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Wesleyan Bank makes the Grade in Academy expansion

Wesleyan Bank makes the Grade in Academy expansion
The organisation

Credited by the London Evening Standard as one of the capital's 'Super State' schools, Ashmole Academy is a co-educational facility for 11-19 year olds based in Southgate.

In 2010, Ofsted rated it as outstanding and it was one of the first in the UK to convert to Academy status. As one of the top performing schools in the area, it has seen a 50 percent increase in applications and as a result, has grown in size exponentially.

The challenge

Ashmole has also seen its sixth form more than double in size from 150 to over 400 students. This increase in student numbers meant that the school needed room to grow. Keen to invest in its future, the school took the decision to create a dedicated six form centre to give its senior pupils a new and innovative learning environment.

Daniel Powell, business manager at Ashmole Academy explains: "As one of the best performing schools in the area, applications have risen significantly. We therefore desperately needed space to expand. We decided to invest in the future of Ashmole Academy and create a self-contained centre for our six formers while at the same time freeing up more space in our main building and giving our GCSE students the freedom to use the library as required.

"With Academy status comes the freedom to make our own funding decisions, so we decided to look for ways to finance the new project so that our aspirations for the school weren�t delayed by access to Government funding."

The solution

The need for the new sixth form centre was clear and with some funds already in place to embark on the new project, Ashmole considered its options for funding the rest of the project. Unwilling to delay its ambitions to expand the school and with Government funds limited, the Academy decided to put out a tender for finance to see what affordable options were available to them. Having considered a number of finance providers, the Academy realised that the ideal solution was already right under its nose.

Wesleyan Bank already had an asset lease finance-based arrangement in place with Ashmole to help finance some of the of the school�s IT equipment. In discussions about plans for the future of the Academy and as an existing and trusted finance partner, Wesleyan Bank suggested an alternative finance model as a convenient and affordable way to fund the new sixth form centre.

"Wesleyan bank has a real 'can do' attitude and immediately offered to help us come up with a solution to fund our expansion plans. Wesleyan Bank recommended a viable way to turn our aspirations into a reality. It even helped us source the team to help with the construction," said Powell.

Wesleyan Bank has over 25 years' experience of working with the education sector and is a member of BESA so it was able to work with Ashmole to come up with the ideal financial solution for its needs.

The agreement also enabled Ashmole to enter into an operating lease to provide a temporary structure to accommodate the six form centre. An operating lease gives Ashmole the flexibility to choose to extend the agreement after five years or cancel it and get rid of the modular buildings if they are no longer required.

The results and benefits

Thanks to Wesleyan Bank finance, Ashmole Academy now has its new sixth form centre which can comfortably accommodate up to 400 pupils over two floors. The first floor is a social learning environment with a coffee shop and seating area, while upstairs students can study in a quiet, hi-tech work area with work stations and computers.

Powell concludes: "Our students are incredibly happy in our new, dedicated sixth form centre and we have already seen an increase in applications from those impressed by the facilities we are now able to offer.

"We were delighted that we were once again able to turn to;Wesleyan Bank to help fund our expansion plans. It helped us take control and manage our expansion costs and it has been an extremely cost-effective way for us to invest in the future of our school and pupils."

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'WESLEYAN’ is a trading name of the Wesleyan Group of companies.

Wesleyan Assurance Society and Wesleyan Bank Ltd are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd, Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Ltd, Practice Plan Ltd and DPAS Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Advice about investments, insurance and mortgages is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

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