Education

Published: March 10, 2022 | Updated: March 10, 2022

Growth for Supply Tree as school recruitment business turns two with an expanded team

Sharon Golding (left) and Vicki Solly (right), Founders of Supply Tree, with Jill Lawson (second left), Victoria Maslin and Polly, the office dog. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

“Our feet haven’t touched the ground.”

So says Sharon Golding when asked how the first two years of Supply Tree Recruitment have gone.

Together with Vicki Solly, the duo launched their recruitment business providing supply teaching staff for schools in February 2019.

It was just weeks before the first lockdown resulted in the closure of its school clients.

However, Vicki, 47, and Sharon, 46, quickly turned what could have been a negative into a positive,

They used the time to recruit – using Zoom interviews – ensuring there was a full complement of teaching staff when schools reopened.

And now, just 24 months later, they’ve celebrated their second anniversary with an expanded team.

In October, Jill Lawson joined as Finance and Administration Assistant.

The mother of two, with a background in early years’ education and also bookkeeping, was followed a month later by Victoria Maslin.

She brought almost 20 years’ experience of working in the primary school sector including as a Vice Principal for nine years and, latterly, Acting Principal.

Also a mother of two, Victoria is now a Recruitment Consultant with Supply Tree.

Vicki, pictured left, said: “We reached the stage where we needed more help, it was just getting so busy.

“We’re so pleased to have Jill and Victoria with us. They’ve fitted in perfectly.”

The 150 staff on Supply Tree’s books range from nursery practitioners and teaching assistants to higher level teaching assistants, teachers and senior leaders.

The area served by the business has extended to include Somerset as well as Dorset and Hampshire.

The 130+ clients include nurseries and primary and secondary schools.

Vicki, who is Supply Tree’s Recruitment Director, and Sharon, Financial Director, come from different career backgrounds.

Married with a son, aged 16, Vicki was a teacher at Pamphill First School near Wimborne for two years.

She subsequently spent 14 years with the charity Life Education Wessex as an Educator Manager.

Sharon, pictured right, a married mother of three, worked for a variety of employers, including Lloyds Bank, LV=, American Express, Portman Building Society and Pramacare.

Her experience in the education sector has included Administration/Attendance Officer at the now named Magna Academy and PA to the Headteacher at Hamworthy Park Junior School.

Their paths crossed at a previous employer, also in teacher recruitment, where Vicki worked as Schools Liaison and then Recruitment Manager while Sharon was Finance Administration Manager.

Supply Tree is open from 6.30am until 9.30pm five days a week and 4.30pm to 9.30pm on a Sunday.

Operating from Merley and Blandford it can also respond quickly to out of hour requests for help.

Charities backed by the business include Life Education Wessex & Thames Valley and it contributed to the Hamwic Education Trust Christmas appeal.

And, as with all the best businesses, Supply Tree even has its own office dog, Polly, a seven-year-old poochon.

“She’s very popular with our clients,” said Sharon.

Vicki added: “We work hard but it’s so satisfying to see how the business has grown.

“We have absolutely no regrets about starting up.

“It was the right decision at the right time and we’ve never looked back.”