How newspapers encourage schools to ignore leasing options

It is a sad fact that some methods of purchasing are deemed more newsworthy than others.

For example, if you type “school minibus” into Google and then click on the News option at the foot of the page, you will be taken to a range of stories about schools that are raising money to buy a school minibus.

There are tales of teachers doing a sponsored run to raise money for the bus, PTAs working for years raising money and so forth.

And although the stories are all about great deeds and hard work, what lies behind these headlines are years and years of students not having a resource that could really improve the quality of education (especially learning outside the classroom) that they receive.

What you will struggle to find, should you ever be inclined to do this sort of search, is any story that talks of a school that discusses the idea of having a school minibus, sets up the details, and then a couple of weeks later, takes delivery.

Of course you could argue that this is because no schools achieve this. No school can decide to have a minibus and then go and get it.

And yet this does happen, and its occurrence is increasingly common. For a growing percentage of schools choose to lease their minibus rather than buy it.

The prime benefit of course is that you get your new minibus now, rather than after years of fundraising.

What’s more, if you are doing fundraising in order to pay for part or all of the leasing cost, parents become much more willing to give for the simple reason that they know the money they give will be for a minibus that their children will be using – rather than one that will only be purchased in years to come.

Of course the newspapers won’t like it. “Ely school has just £1000 to go” as the Cambridge News put it or “Braithwaite minibus appeal gets yet another big boost from fundraise” as the Keighley Times wrote, are the sort of headlines papers insist on running.

“School signs form to lease minibus; delivery next week” is not going to make it past any editor.

However the truth of the matter is that leasing is by far the best option for most schools. If you would like to see the details, and talk about how you can arrange to have a minibus up and running within weeks, please do call us on 01753 859944, visit our website or email us at

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street

Tel: 01753 859944


Hamilton House runs four websites for teachers and parents:

The School Procurement Site [link to  ] which contains details thousands of products and services for schools

UK Education News [link to] is a rolling news service which carries advertisements as well as stories. 

Teacher  News [link to] a topic based service to teachers in schools

Parent News [link to]  a topic based service for parents.

Advertising can be accepted on each site individually at the following prices:

  • A standard advertisement in one site: £45 per year

Additional entries (School Procurement Site only)

  • Each additional section: £10 per year
  • Additional description (per section): £30 per year up to 100 words
  • Logo per section per year: £20

Advertising on all four sites

  • Advertising on all four sites: £120 per year

Changes to the text following confirmation: £10 per section/site/advertisement.

To book into this service please call 01536 399 000 or email

What exactly is the educational benefit of homework? (And could it be something else?)

A recent article in the TES (Is it time to scrap homework?) revealed that many people continue to hold strong views about whether homework is an imposition on home life or if it really does add value to a child’s education.

There’s no question that any politician in the UK will follow François Hollande’s initiative in banning homework as part of a reform of the education system.

But the action in France does raise the question: why is homework there?

Is it about reading a book, learning spellings and working through maths tables? Or should it go further? After all, what are its main characteristics and what effect is it having on children and families?

Are there indeed some alternatives that we could think of, which could be introduced and which could have even more benefit than homework, as we know it today?

We can contemplate this further by asking, “what does homework have to do with our efforts to create Thinking Children?”

These children have an ability to go beyond the learning of facts, and to be proficient in exam techniques – although such skills will still be required for the foreseeable future.

In short, the Thinking Child has the ability to be creative, generate ideas, problem solve, interrogate and not be afraid to ask questions.

Which is why we have produced, “Let’s Think Homework”. It is a volume that has been written to provide ideas that are engaging and meaningful, offering regular opportunities for children to practise a range of thinking and learning skills.

The ability to question, problem solve, be curious, be observant, predict, make connections, prioritise and think logically are just some of the many skills that can be enhanced through the activities in this book.

There are over 100 different possibilities for ‘Thinking Homework’. It is suitable for use throughout key stage 2.

It’s £29.99 with free delivery.

You can order …