Upgrading school ICT equipment through leasing
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Upgrading school ICT equipment through leasing

22 April 2020 By Robyn Lamport-Rann - Category Buyer of ICT at YPO

students and teacher using tablets

It can be tough for schools to keep up with emerging technologies and the demand for up-to-date ICT equipment against restricted budgets, which is why many schools are looking at alternative, cost-effective ways of funding devices, including the option of leasing.

Are you looking to upgrade your ICT equipment but don’t have the budget to buy outright? By taking on a lease, schools have the freedom to acquire the latest technology when the school needs it and spread the payment, over several years, on a term which suits them.

Thinking about leasing?

Leasing is available on a wide range of ICT equipment including desktops, mobile devices, laptops, notebooks, tablets and IT infrastructure, across most of the leading IT brands such as Apple, HP and Lenovo to name a few. It may also include third-party options such as extended warranties, insurance and maintenance. 

If you are thinking about leasing and have already identified the need for new kit, then the first step you need to take is a review of what ICT equipment you need, building a list of criteria which will create your specification.  

We’re happy to help you get started and can provide a template so you can outline your requirements, you can also contact us by completing this form and one of the team will get back to you. Once this has been done we will be able to provide you with a free of charge, no obligation quote from our pre-accredited suppliers.

What are the leasing options?

State funded local authority and academy schools can enter an operating lease without any prior EFA approval, this is similar to a rental agreement and involves the school paying a rental fee for the hire of an asset over a period of time, Usually between a minimum of 12 months and maximum of 60 months.

Operating leases for schools are structured using an anticipated residual value, which is estimated at the start of the lease, as such the total amount paid by the school is often less than the capital cost over an agreement term which is typically of shorter duration than the working life of the equipment.

Financial lease or hire purchase can’t be entered by state schools as this is classed as a form of borrowing, unless they have prior approval from EFA. This isn’t the same for Universitiesuniversities, or private schools as they don’t have the same restrictions and are entitled to enter operating, financial or hire purchase agreements.

A financial lease is structured in a way the school pays 100% of the capital, plus any interest during the primary term through their rental costs. These agreements usually run for all, or a substantial portion of the equipment’s expected working life. During the rental period, the leasing company is the legal owner of the asset but permits the use of it to the school during the agreed lease term.

What happens when the lease ends?

With an operating lease, the assets remain the property of the lease company, rather than the school. At the end of the agreed lease term the school will not own the equipment and therefore have the option to either return the equipment, or extend the lease and continue the rental of the equipment at a period agreed with the finance company.

At the end of a financial lease, the school may either continue the rental of the equipment to continue using it or keep the asset by paying a final payment which is either the last rental cost, or a final fee.

Benefits of leasing

Here are just a few benefits of leasing for schools:

  • Access to the latest technology to support your teaching and learning
  • Enables projects that you may not be able to otherwise do due to expensive purchase costs
  • Available over a wide range of ICT equipment, brands, and extras such as insurance and warranties
  • Schools avoid the large capital outlay of purchasing the equipment up front and instead can spread the cost of this over a period which suits their requirements
  • Payments can be tailored to suit the school’s budget and can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually
  • Fixed, regular payments which provides reliable and simple budget forecasting and cashflow. So you know what payments are due and when
  • The lease can also include extras such as additional warranties, insurance, and servicing so schools don’t have to worry about the maintenance of kit
  • Works well if the intention is to replace the equipment every few years to keep up with updated technology


There are many differences between purchase and leasing of ICT technologies, as a school it’s important to consider your needs, we’ve compiled a helpful guide to help you decide between buying outright and leasing.

If you have any questions about the options available when updating your school’s ICT technology, our team are happy to help, get in touch!

Categories: ICT , Education , Procurement

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