "hidden". It is not illegal, but if teeters on the edge of sharp practice in the companies concerned.

Basically, there are several kinds of lease and in addition the dreaded "roll-ups".

In a finance lease, you repay the full cost of the equipment plus interest. In an operating lease, the leasing company sell the equipment for a built in amount at the end of the lease, and you finance the costs of the goods minus this amount. Of the two, the finance leases tend to be more expensive because they can carry high rates of interest (248 per cent in one case I heard about).

Another highly risky area is lease "roll ups" - a lease ends early because the equipment needs to be replaced but still has outstanding payments, new equipment is provided on a new lease agreement, the outstanding payments are rolled up into the new lease agreement, the new agreement is for the same period as the original one, and before you know it, you owe shed-loads of money.

In a training session, the following example was quoted. A school started off in 2001 paying around £1,600 a quarter on a five year lease for four photocopiers, made a few additions and replacements over the years, several on roll-ups, and when they wanted to terminate the leases which were becoming too expensive per quarter in 2006-07, found the termination fee was £300,000.

As a result of all this, the local authority now not only has a list of approved providers but also a department which will check every arrangement before the school signs up.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: 'But in this case mdj nobody has bailed the school out..' Well, Steve White seems to think so. It's frustrating not to have a fuller picture, but sadly that's a typical situation for the ordinary member of the public. Can any reader give us more detail on how a primary school can end up in hock for a million quid for office equipment, assuming that 'seven-figure' quote is correct?[/p][/quote]mdj, I hope the following helps. It would seem that in the above account that there have been cases of schools hiring equipment which, unknown to them, has not been bought outright at source, but with a bank loan. When the company goes out of business the schools owe the money to the bank. Reading the story, though, I think the total is £1m, not the sum each school owes. It's not very clear. But that's not the only danger area for schools. Below is a summary of information given ar a training course when the full horror which can hit a school came home, not because they have been criminally irresponsible but because the true costs are "hidden". It is not illegal, but if teeters on the edge of sharp practice in the companies concerned. Basically, there are several kinds of lease and in addition the dreaded "roll-ups". In a finance lease, you repay the full cost of the equipment plus interest. In an operating lease, the leasing company sell the equipment for a built in amount at the end of the lease, and you finance the costs of the goods minus this amount. Of the two, the finance leases tend to be more expensive because they can carry high rates of interest (248 per cent in one case I heard about). Another highly risky area is lease "roll ups" - a lease ends early because the equipment needs to be replaced but still has outstanding payments, new equipment is provided on a new lease agreement, the outstanding payments are rolled up into the new lease agreement, the new agreement is for the same period as the original one, and before you know it, you owe shed-loads of money. In a training session, the following example was quoted. A school started off in 2001 paying around £1,600 a quarter on a five year lease for four photocopiers, made a few additions and replacements over the years, several on roll-ups, and when they wanted to terminate the leases which were becoming too expensive per quarter in 2006-07, found the termination fee was £300,000. As a result of all this, the local authority now not only has a list of approved providers but also a department which will check every arrangement before the school signs up. Helen, Walthamstow

8:04am Wed 28 Nov 12

UKIP-local says...

Steve White (NUT representative) seems to be trying to help the council when he claims they bailed out the schools. That appears to be inconsistent with the initial pat of your report which says the banks agreed to renegotiate the loans.

But what of the governance of the schools? What internal authorisation limits were in place? What supervision or decision making did the governing bodies exercise? Who has been subject to disciplinary proceedings over this?

Silence I hear!
Steve White (NUT representative) seems to be trying to help the council when he claims they bailed out the schools. That appears to be inconsistent with the initial pat of your report which says the banks agreed to renegotiate the loans. But what of the governance of the schools? What internal authorisation limits were in place? What supervision or decision making did the governing bodies exercise? Who has been subject to disciplinary proceedings over this? Silence I hear! UKIP-local

10:18am Wed 28 Nov 12

Robert19 says...

UKIP-local wrote:
Steve White (NUT representative) seems to be trying to help the council when he claims they bailed out the schools. That appears to be inconsistent with the initial pat of your report which says the banks agreed to renegotiate the loans.

But what of the governance of the schools? What internal authorisation limits were in place? What supervision or decision making did the governing bodies exercise? Who has been subject to disciplinary proceedings over this?

