At the last count, there were an estimated 2,500 independent or private schools in the UK, which educate around 615,000 students in total. This accounts for approximately 7% of all British kids, and a total of 18% of pupils over the age of 16.
Whilst these numbers have stagnated and even declined slightly of late, this has more to do with the economic climate than a shift in demand amongst parents. Make no mistake; the lure of a private school is still strong for those who can afford such tuition, as many people believe that these institutions provide a better quality of education and access to superior facilities.
Whilst this may encourage you to open your own private school, however, it’s imperative that you’re able to meet the demands of parents and provide genuine value for money. Here are some tips to help you on your way:
Source the Appropriate Funding
Make no mistake; starting your own private schools is an expensive and deceptively challenging pastime, from the cost of real estate to complying with the stringent regulations for running an educational institution.
In terms of the former, you’ll need to partner with investors such as Avison Young to fund at least part of your venture. After all, this type of outlet can provide financing for the necessary real estate, which is a key consideration when you think of the amenities and space that you need to offer students.
When it comes to regulations, most of these are set at government level and you’ll need to understand your requirements from the outset.
You’ll also need to register as a for-profit entity where applicable, whilst creating an infrastructure that complies with laws regarding instructional hours, teacher certification and courses.
Create your School’s Identity
Next up is the culture and identity of your school, which is a crucial consideration for anyone launching a private entity in what’s becoming an incredibly competitive market.
The process of developing your school’s identity starts with affording it a name, which must also support your key values and the vision that you have for the culture that will run throughout your institution.
This can also cost a significant investment, as teachers and faculty staff will require training to help them embody your brand values. A clear vision is also key, as otherwise you’ll struggle to impart your expectations on those around you.
Define your Product through the Curriculum
Last, but by no means least, we come to your school’s curriculum. In business terms, this represents the core product that your venture has to offer, and one that will shape the experience of your students and their prospects in the future.
This not only includes the core subjects and requirements that you’ll need to teach, but also the precise educational model and methodology that you choose to employ.
There’s also the consideration of textbooks and other learning materials, which must support your curriculum and help students to learn at the required pace.