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Martenscroft Nursery School and Children's Centres in Hulme, provides childcare for children aged 4 months to 5 years, nursery provision for 3 to 4 year olds, and Children’s Centre services.

The pandemic had caused significant disruption to the income for the setting. As a result, at the start of 2021, Martenscroft faced financial instability.

In April 2021, the Manchester Local Authority and Martenscroft governors turned to the M20 Learning Trust for help to reverse the situation and put in place an emergency financial recovery plan. 

Over a two-week period, a dedicated team of finance professionals from the Trust, worked closely with the governors, senior leadership team and local authority to establish measures that could be quickly adopted and implemented. These measures were designed to not only move the school out of a deficit, but also provide a framework for long-term sustainable financial security.   

Within six months of adopting the plan, the centre was on track to deliver a surplus carry forward for the next financial year guaranteeing Martenscroft’s future.

Martenscroft’s financial turnaround has brought about two positive outcomes. Firstly, it has been able to invest in building maintenance, equipment and resources, including new IT servers and iPads. Secondly, it has kickstarted a review of curriculum and a new vision for educational excellence.

The Head of School at Martenscroft, says the M20 Learning Trust provided the expertise it needed at a critical time: “Without the support and leadership of the Trust, Martenscroft would have struggled to survive. The team worked with us to develop a plan that was right for our setting.

“The team was empathetic to our circumstances and recognised the strengths we have. They helped us to make the most of our own skills and close the gap in capability. As a result, we established the specific areas for improvement and produced an effective plan we could own and deliver.

“Thanks to the Trust, we now have the solid financial foundations we need to invest in critical infrastructure, build inspiring curriculum, and deliver high standards in early years care.”

Tina Smith, Chief Finance & Operations Officer, explains why taking a collaborative approach always ensures the best outcomes: “In situations like this, it’s really important to have a clear picture of what is happening and why before making any recommendations. We made it a priority to get to know the setting, the people involved and their capability. In doing so, we could develop the right financial plan and equip the team with the skills they needed to succeed - and succeed they have.”

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