Silence I hear!
There was a Panorama programme about this recently http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/education-1966
7657. It is a scam. Schools get hooked in on the basis that they are offered free or low cost rentals of equipment then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt leaving the schools exposed to the debt which then gets racked up by the banks who financed the deal in the first place. They are charged up to 30 times the value of the goods.
Waltham Forest Council has intervened to get the debt reduced, but the debt still comes out of the school budget. If an academy was in this position it only has Whitehall to turn to. That is the problem when there is no local accountability or support. All lease agreements as Helen says now have to be agreed by LBWF.
[quote][p][bold]UKIP-local[/bold] wrote: Steve White (NUT representative) seems to be trying to help the council when he claims they bailed out the schools. That appears to be inconsistent with the initial pat of your report which says the banks agreed to renegotiate the loans. But what of the governance of the schools? What internal authorisation limits were in place? What supervision or decision making did the governing bodies exercise? Who has been subject to disciplinary proceedings over this? Silence I hear![/p][/quote]There was a Panorama programme about this recently http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/education-1966 7657. It is a scam. Schools get hooked in on the basis that they are offered free or low cost rentals of equipment then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt leaving the schools exposed to the debt which then gets racked up by the banks who financed the deal in the first place. They are charged up to 30 times the value of the goods. Waltham Forest Council has intervened to get the debt reduced, but the debt still comes out of the school budget. If an academy was in this position it only has Whitehall to turn to. That is the problem when there is no local accountability or support. All lease agreements as Helen says now have to be agreed by LBWF. Robert19

12:19pm Wed 28 Nov 12

mdj says...

'.. When the company goes out of business ..
' then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt..';

Thank you,both.
This was the point I was trying to elicit: intentional bankruptcy is fraud, voiding any obligation upon the defrauded party. Have the police been involved?

Did anyone at the training course question the economics of leasing four copiers at £6000 a year for five years, when you can buy a fairly high-end one outright for £1000? Would any of the individuals concerned dream of buying a car on these terms with their own money?

I'm sure that nobody in these schools intended these dreadful outcomes, but there's surely something wrong with the mindset?
'.. When the company goes out of business .. ' then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt..'; Thank you,both. This was the point I was trying to elicit: intentional bankruptcy is fraud, voiding any obligation upon the defrauded party. Have the police been involved? Did anyone at the training course question the economics of leasing four copiers at £6000 a year for five years, when you can buy a fairly high-end one outright for £1000? Would any of the individuals concerned dream of buying a car on these terms with their own money? I'm sure that nobody in these schools intended these dreadful outcomes, but there's surely something wrong with the mindset? mdj

1:54pm Wed 28 Nov 12

ClifftonX says...

wonder how many independent schools have been caught out by this? Not many I think. If they did, they would go bust. But we are quite happy to bail out incompetent managers at state schools. Just like everything else the government runs. Will any heads be sacked (and lose their stat-funded gold plated pensions) - of course not!
wonder how many independent schools have been caught out by this? Not many I think. If they did, they would go bust. But we are quite happy to bail out incompetent managers at state schools. Just like everything else the government runs. Will any heads be sacked (and lose their stat-funded gold plated pensions) - of course not! ClifftonX

2:28pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

mdj wrote:
'.. When the company goes out of business ..
' then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt..';

Thank you,both.
This was the point I was trying to elicit: intentional bankruptcy is fraud, voiding any obligation upon the defrauded party. Have the police been involved?

Did anyone at the training course question the economics of leasing four copiers at £6000 a year for five years, when you can buy a fairly high-end one outright for £1000? Would any of the individuals concerned dream of buying a car on these terms with their own money?

I'm sure that nobody in these schools intended these dreadful outcomes, but there's surely something wrong with the mindset?
Mdj, I can't answer for the school in question since I don't know which it is or even if it is in WF.

This question isn't just about photocopiers, but also about the large numbers of computers and whiteboards needed in schools with IT playing an ever increasing part in the curriculum, even in primary schools.

Schools rarely buy this stuff outright for two reasons. The first is that the cost of large outright purchases is a stretch in an annual school budget. The second reason is that leasing includes regular maintenance and repair which can be extremely expensive if you don't have a deal.

Many businesses and even local authorities go down the leasing route for the same reasons.

For the record, the trainers on the course recommended operating leases as offering the most economic option.

CliftonX, we have no idea how any independent schools have been caught out. They're hardly going to publicise it!

