MAKE CONSILIUM PART OF YOUR PROJECT
Sustainable planning for startups and expansion
Taking time to conduct a robust feasibility study saves money, whether or not a project is regarded as viable. Walking away might be the only valid decision to make, having thoroughly assessed demand, costs and regulations.
If the projectis a good fit to the time and place, drilling down to establish estimated costs during a rigorous feasibility phases allows project sponsors to proceed with their eyes open.
What we do
The Consilium Education team provides a complete range of project services to enable a client to assess and realise start up and development potential. Having assessed a project’s feasibility, our priority is to steer a project safely through its implementation phase, within budget and on schedule. We will coordinate the input of all key players and guide the writing of effective curriculum, budget and staffing plans.
What is your project’s potential?
In order to establish a new school’s sustainability, we work with our clients to explore how the following factors stack up. Time spent on a rigorous exercise, exposing all the hidden costs and identifying optimum spending during the fragile first five years of a school’s existence always pays dividends.
Context & values
Demograpics, demand and competitors
Any idea for a new international school needs to be seen in context. What is the likely demand? Who are the school’s competitors? What are parents looking for in a new school and what kind of fees might they be likely to pay? Careful demographic, social and economic background research leads to an in-depth conversation between client and consultant in order to set the parameters for the work.
Articulating your values to strike a chord with the community
What type of school is likely to succeed in context? The case for proceeding becomes all the stronger if the school has a purpose beyond the merely financial. Articulating a vision at this early stage builds the case for investment by explaining how the school will meet community needs and aspirations.
Student and staff projections: getting it right
Projecting and constantly refining the likely growth of student numbers for the first ten years of the school is the key to calculating the right number of staff needed to implement the chosen curriculum. As staff will be the largest budget line, this process is a crucial and difficult ongoing task.
With student, staff and curriculum estimates in place, resourcing requirements established and the background research complete, likely fees can be suggested, both operating and capex can be estimated over a 5 – 10 year peiod to give an initial estimate of capital accumulation.
Facilities & FFE
Campus footprint, spaces and resources
Establishing the space required for the school at capacity and suggesting the stages in which it might be built are important aspects of a preliminary study. Once the vision for the school is also defined, and the curriculum established, it is possible to estimate the cost of resourcing the school.
International procurement and supply
Choosing and planning for the most effective use and care of edcuational resources is essential. Getting value for money suggests that local sourcing is an important part of this planning, but well-judged procurement of resources from overseas can often produce savings in the long run. Consilium Education works closely with UK based educational consolidated supplier, VPJ Solutions to bring a wide range of resources from the UK
From the outset, an appraisal must be made of local and national regulations: a project which is not compliant will not be viable. Knowing which national educational, immigration and building regulations must be followed, while planning to meet international accreditation and curriculum standards is vital.
Planning from the outset with the end in mind even at the feasibility stage, maintains direction and continuity as a project passes to the implementation phase. Understanding international accreditation and authorisation standards, estimating the costs involved and building the required standards into early planning will [pay dividends.
By this stage the description of a viable school project emerges and recommendations for an optimal way of proceeding can be made. There is still work to be done to bring things fully into focus, and to test estimates, but the fundamental case for project viability will be clear.
Having decided that a project is viable, a client may wish to present 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 the 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, win investors, and giving the project sponsors confidence to make difficult decisions.
David RiderDirector of Development / Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
I am very pleased to recommend Andy Homden and Paul Cabrelli (very ably assisted by their administrator, Val Jones) to handle all aspects of international school ovrseas recruitment. Andy and Paul are extremely knowledgeable about the international school teacher market, they are very highly experienced educators themselves and are always prepared to ‘go the extra mile’. Val displays a crucial attention to detail when dealing with applications and MIS [Merchiston International School] teachers speak very highly of the process they went through in coming to work in China.
Igor VasyyukovDirector / TDL Ltd., Russian Federation
I would like to note with pleasure that throughout our work with Consilium Education, Andy Homden and his colleagues have shown themselves to be the highest-level professionals with extensive experience in opening international schools. We were very comfortable and pleased to work with the Consilium Education team and never regretted our choice.
Caroline Wood-RobertsonStrategy Programme Manager / Giggleswick School, UK
We engaged Consillium Education in July 2017 to assist us with our search for an International partner. Consillium helped the school prepare thorough and insightful international documentation for presentation to prospective partners. Understanding how the ultimate school would operate; the recruitment process, the curriculum, the governance structure all helped facilitate a more informed partner search. An understanding of the next step meant that we are always able to make informed decisions about how to proceed.
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT
Opening a new school on time and within budget
As a project moves from feasibility to implementation it is so easy to spend a great deal of money on completely the wrong things unless planning is focused, coordianted and driven by the educational vision. Budget must be disciplined and spending fully under control. The wrong kind of short cuts may be tempting, but must be avaoided and will cost more money than they save over time.
A wide range of professionals will engage in complex financial, design, engineering, HR and educational conversations during the implementation phase. The educational consultant must take the lead in coordinating this joint effort, while listening carefully to ensure everyone is heard
Curriculum & staff
Scheduling and and staffing plan
Finalising curriculum and staffing requirements for an uncertain student population is a nuanced process. Calculating and refining staff numbers remains the constant focus of the educational consultant. Not too many, and not too few teachers and support staff are needed for Day 1.
Successful openings depend on the recruitment of outstanding staff – both faculty and support. Finding great start up staff is a specialised business. The process is pressurised, but must be conducted patiently and transparently to ensure the right people are in place when a school opens.
Design & resources
Every space on campus is a learning space. Whether the project is a new build or 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 there will be compromises on all sides.
FFE and specialist resources
Sourcing Furniture, Fittings, Equipment and other resources for the school proceeds in parallel with the design brief. The big choice is whether to go local or sources overseas, In most cases the outcome is a combination of both to give best value for money and the desired level of outcome.
Infrastructure & IT systems
A modern international school, from the admissions office to the library and every classroom requires specialised digital planning – the right hardware, the right software and a suitable infrastructure to support a sustainable and effective operation. This process starts early.
Every aspect of a new school project needs an effective website – to inspire, to inform, to recruit and to attract. It needs to be in place early and constantly updated as the project plan is implemented. In the longer term it must be set up to give the school increasing independence from the designer.
Policy and procedures
When a school does open, a wide range of safe 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.
While project implementation can be fully supported from a distance, visits from the consultant become increasingly important as the opening of the school approaches. Everyone needs to ‘live the project’ in real time as decisions are made on a daily basis. Close support helps.
A vulnerable period
Planning becomes so focused on opening the school on time, there can be a tendency to breathe out after Day 1. No project management 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.
Ongoing strategic plan
And, having opened, the question arises – ‘Where do we go from here?’ Answers must be immediate and convincing. The school’s first strategic plan will already be in place as the energy built up to start the school is transformed into the fuel that will power it for the next three years.