#OneCommunity – providing strategic guidance to Langdale Primary School

Langdale is a school offering nursery to junior age children education and care, Odesma’s Executive…...

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Langdale is a school offering nursery to junior age children education and care, Odesma’s Executive Director, Ed Cross had an historic link as a governor until 12 years ago.

Langdale’s challenge for the new headteacher in times of austerity was to balance the books successfully. The school had a significant shortfall on the budget and was looking at how it might streamline the cost base. Ed and the Odesma team were invited to provide guidance and support in these areas.

Odesma offered it’s services free of charge, recognising the school’s predicament and hoping to bring some social value into the equation.

The natural focus for the ‘head’ was to look at the numbers and review with Odesma how costs might be trimmed. To this end Odesma ultimately brought to bear the principles of it’s  Cost Management review method. This involves allocating expenditure into elements ranging from mandatory to fully discretionary and determining subsequent actions. Odesma then worked together with the head to look at areas where savings could be made.

In addition, Odesma challenged the principle of simply cutting costs and reviewed the approach to revenue generation – that is securing new pupils to the school. There was significant capacity at the school especially in early years care, but the promotion of the school was limited at best – after all the teaching staff focus on the pupils.  To this end working collaboratively with the head in creating a brand plan coupled with promotions activity. This focused on the school being at the heart of the community and offering the following Vision ‘ Work Together, Learn Together, Grow Together ‘.

The strategy for the school became one of encouraging more parents to see Langdale as its first choice for their children, and when this was coupled with active promotion within a short period of 6-8 weeks 35 more children were enrolled at the school. This made up over 50% of the budget gap.  Work continues to both build the brand of the school, making it first choice as well as keeping an eye on the cost base without any detriment to teaching and development.

Odesma is committed to supporting the local community and seeks to offer its support through time or financial means. Odesma was proud to help.

“I have gained knowledge and understanding of how a business approach to budgeting can have a profound effect upon academic budgeting. It has always been the understanding that we can’t do without the things we currently buy, but through Ed’s support and a frank discussion with staff, we have been able to take an austere approach, whilst maintaining a good standard of education. Through Ed’s guidance on marketing and vision for the school, I am pleased to say that I now fully understand the need to build a school upon a firm vision. Visitors to the school can now see what we offer to our children and the wider community. I am very grateful to Ed for his support, guidance and professionalism, not least because it was free support, but because of how it will strengthen my school in the future.”

Nicky Cartwright – Acting- Headteacher, Langdale Primary School

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