Developing our community offer After looking into the local demographics, we set out to attract new user groups. There is a large South Asian community on our doorstep, and families were paying huge amounts for venues to host large gatherings. So we opened the school halls as a venue for large family parties, from weddings to birthdays, christenings and anniversary celebrations. We’ve also hosted South African swing band nights, and language classes run by the local Greek school. We continue to develop this work and are currently looking into pop-up dinner clubs.

Creating flagship facilities To take our lettings activity to the next level, we needed a game-changer. This came in the form of an ambitious initiative to upgrade the 3G pitch at our Goffs-Churchgate Academy site. Our groundwork established that football was hugely popular in this area. Yet both the local council outdoor exercise plan and the Football Association pitch development plan highlighted a shortage of 3G facilities. The low supply, combined with high demand, suggested we could ensure good occupancy levels. We decided to fund the work

through the trust’s fi nancial reserves, which ensured that any income generated could be focused on improving educational outcomes (whereas funding from the Football Foundation specifi ed any surplus be redistributed within football). To

demonstrate demand, we worked with leading local football providers to establish their needs, detailing the frequency of booking and the price they would pay. We presented our trustees with a full breakdown, including a risk analysis showing the break-even point for the project and estimated time to recoup the initial investment at different occupancy rates. We installed the best quality pitch

we could, and it has paid off. Tottenham Hotspur has made us the premier site for its women and girls’ programme, while Sport England and the County Sports Partnership have brought in additional business by fl agging up our facilities to hire. With this new pitch alongside our second 3G pitch at Goffs Academy, the trust is at the heart of the local football ecosystem.

Where can the money go? Our income generation work has allowed the trust to increase the number of teachers and reduce their contact ratio, giving more time to plan high quality lessons, mark and evaluate. We hope that the reduced loading also assists in recruiting and retaining great professionals. In addition, we’ve supported capital projects, such as upgrading classrooms and sports facilities. The trust recently began

construction of a new block at Goffs Academy. This will deliver classrooms for our expanding Sixth Form, in conjunction with a new public gym operated by a

commercial partner. The building has been fi nanced through an operating lease, with the cost offset to a large extent by the income from the commercial gym.

The impact of lockdown We obviously lost income during this period, but we’ve had our strongest ever months since restrictions were eased. Managing things in line with DfE guidance has been demanding but critical to get right.’

■ Listen to Kevin Yardley discuss his experiences on the podcast: podcast-15-kevin-yardley/


Many schools understandably say they cannot afford a development officer, but can you afford not to have one? A successful person should begin generating a surplus shortly after they are engaged. Look for entrepreneurial, innovative

people who are happy to be employed on short-term contracts. Look within your existing community – you may be surprised by the skills waiting to be utilised. Every school is different, so develop

partnerships that will work for you and your community. Take a holistic overview to change mindsets and take time to build relationships. It is essential that your partners and lessees feel valued and respected.

FundEd AUTUMN 2021 35


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