Taking time to conduct a robust initial feasibility study saves time and money, whether or not a project is regarded as viable. If the project is a good fit, drilling down to establish estimated costs allows project sponsors to proceed advisedly.
Steering a project safely through its implementation phase, within budget and on schedule is the next phase. We will coordinate the input of all key players and guide the writing of effective curriculum, budget and staffing plans.
Full feasibility study
Our detailed feasibility studies provide a rigorous examination of the demand for a new school, assess the likely price point the local market will bear in terms of fees and examine the best fit international curriculum to meet the needs of the community. We project estimated student numbers and faculty requirements while also calculating the campus footprint needed to fulfill the vision.
We are abe to assist clients making the case for a new school to local authorities or to potential investors. Preparing a project brochure and presentation from the working documents in order to explain feasibility to third parties becomes the main focus for our consulting team.
A robust business case based on the feasibility study and any subsequent research is at the heart of all successful projects, smoothing the way for the approvals required by regulators, winning investors and giving project sponsors the confidence and data to make a series of difficult decisions.
We assist clients assess the demand for an international school in context. Conducting demographic, social and economic research, while identifying competitors and establishing fee levels likely to be acceptable provide initial indicators of sustainability.
The right school in the right place with the right vision
We will examine the kind of international school that is the best fit for a local community: if the school has a purpose which meets community needs it has every chance of success. Articulating a vision at this early stage also builds the case for investment by explaining how the school will meet local aspirations.
Student and staff numbers
Projecting and refining the likely growth of student numbers for the first ten years of the school is the key to calculating the right number of faculty needed to implement the chosen curriculum - and academic staff will be the largest budget line.
We assist our clients with a detailed analysis of the school's growth so during the first crucial years the school will employ the right number of staff each year - not too many, not too few.
Our projections provide a benchmark against which annual budgets can be calculated and set every year.
With student and staff projection models in place, demand assessed and facility requirements established, an initial schedule of fees can be set. Both operating and capex budgets can be projected over a 5 - 10 year period to give an initial estimate of capital accumulation and to set the target date for operational self-sufficiency.
Campus and facilities
We assist our clients to calulate the space required for the school at capacity, fitting a new campus into the land available and planning the stages in which it might be built are important aspects of a feasibility preliminary study. This makes it possible to make an initial cost estimate for building and resourcing the school, year on year.
This process of discovery also enables clients to prepare an accurate briefing for their chosen architects.
Local and international procurement
Choosing and planning for the most effective use of educational resources is essential. Getting value for money suggests that local sourcing is an important part of this process, but well-judged procurement overseas can often produce savings in the long run. Consilium Education works closely with UK based educational consolidated supplier, VPJ Solutions to source a wide range of specialist resources from the UK and around the world.
From the outset, an appraisal must be made of local regulations: a project which is not compliant locally will not be viable: we make sure that our clients ask the right questions. Knowing which national educational, immigration and building regulations must be followed will enable the implementation phase to progress efficiently.
It is important to understand the options (a) for international accreditation and (b) curriculum authorisation requirements, both for marketing purposes and to ensure a new curriculum can start on Day 1 of a new school. We make sure that the required standards for international accreditation are built into early planning so that international accreditation can be completed at the first possible opportunity.
STARTUP, FEASIBILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORTARRANGE AN INITIAL DISCUSSION
WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT CONSILIUM’S START-UP CONSULTANTS
Dr. Barry K. DrakeSenior Associate (Hong Kong / Search Associates International Teacher Recruitment.
I have worked closely with Paul Cabrelli in a number of professional collaborations since 1998 and recommend him in the highest possible of terms. The Chinese International School (HK) blossomed under Paul’s financial leadership. New buildings, massive changes to curriculum structures, student and staff numbers, all were financed so as to enable the school to structure, viable and sustainable, debt repayments. In recent years Paul and I have worked together on a couple of new school projects whilst he has gained a richer set of experiences advising a range of educational entrepreneurs on remuneration packages, school financing, organizational structures and the like. His expertise is very well respected and sought after in Asia (in particular) where he has a well established network of clients and colleagues from which to draw current information on current trends to enhance his analytical reports and recommendations.
Chris MullerAdjunct Senior Lecturer, Education / University of Hong Kong
Paul Cabrelli combines expert business management skills with a strong background in international school teaching. He uses this combination to mould a business office into an integral part of the school, taking full cognizance of the unique human resource and fiscal needs, and the political eccentricities of a large internationally diverse institution.
David CookFounding Head / Wellington College, Tianjin and Shanghai
I worked closely with Paul Cabrelli when we were colleagues in the Wellington family of schools. I was the Founding Head of Wellington College in Tianjin and Paul was my invaluable support back at home. Nothing was ever too much for him, a fount of educational knowledge, and a great sounding board as we negotiated our way through the problems of setting up a school, the first Wellington overseas, six thousand miles away. We started with over 300 students in our first year. So much of the blueprint Paul established in Tianjin was then copied at Wellington College in Shanghai. He can take great personal pride in the enviable reputation both schools now enjoy amongst British schools worldwide.