Head teachers and mangers are the wrong target. It's leasing companies who lie to them, defraud them or hide the consequences of an agreement who should be in the firing line.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: '.. When the company goes out of business .. ' then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt..'; Thank you,both. This was the point I was trying to elicit: intentional bankruptcy is fraud, voiding any obligation upon the defrauded party. Have the police been involved? Did anyone at the training course question the economics of leasing four copiers at £6000 a year for five years, when you can buy a fairly high-end one outright for £1000? Would any of the individuals concerned dream of buying a car on these terms with their own money? I'm sure that nobody in these schools intended these dreadful outcomes, but there's surely something wrong with the mindset?[/p][/quote]Mdj, I can't answer for the school in question since I don't know which it is or even if it is in WF. This question isn't just about photocopiers, but also about the large numbers of computers and whiteboards needed in schools with IT playing an ever increasing part in the curriculum, even in primary schools. Schools rarely buy this stuff outright for two reasons. The first is that the cost of large outright purchases is a stretch in an annual school budget. The second reason is that leasing includes regular maintenance and repair which can be extremely expensive if you don't have a deal. Many businesses and even local authorities go down the leasing route for the same reasons. For the record, the trainers on the course recommended operating leases as offering the most economic option. CliftonX, we have no idea how any independent schools have been caught out. They're hardly going to publicise it! Head teachers and mangers are the wrong target. It's leasing companies who lie to them, defraud them or hide the consequences of an agreement who should be in the firing line. Helen, Walthamstow

2:28pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

mdj wrote:
'.. When the company goes out of business ..
' then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt..';

Thank you,both.
This was the point I was trying to elicit: intentional bankruptcy is fraud, voiding any obligation upon the defrauded party. Have the police been involved?

Did anyone at the training course question the economics of leasing four copiers at £6000 a year for five years, when you can buy a fairly high-end one outright for £1000? Would any of the individuals concerned dream of buying a car on these terms with their own money?

I'm sure that nobody in these schools intended these dreadful outcomes, but there's surely something wrong with the mindset?
Mdj, I can't answer for the school in question since I don't know which it is or even if it is in WF.

This question isn't just about photocopiers, but also about the large numbers of computers and whiteboards needed in schools with IT playing an ever increasing part in the curriculum, even in primary schools.

Schools rarely buy this stuff outright for two reasons. The first is that the cost of large outright purchases is a stretch in an annual school budget. The second reason is that leasing includes regular maintenance and repair which can be extremely expensive if you don't have a deal.

Many businesses and even local authorities go down the leasing route for the same reasons.

For the record, the trainers on the course recommended operating leases as offering the most economic option.

CliftonX, we have no idea how any independent schools have been caught out. They're hardly going to publicise it!

Head teachers and mangers are the wrong target. It's leasing companies who lie to them, defraud them or hide the consequences of an agreement who should be in the firing line.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: '.. When the company goes out of business .. ' then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt..'; Thank you,both. This was the point I was trying to elicit: intentional bankruptcy is fraud, voiding any obligation upon the defrauded party. Have the police been involved? Did anyone at the training course question the economics of leasing four copiers at £6000 a year for five years, when you can buy a fairly high-end one outright for £1000? Would any of the individuals concerned dream of buying a car on these terms with their own money? I'm sure that nobody in these schools intended these dreadful outcomes, but there's surely something wrong with the mindset?[/p][/quote]Mdj, I can't answer for the school in question since I don't know which it is or even if it is in WF. This question isn't just about photocopiers, but also about the large numbers of computers and whiteboards needed in schools with IT playing an ever increasing part in the curriculum, even in primary schools. Schools rarely buy this stuff outright for two reasons. The first is that the cost of large outright purchases is a stretch in an annual school budget. The second reason is that leasing includes regular maintenance and repair which can be extremely expensive if you don't have a deal. Many businesses and even local authorities go down the leasing route for the same reasons. For the record, the trainers on the course recommended operating leases as offering the most economic option. CliftonX, we have no idea how any independent schools have been caught out. They're hardly going to publicise it! Head teachers and mangers are the wrong target. It's leasing companies who lie to them, defraud them or hide the consequences of an agreement who should be in the firing line. Helen, Walthamstow

2:29pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

mdj wrote:
'.. When the company goes out of business ..
' then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt..';

Thank you,both.
This was the point I was trying to elicit: intentional bankruptcy is fraud, voiding any obligation upon the defrauded party. Have the police been involved?

Did anyone at the training course question the economics of leasing four copiers at £6000 a year for five years, when you can buy a fairly high-end one outright for £1000? Would any of the individuals concerned dream of buying a car on these terms with their own money?

I'm sure that nobody in these schools intended these dreadful outcomes, but there's surely something wrong with the mindset?
Mdj, I can't answer for the school in question since I don't know which it is or even if it is in WF.

This question isn't just about photocopiers, but also about the large numbers of computers and whiteboards needed in schools with IT playing an ever increasing part in the curriculum, even in primary schools.

