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How we helped pull Top Valley Academy out of financial deficit

Date published: Date modified: 2022-10-25

The client


Top Valley Academy is a mixed secondary school located in the Top Valley area of Nottingham City.

The academy, which is now part of Redhill Academy Trust under the name of Park Vale Academy, has 750  pupils and aims to provide its students with high quality inclusive teaching, both in the classroom and beyond.

The requirement

Top Valley Academy began working with us at SAAF’s inception in 2012, after transitioning from a local authority maintained school to an academy.

The academy turned to SAAF due to believing the right skills didn’t exist in-house to manage the increased financial responsibilities that were introduced by the conversion

Based on our co-founding Director’s strong reputations from working closely with Nottingham Schools, the leadership team at Top Valley Academy considered us to be the right provider to meet their needs.

Sean Kelly, head teacher at Top Valley Academy, said: “We already knew of SAAF’s two directors – Andi Brown and Su Johal – as they had a good reputation for providing  finance support to the education sector.

“Through initial conversations with them, they were very receptive, knowledgeable and came across as reliable and personable. They ticked all our boxes.”

The solution

When Top Valley Academy appointed SAAF, we analysed the existing finances and streamlined the strategic financial planning processes.

Sean added: “We were in a year-end deficit with limited cash-flow . SAAF came in and transformed the way we worked.

“They helped us to overcome the deficit, and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without their input.”

As well as identifying immediate issues, we offered our consultancy services to act as an extension of the academy’s finance team.

The results

Speaking about SAAF’s consultancy services, Sean added: “SAAF provide an informal line management service to our internal staff, and in particular, for our finance manager.

“As the head teacher, this gives me great reassurance. It gives me one less thing to worry about as I don’t always have a great capacity to check every detail.

“It also removes the need for a school business manager, which assists in making additional savings to support efficiencies.”

Added to this, Top Valley Academy believes our on-going support is second to none.

Sean said: “SAAF don’t rest on their laurels. They have a strong business model and are always knowledgeable in the ever-changing educational landscape – which is great for us as we’re always the first to know.

“Their systems are user-friendly and they use non-technical language when communicating with my team, which makes everything very accessible.

“And what makes the biggest difference is that the relationship feels much more than just a contract, it feels like a partnership.

“For example, if we have an important issue, they’ll always be available   to suit our needs.  Transparency and balance is what makes it work.”

To find out more about our finance support for academies, contact us today.

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By Andi Brown
SAAF Education 340 110

24 August 2017



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