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It’s always exciting when the new Findel catalogues land on my desk in the New Year. Has the hard work from the previous year paid off? Have new products got in and hopefully no products deselected. This year all the brand catalogues from Step by Step through to NES and Hope look excellent and it seems to be mission accomplished. As I leafed through the gazillion pages the phone rang with news that Findel had something to say and was I free to come to Manchester? Thrilled at the prospect of spending quality time on M6 I jumped in the car and headed for Sale Grammer school. Why a Grammer school ?… well I was about to find out. Unbeknownst to me fifty other top suppliers were also on the list and the Findel top brass wanted to tell all. We all sat in the assembly hall nervously awaiting Sam Walsh, the Managing Director. After watching a rousing film, Sam admitted that Findel had had an annus horribilis in 2009 and was looking to improve the situation including payments to suppliers. Hooray! There was a sting in the tale though, Findel also plans to introduce a new system monitoring deliveries to make sure we do our supplies on time. Booo. We all convened afterwards for a school lunch of tasty sarneis  – well Max Campbell the titan of Sport and Playbase seemed to think so. Back down the M6.

But are Findel out of the woods yet? – my email pinged last week with the news that  the company has said it will restate its 2009 profits, because of “discrepancies” in the figures for its education department. The company blamed changes in the division’s management, and it had come to light that some accounting entries had not been “properly substantiated”.  What does it mean for their books? A £5 million reduction in its pre-tax profits.

Can you make money from running schools?

In the long running debate about the Tory proposals for so-called “free schools” the party has confirmed they can be run for profit. Firms understood to already be in discussion about managing schools on such terms include Edison Learning, Kunskapsskolan,
and Sweden’s International English School. Meanwhile, a number of firms are applying to join an existing government scheme which would allow them to take over the management of failing schools. Serco, VT Group and Edison all confirmed they have applied to become “accredited schools providers”. Such providers will be able to take over schools following a parental ballot.

On the move

Down the road in Chelmsford a pair of GLS refugees have joined together to form Your Educational Supplies. Karen Payne, the former GLS head of sales persuaded David Hinds, the former GLS inventary manager, to abandon his home in South Africa and head back to the motherland, tan and all. Karen says ‘We aim to give better service than anyone else.’ So who’s going to win the battle for the hearts and minds of Essex schools?

New to us

Baker Ross imports and distributes arts and crafts, educational and fundraising products to schools, playgroups, and charities. Co-founded in 1974 by Patti Baker, the company is still a family owned and run business employing 80 staff at their office and warehouse in Walthamstow, London. More recently, Baker Ross expanded its operations during the past few years by establishing Yellow Moon UK Limited and Patticrafts.

Gratnells heads for the dictionary

Gratnells has found a place in the English language…well, nearly. According to research we’ve conducted, many school teachers when cleaning their classrooms or science areas say that they are ‘Gratnelling’ rather than tidying up. Apparently, ‘Gratnelling’ refers to the whole process of ensuring things are stored away properly, in their rightful place. Have you done your ‘Gratnelling’ today?

Gratnells Election Statistical Analysis

As most of the UK population is only too aware we have a General Election coming up next week. But who will win? Here at Gratnells we think we know.

Looking at the highly scientific principle of analysis of our most popular colours of tray sold since the election was announced we can confidentially predict that the Blues have it!

Our expert analysis shows the Conservative Party (blue) just in the lead with 29.1%, Labour (red) are a close second with 22.9%. The Liberal Democrats (yellow) a polling a disappointing 13.1% closely followed by the Green Party (green) with a 12.6% share.

So will our tray sales actually predict the election result? Check back after the election next week to see if we were right.