Schools rarely buy this stuff outright for two reasons. The first is that the cost of large outright purchases is a stretch in an annual school budget. The second reason is that leasing includes regular maintenance and repair which can be extremely expensive if you don't have a deal.

Many businesses and even local authorities go down the leasing route for the same reasons.

For the record, the trainers on the course recommended operating leases as offering the most economic option.

CliftonX, we have no idea how any independent schools have been caught out. They're hardly going to publicise it!

Head teachers and mangers are the wrong target. It's leasing companies who lie to them, defraud them or hide the consequences of an agreement who should be in the firing line.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: '.. When the company goes out of business .. ' then the lease company deliberately goes bankrupt..'; Thank you,both. This was the point I was trying to elicit: intentional bankruptcy is fraud, voiding any obligation upon the defrauded party. Have the police been involved? Did anyone at the training course question the economics of leasing four copiers at £6000 a year for five years, when you can buy a fairly high-end one outright for £1000? Would any of the individuals concerned dream of buying a car on these terms with their own money? I'm sure that nobody in these schools intended these dreadful outcomes, but there's surely something wrong with the mindset?[/p][/quote]Mdj, I can't answer for the school in question since I don't know which it is or even if it is in WF. This question isn't just about photocopiers, but also about the large numbers of computers and whiteboards needed in schools with IT playing an ever increasing part in the curriculum, even in primary schools. Schools rarely buy this stuff outright for two reasons. The first is that the cost of large outright purchases is a stretch in an annual school budget. The second reason is that leasing includes regular maintenance and repair which can be extremely expensive if you don't have a deal. Many businesses and even local authorities go down the leasing route for the same reasons. For the record, the trainers on the course recommended operating leases as offering the most economic option. CliftonX, we have no idea how any independent schools have been caught out. They're hardly going to publicise it! Head teachers and mangers are the wrong target. It's leasing companies who lie to them, defraud them or hide the consequences of an agreement who should be in the firing line. Helen, Walthamstow

2:31pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Apologies for the multiple postings! I waited nearly two minutes on each occasion before pressing the submit button again!
Apologies for the multiple postings! I waited nearly two minutes on each occasion before pressing the submit button again! Helen, Walthamstow

2:44pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Robert19 says...

ClifftonX wrote:
wonder how many independent schools have been caught out by this? Not many I think. If they did, they would go bust. But we are quite happy to bail out incompetent managers at state schools. Just like everything else the government runs. Will any heads be sacked (and lose their stat-funded gold plated pensions) - of course not!
According to the Panorama programme they found 10 Heads who had been sacked or suspended as a result of being scammed. Helen is right it is the scammers who are the culpable ones. Presumably you have never been conned or scammed ClifftonX? I have. These people are very believable.
[quote][p][bold]ClifftonX[/bold] wrote: wonder how many independent schools have been caught out by this? Not many I think. If they did, they would go bust. But we are quite happy to bail out incompetent managers at state schools. Just like everything else the government runs. Will any heads be sacked (and lose their stat-funded gold plated pensions) - of course not![/p][/quote]According to the Panorama programme they found 10 Heads who had been sacked or suspended as a result of being scammed. Helen is right it is the scammers who are the culpable ones. Presumably you have never been conned or scammed ClifftonX? I have. These people are very believable. Robert19

4:02pm Wed 28 Nov 12

mdj says...

'This question isn't just about photocopiers, but also about the large numbers of computers and whiteboards needed in schools'

I'm sure it's too late to shut the stable door, but I'd replace the word 'needed' with 'used' in that sentence.

Did schools lease blackboards and desks? Do new copiers not come with guarantees? Or does replacing paper and ink need a high-tech service engineer? The logic of leasing applies no more or less to our own personal equipment: not many people lease their own laptops, I'm guessing.

' Helen is right it is the scammers who are the culpable ones. Presumably you have never been conned or scammed ..'

I was conned once: I sent the creep to jail. What's the story here? Fraud devoids contract, remember.
'This question isn't just about photocopiers, but also about the large numbers of computers and whiteboards needed in schools' I'm sure it's too late to shut the stable door, but I'd replace the word 'needed' with 'used' in that sentence. Did schools lease blackboards and desks? Do new copiers not come with guarantees? Or does replacing paper and ink need a high-tech service engineer? The logic of leasing applies no more or less to our own personal equipment: not many people lease their own laptops, I'm guessing. ' Helen is right it is the scammers who are the culpable ones. Presumably you have never been conned or scammed ..' I was conned once: I sent the creep to jail. What's the story here? Fraud devoids contract, remember. mdj

7:11pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

mdj, your logic is usually impeccable, but not I fear in this case.

