Melanie Moore

Member Article

Rapid expansion for Barnsley creative learning outfit

A Barnsley business which sells educational resources to primary schools has seen its customer base increase more than 40 times in the last two years.

Cornerstones produces comprehensive curriculum packages designed to help teachers plan and prepare engaging lessons, which also meet every requirement of the National Curriculum across England and Wales.

The company had 11 schools on its books when it set up in 2011 and now sells to 485 schools – a 40-fold increase in customers. Over 85 schools have bought into the Cornerstones curriculum this summer term alone.

Established by a three-strong team of directors, who all worked as head teachers or school advisors for about 20 years previously, Cornerstones has also increased its workforce to 26 people over the last two years.

Recently, five new recruits have been appointed to new jobs in sales, business development, event management, research and writing. A fourth administrative apprentice has been taken on via Barnsley College.

Managing Director Melanie Moore said: “We are delighted to see more and more schools buying in to the creative curriculum we offer at Cornerstones. The increase in orders means we’ve been able to re-invest in the business, develop our offer, extend our range of products and send more sales consultants out to schools. We’re determined to spread the Cornerstones creative learning philosophy.”

Cornerstones is now looking to double its office space by taking on a further 1,300 square feet at its Fields End Business Park premises in Goldthorpe. The company plans to invite teachers from across the country to training and development sessions in newly-created event space.

Enterprising Barnsley has been supporting Cornerstones throughout this growth. Business coaches have helped to develop marketing and sales strategies, HR policies and IT systems.

Melanie, who set up the company with fellow directors Simon Hickton and Graham Bell, said: “The support we’ve had from Enterprising Barnsley has been phenomenal. We are a stronger company for their input and look forward to working with them further as we develop our on-line offer for clients.”

Enterprising Barnsley business development manager Shaun Higginbottom said: “Cornerstones understands the education sector thoroughly, with many of its directors and employees being former teachers. This insight means their innovative products and support services have very quickly gained them a significant client base. With long term aspirations to globalise their products and sell abroad, we look forward to the company’s continued growth.”

Cornerstones sells to schools as far afield as Kent, Cumbria, Birmingham and Cornwall. It supplies to 336 schools in Wales – where recommendations have encouraged many head teachers to sign up for the Cornerstones curriculum. Cornerstones has also produced its resources in Welsh for Welsh-speaking schools.

Cornerstones’ two creative curriculum packages (Key Stage One aimed at younger children and Key Stage Two at older) are divided in to 48 classroom projects with inspiring titles such as Dens and Dandelions, Off with Her Head and Bones, Blood and Gory Bits. The projects are packed with ideas to help the students ‘engage, develop, innovate and express themselves’.

Melanie said: “Our creative curriculum enables schools to save significant amounts of time and money on curriculum planning - as well as the essential task of curriculum review and analysis. We make sure everything we produce is up-to-date with National Curriculum changes and we help deliver all the evidence demanded for OFSTED inspections”.

“We believe teachers should be able to spend more time in the class room delivering fascinating yet rigorous learning to children.”

Cornerstones has extended its range of products to include a curriculum package for early years education (ages 3-5) and a series of classic literature teaching books. They are looking to sell some of its products via Amazon as well as via their own on-line shop.

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre. It aims to support Barnsley-based businesses with growth potential.

It is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £2,259,511 investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Enterprising Barnsley .

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