In late November, Plymouth Learning Partnership (PLP) opened a new premises, located at 1 Lower Compton Road. This is the first time ever the company has had a building of their own; having previously rented offices, once even being housed on campus within Marjon.
The company describes itself as a “co-operative, community interest company owned by its cross-phase member schools that provides school services across Plymouth and surrounding districts” (PLP, 2022) and being a CIC (Community Interest Company); are a non-for profit business, with all profits being reinvested into the company and the people it supports, rather than maximising profits.
Within the company, there are a total of five subsidiaries, including: Supply+, Property & Compliance Team, The School’s Post, HR Advisory and The Multi-Agency Support Team (MAST). Each of which, providing crucial services to schools in and around the Plymouth area.
ECT’s (Early Career Teachers) are key to the business, with these individuals being newly qualified teachers who are looking to cover supply within schools. The services provided are vital to the education sector of Plymouth; with the company appealing to BEd students, within Marjon and Plymouth’s surrounding Universities, who are studying for a Qualified Teacher Status.
“Our school members save money and receive the highest quality provision of services. Whether maintained or a MAT, we support schools with highly acclaimed core service provision, recruitment and teacher supply. Designed, owned, used and endorsed by schools – PLP put schools first.”
Speaking to Chief Executive of the company Lisa Hartley who’s worked at the business since 2004, she explained the origins of PLP. “The longest origins of the business link back to MAST, which was a vulnerable children’s service and I was recruited out of school at that time to try to look at more innovative practice for supporting the needs of these children. That journey took us through the several iterations of grant funding and through a strong collaboration of schools, we were able to maintain a service that the schools in Plymouth now fund. We run a really extensive programme of support for vulnerable children and their families. We are as inclusive and proactive as we can be.”
Speaking to Lead of the Supply+ team, Jane Swain, she expressed what this subsidiary of the company offers to schools and teachers. “Here at Supply+, we provide schools with day to day supply cover, as well as longer term cover. As a CIC, we are not motivated by profit, meaning we can keep our costs as low as possible to schools, while paying our teachers equitably. Due to this, we have no finder’s fees for schools who recruit teachers through us, offering a “try before you buy” service for both schools and teachers. We are constantly recruiting to fill vacancies left by teachers who have been recruited by schools, meaning we are a great stepping stone for ECTs wishing to find their permanent position, build their confidence, or gain more experience in a wide range of schools.”
With the company previously having residence at Douglass House in Efford for the past 5 years, the move means a lot to those working as part of Plymouth Learning Partnership. The move of the office, which for the first time is owned by the business, makes the services on offer rather accessible to existing teachers and new applicants.
Expressing her gratuity, Lisa Hartley expressed that “I think the significant thing about this move is that it’s the first property we’ve owned. The “we” isn’t just us, it’s the schools in Plymouth. We’ve created an asset and a permanence so for the first time we can belong somewhere. It’s been my dream that this building would be a really lovely working environment for our amazing staff.”
This comment was backed by Jane Swain who added “The move shows just how far PLP has come as a company, and how much we care about what we do. To move into our own premises is a big step, which will make the business more accessible, not only due to its location within the city, but also in terms of our presence within the education sector.”
As the services of PLP continue to grow and expand with schools across Plymouth; with communication channels being extended in due course via social media platforms, the business now finally has a home of its own in central Plymouth. For any ECTs or BEd students wanting to branch out into supply teaching; PLP and the subsidiary of Supply+ are definitely businesses to keep in mind.