As Schools Plus was formed in 2004 by social entrepreneurs James & Francis Woods, 2019 officially turned us 15 years old as a company! We’re celebrating this accomplishment by taking look back at our successful history so far and then looking forward to the very exciting future.
What better way to kick off our birthday celebrations than with a word from our Founder and Chairman, James Woods
Having my own business has been a bit like having a child – I am so I am very proud to see Schools Plus achieve our 15th birthday.
We have a few spots, I have to admit, and there is still plenty of growing up to do yet. But we are in great shape, rightly self-confident, and on a clear path to a wonderful future. My thanks, of course, to the many, many schools and customers who have put your trust in us; and to the many colleagues who have joined me in the mission to make money for schools, opening their facilities to the communities we serveJames Woods, Schools Plus Founder
We really are so proud of how of far we’ve come as a company. We’ve accomplished a lot since we started working with our first partner school, which was Oaks Park High School in Essex, a vibrant school which we’re delighted to say we still operate at today.
Since our beginnings we’ve grown from just two members of staff to having employed over 647 and counting. We have increased in size by a factor of 10 over the last 10 years. We’ve also gone from working at the one school in Essex to over eighty across the country, we’ve made it possible for thousands of customers to access and enjoy quality facilities local to them and most importantly, in 2019 alone we generated over £3.6 million pounds of additional income for our partner schools!
We’re very proud to say that we have increased income, community use and money given to partner schools every year since inception!
Speaking of partner schools, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful partner schools over the years that have trusted us to come in, manage their lettings and allow us the opportunity to provide them with some vital additional income. We couldn’t do what we do without the trust of everyone involved at our schools from governors and teachers to caretakers and parents.
One of our longest serving members of staff is Venue Manager Andrzej Pawlaczyk who joined in 2007 and has worked with Oaks Park High School ever since. His thoughts on being with the company for over a decade and counting
It has been and still is a great pleasure to be a part of Schools Plus and our mission to transform community lettings at schools. From humble beginnings , to a company that makes a genuine difference, through community involvement and millions of profit generated for schools. In my 12 years with the company I have seen it grow and adapt in a competitive marketplace. It has been an amazing journey!
Over the years we have learned a lot, often some painful lessons but thanks to the wealth of experience accumulated we can now provide our clients with unparalleled level of competency. Schools Plus is a company we can all be proud of!Andrzej Pawlaczyk, Venue Manager
An important part of the early history of Schools Plus came in late 2006 when we first started working with Crisis, the UK national charity for homeless people, to run our first Crisis Christmas together.
These Crisis Christmas events involve us working with our partner schools to allow Crisis to use the venues over Christmas as temporary shelter for the vulnerable people they work with. We’re proud to say we still work with Crisis to this day and we’re grateful to our partner school in Islington in 2006 for being the first venue to work with us with Crisis.
Schools Plus continued to steadily grow throughout the years, so much so that a Senior Leadership Team was formed to help direct the company further.
The version of the Senior Leadership Team as it stands on our 15th birthday today is lead by Finance Director, Andrew Halliwell who works alongside Sales and Marketing Director Simon Kidby, HR & Compliance Director Mike Jenkinson-Deakin and Operations Director Wayne Cryer.
Fast forward to 2017 and the steady growth of the company reached a point where a new centralised head office was called for. This office become known as the Customer Contact Centre. New members of staff started working here to deal with the growing demand of customer enquiries, booking requests and contract renewals we were experiencing.
With the Customer Contact Centre up and running, 2018 saw us celebrated hiring our 500th member of staff! This milestone was a great moment to thank all the staff that had worked so tirelessly for Schools Plus up till now and to look forward to welcoming 500 more in the future.
The Customer Contact Centre was chosen to be in Bournemouth, close to Marketing and Sales Director Simon Kidby who would be running the office. The new staff here included not only skilled telephone operatives but also a growing marketing team alongside experienced financial staff.
A key member of the Marketing Team is our Marketing Manager, Alice Young who wanted to share her thoughts on Schools Plus’s growth since she joined
Since personally joining Schools Plus in 2017 we have not stopped for a second. Having thought this was just a stage I’ve now realised this is the mindset of the company, constantly evolving and growing. The Contact Centre that was once an office for two now has ten of us working day to day processing bookings, marketing our sites, speaking to customers, clients and remote colleagues and thinking of new initiatives to support our estate of schools. My personal growth to Marketing Manager and the development of the marketing team has been so exciting. From being a non-existent department to now having four members each with their own specialised strengths, we can impact our schools and increase the brand awareness of Schools Plus. No month, week or day is ever the same and it has been such an exciting journey to be part of!Alice Young, Marketing Manager
We’re happy to see that in our fifteenth year of business we currently have over 80 partner schools and employ over 250 members of staff. Whilst we are happy to celebrate our achievement so far, we are still hungry to push forward and grow even further!
We’re always evolving and looking for new ways to better ourselves and grow. We’ve very recently started expanding our range of partnerships, including starting to work closely with some of the best thought leaders in the country in the active industry such as ukactive.
For the future we’re going to look to improve utilisation of our schools, keep up to date and become a leader in the the ever changing technology world and look to work with even more partner schools as we carry on maximising educational facilities.
As you can tell Schools Plus has ambitious plans to grow but whilst we do this, we will endeavour to continue to expertly manage our community lettings, provide service excellence with our consistent operational approach and provide additional flexible income for our partner schools!
We will see you all back here for our 20th anniversary!