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT
Opening a new school on time and within budget
A wide range of professionals will engage in complex financial, resourcing, engineering, HR and architectural conversations during the implementation phase. As this is set up, it is vital not to lose sight of key educational objectives and that the whole effort is sequenced and planned.
Our consultants are able to support the crucial early phase of project implementation by planning the coordination of this collaborative effort, listening carefully to ensure everyone is heard while keeping the project steering group focused on educational outcomes.
Finalising curriculum and staffing requirements for an uncertain student population is a finely balanced process and one of our most important tasks. Calculating and refining staff numbers remains the constant focus of the assigned consultant. Not too many, and not too few teachers and support staff are needed from Day 1 in Years 1, 2 and 3 of operation.
The same principle applies to planning the facilities required for each of the first five years of the school's operations: having a phased approach to building can help cash-flow while giving the school time to grow into the campus as a community, year by year.
Successful school openings depend on the recruitment of outstanding staff – leaders, faculty and support staff. Finding great start-up staff is a pressurised business and one in which we specialise. It must be conducted patiently and transparently to ensure the right people are in place when a school opens.
Designing the best facilities with the lowest possible carbon footprint is now a high priority for any new-build or refurbishment project. Our priority is to support the design of inspiring built and landscaped environments that enhance a school's ability to place sustainability at the centre of the curriculum.
Every space on campus is a learning space. Whether the project is a new build or involves a refurbishment, forming a design bond between sponsor, architect and educator is essential. No space must be wasted and every opportunity maximised. Learning is the driver but rational compromise is important.
Starting with the vision for the school, we undertake a process of 'discovery' in order to identify the optimum combination of facilities that will fit the footprint of the land available. Flexible design and long-term thinking are needed to achieve the best initial layout that can then be adapted and changed as the school grows.
Sourcing Furniture, Fittings & Equipment (FF&E) and other resources for the school proceeds in parallel with detailed design briefing. The big choice is whether to go local or source overseas. In most cases the outcome is a combination of both to give best value for money and the desired level of quality.
We work with a number of specialist education interior designers and will aim for the best possible quality at the best price.
The provision of outstanding outdoor facilties and landscaping for play and learning through play has never been more important. All outdoor designs must be adapted to the requirements of the local environment and we have extensive experience of supporting the design of outdoor spaces for tropical, temperate and arid climates.
IT infrastructure and systems
All spaces in a modern international school, from the admissions office through early years rooms to high tech science labs, require specialised digital planning – the right hardware, the right software and a suitable interoperable infrastructure with which to support a sustainable and effective operation. We advise clients to plan early and then support them as they appoint the right kind of specialists to carry out the work.
Every new school project needs an effective website – to inspire, to inform, to recruit and attract. It needs to be in place early and then to be constantly updated as the project plan is implemented. In the longer term it must be set up to give the school maximum control and the abiity to communicate quickly and effectively.
Helping to appoint and train the admissions and marketing team is one of the most important tasks to be completed as a project gets underway. There is no more important policy than the admissions policy and no more important procedure than the procedures that bring students into the school.
We will design policy and procedures and tnen train staff in their effective implementation so that students can be admitted to the school as relationships with new and prospective families are developed.
FEASIBILITY AND PROJECT SUPPORT SERVICESARRANGE AN ONLINE DISCUSSION
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT
Policy and procedures
When a school opens, a wide range of day to day procedures – from student drop off to parent communication – must be in place. Confidence grows when these are well coordinated and properly communicated. The principles that guide procedures form the basis of a school’s policy manual, which we design and edit in collaboration with the school's leadership team.
We are also able to offer supervisory and management services to ensure that policy is implemented and procedures are embedded quickly and effectively.
Planning becomes so focused on opening the school during the project implementation phase, there can be a tendency to relax after Day 1. No school leadership team can afford to do so. Snagging continues, problems arise and ongoing operations, once started, need support as systems bed in and routines are established.
Having worked with the client to design the new curriculum, school policies, day-to-day procedures and the extra-curricular activities programme as the project is planned, we are well placed to provide supervisory and management services after the school is opened if required.
Having worked with the project team to open the school, we are also able to provide on-site leadership, management and advisory services for as long as the client requires after the school has opened.
If necessary we are able to supply a temporary Head of School and once a permanent appointment is made we are able to provide ongoing on-site or online advisory and management services as required by the client.
After opening, questions of strategic direction and the long-term planning arise. Answers must be immediate. Our strong recommendation is that a long-term development plan is prepared before opening and then carefully reviewed and updated. The energy generated by the team to open the school is then transformed into the renewable power source that will drive it forward for the first three years.