Copiers, whiteboards and computers simply can't be compared to sturdy old style risograph machines, blackboards and paper and ink. This new stuff (like most modern IT with its built-in obsolesence) is extremely expensive, highly vulnerable to breakdown, and guarantees are limited to a year or two years. Without leasing, schools would be sriking out large sums from their budgets every year to keep up (I mean higher sums than the leases cost).

And I meant "need" when I said it. In my heart of hearts, I might prefer "use", but the fact is that dear old Ofsted would through a hissy fit if the children, even those barely out of nappies, were not incorporating their daily dose on computing into the timetable.
mdj, your logic is usually impeccable, but not I fear in this case. Copiers, whiteboards and computers simply can't be compared to sturdy old style risograph machines, blackboards and paper and ink. This new stuff (like most modern IT with its built-in obsolesence) is extremely expensive, highly vulnerable to breakdown, and guarantees are limited to a year or two years. Without leasing, schools would be sriking out large sums from their budgets every year to keep up (I mean higher sums than the leases cost). And I meant "need" when I said it. In my heart of hearts, I might prefer "use", but the fact is that dear old Ofsted would through a hissy fit if the children, even those barely out of nappies, were not incorporating their daily dose on computing into the timetable. Helen, Walthamstow

7:14pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

"throw" not "through".

I wish this blessed spellcheck would stop second-guessing me. I've eliminated if from Word docs etc, but as soon as I get into an email or website, it charges back in..

Maybe I need one of those school IT lessons!
"throw" not "through". I wish this blessed spellcheck would stop second-guessing me. I've eliminated if from Word docs etc, but as soon as I get into an email or website, it charges back in.. Maybe I need one of those school IT lessons! Helen, Walthamstow

12:55am Thu 29 Nov 12

mdj says...

' dear old Ofsted would throw a hissy fit if the children, even those barely out of nappies, were not incorporating their daily dose on computing into the timetable'

I fear that the salesmanship corrupted the curriculum years ago: it's way beyond copiers. Did every Victorian school desk incorporate a mini steam engine, because that was the indispensable technology of the time?
I shudder to think of these school PFI deals, a considerable measure of which will be 20 year debts for kit that will be thrown out in two years.
Pretty soon financial collapse will make these assumptions of what education 'needs' completely unaffordable, as well as crazy.
We'll be lucky to have abacuses, but real education won't suffer at all.
' dear old Ofsted would throw a hissy fit if the children, even those barely out of nappies, were not incorporating their daily dose on computing into the timetable' I fear that the salesmanship corrupted the curriculum years ago: it's way beyond copiers. Did every Victorian school desk incorporate a mini steam engine, because that was the indispensable technology of the time? I shudder to think of these school PFI deals, a considerable measure of which will be 20 year debts for kit that will be thrown out in two years. Pretty soon financial collapse will make these assumptions of what education 'needs' completely unaffordable, as well as crazy. We'll be lucky to have abacuses, but real education won't suffer at all. mdj

7:52am Thu 29 Nov 12

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Common ground, Mdj. I totally agree with you.

If IT for schools is expensive, PFI deals carry stratospheric costs. One head teacher in this borough told me a few years ago that when a light bulb went phut, the SSO (caretaker to old hands) used to climb a ladder and put in a new one.

Under PFI, he had to ring an office in Bristol then wait a few weeks until someone turned up to do it, and charge the school £60 for the job. You can imagine what real major work costs.

With a contract covering at least 30 years, PFI companies rack up enormous profits out of exploiting their access to the public purse.
Common ground, Mdj. I totally agree with you. If IT for schools is expensive, PFI deals carry stratospheric costs. One head teacher in this borough told me a few years ago that when a light bulb went phut, the SSO (caretaker to old hands) used to climb a ladder and put in a new one. Under PFI, he had to ring an office in Bristol then wait a few weeks until someone turned up to do it, and charge the school £60 for the job. You can imagine what real major work costs. With a contract covering at least 30 years, PFI companies rack up enormous profits out of exploiting their access to the public purse. Helen, Walthamstow

1:48pm Thu 29 Nov 12

mdj says...

Why didn't the head just shin up a ladder and change it him/herself when noone was looking?
Politicians elected by us allowed these deals to go through. What could their motive possibly have been?
Why didn't the head just shin up a ladder and change it him/herself when noone was looking? Politicians elected by us allowed these deals to go through. What could their motive possibly have been? mdj

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