Since the recent COVID-19 outbreak, more and more independent schools are seeking independent business support. Whilst many may see this as all doom and gloom, there are in fact some positives from a business perspective coming from COVID-19 for independent schools. In this quick article we will discuss the changing marketplace for private schools and why consultancy is being used to enhance or offset these changes.
A recent article in the telegraph highlighted how interest in private schools had surged, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many parents have found the state schooling offer too unstructured and have found home schooling difficult. Through continuing to deliver a structured syllabus, as well as embracing and utilising new technologies, private schools have to a large extent been able to further differentiate their offering. Creating a structured approach to distance learning. This delivery hasn’t gone un-noticed and has led to many parents considering the wider benefits of private schooling. The key to this opportunity is to ensure that this potential new cohort is accommodated for both in the sales funnel process and marketing messaging. What has worked for one customer segment, may not be the right message for parents who, until now, may not have considered private schooling. Many private schools are turning to trained consultants, specialising in market segmentation and process reengineering to help maximise these returns.
A recent trend that has emerged within private schools is the potential to open up grounds and staffing to support summer “catch up” sessions. In a letter penned from Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent School Council (ISC) to Gavin Williamson, Robinson stated how many independent schools not only had the capacity, but up to 80% had the desire to offer such sessions. Whilst private schools are clearly capable of delivering such educational excellence alongside running events. The requirement to review, produce, deliver and execute such a programme may well require external consultancy support tailored to private schools. Such a project will require planning, branding, marketing, marketing execution, timetabling, resourcing and delivery. No small matter as we begin to enter the summer break already.
Many private schools have to focus on their cohort and admission process as an annual point. Ensuring acceptable cohort numbers, is one of the most prominent struggles for a majority of such schools. Whilst the COVID-19 outbreak has, as discussed above, created interest and opportunity in private schooling, the struggle to maintain and deliver private schooling has, and continues to see some schools unable to continue operating. In fact, it has been reported that even with these opportunities outlined, the pandemic may tip many private schools over the financial edge. Working with a management consultant who focuses on private schools, institutions can focus on operational, supply chain and admission processes and efficiency to review and secure short, medium and long term safety. Where such opportunities do not seem possible, working to deliver a potential M&E route, may well be the only viable option.