Buying for schools

Resources to help you buy goods and services for your school, get better value and be compliant with procurement regulations.

Applies to England

How to buy compliantly step by step

Once you know what you’re buying and how much you’re spending, you’ll need to decide the best way to buy for your school based on the procurement regulations.

Refer to the buying routes we’ve identified to help you decide which one is best for you to follow.

Information and guidance to help plan for the forthcoming Transforming Public Procurement (TPP) changes are now available for people who buy goods and services for schools and multi-academy trusts - see Transforming Public Procurement (TPP) - how procurement will change for some schools and trusts.

Understand what to consider when buying goods or services

Read guidance on things to consider before you start buying goods and services, which includes:

  • catering
  • cleaning
  • energy
  • furniture
  • ICT and computer hardware
  • multi-functional devices, for example devices that copy, print or scan

Get free and impartial help or advice from procurement specialists

Use the Get help buying for schools service for help, advice and support from our team of Department for Education (DfE) procurement specialists on buying goods and services.

Our procurement specialists can give advice at any stage of your procurement process.

This service applies to all state funded schools in England.

Use self-guided tools

You can use our tools at any time to help you at specific stages of your procurement. It’s easier to use these tools if you’re already familiar with the buying process. See the buying routes to find out more about the process.

Use a DfE approved buying solution

We have reviewed and approved framework agreements for schools to buy goods and services.

Framework agreements help schools to procure goods and services from a list of pre-approved suppliers, with agreed terms and conditions and legal protections.

Framework agreements are provided by third parties. They run a tender to select the right suppliers to provide specific goods and services.

Read more about framework agreements and our find a framework tool.

Create a specification for your procurement

A specification is a document you need to create for your procurement to explain to suppliers exactly what you want to buy.

You can create one yourself or use the create a specification tool. The tool currently helps you create a specification for:

  • catering
  • multi-functional devices, for example devices that copy, print or scan

More categories will be added if schools find this tool useful.

The tool will save you time by producing a specification based on the responses you give to a set of questions.

The questions will cover essential information that you need to provide and automatically includes rules that suppliers must follow.

You will need a DfE sign-in account to use it.

Get support from other schools

To get support, you can join or create a school business professionals network to help you connect and share information with your peers.

Join free webinars and events about buying for schools

You can register for our free webinars and events to help your school save time and get good value when buying goods and services for your school.

Get an alternative to commercial insurance for state funded schools

The risk protection arrangement (RPA), is DfE’s alternative to commercial insurance for public sector schools. Joining is easy and takes less than 5 minutes. Cover includes:

  • cyber
  • overseas and UK travel
  • public liability
  • material damage

Stay up to date

To learn more about buying for schools, you can:

Published 1 September 2023
Last updated 18 January 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added a link to 'Transforming Public Procurement (TPP) - how procurement will change for some schools and trusts'.

  2. First published.