How To Set Up A Private School In Ghana

Setting up private school is a good business if you have what it takes to get started.

The number of schools especially those owned by private individuals are increasingly growing in almost everywhere in our towns, cities and villages.

While owners create the schools to provide quality education, it is certain that the dividends that come with owning them are something to ride home about.

As you read this article we bet you that a school is either being conceived somewhere or perhaps the creation process has actually begun.

We assure you that there is no better way to start your private school than first getting the knowledge demonstrated in this article first hand.

You could start a private school any day any time but if you want to set a high standard and win this lucrative market, you need to take the pains of going through the details with us.

However, the result will show for the time you put in and the good news for you is that plenty of folks have done the same thing you are thinking of doing.

We tapped from their experience and believe that you will find much inspiration and practical advice from this piece.

Starting a high standard private school takes some time,
money and patience.

Here is how you can go about it
following a timeline.

1. Carve Out Your Own Niche

It will be unrealistic to think that you can start a school that
will offer education to every community and age group.

About 35-25 months before opening, determine where you
want to set up the school and what kind of school the local
market needs.

Is it a day-care, pre-nursery, nursery,
primary, secondary, day, boarding, etc.? You need to know
what their needs in this area are and seek to meet them.

After you determine what kind of school you will be
opening, then decide how many classes will actually open
the school.

It is advisable to start from the lowest levels
and then keep adding classes as you get older in the
business.

2. Come Up With A Committee

A good school is not started on one mind. It is built on a
think tank of a number of minds put together to think
through all that is required.

If you think of the school in
many years to come with say 5000 students enrollment,
you will want to take it more seriously than you would,
thinking just in the next 2-3 years.

Synergy is key to
success here like in most businesses. So form a
committee.

Let’s say you’ve got 24 months to opening, the next
serious thing you need to do is to form a small committee
of talented supporters to begin the preliminary work.

You
may like to include parents with financial, legal,
management and building experience.

Ask for and get a
commitment of time and financial support from each
member.

This important planning work will demand much
time and energy.

These people can become the core of your
first board of directors.

3. Seek Accreditation Well Ahead Of Opening

Let’s say you now have 18 months to opening.

This is the
right time you should be preoccupied with filing
incorporation papers with your education authorities in your
country or region for accreditation.

The lawyer on your
committee should be able to handle this for you.

There are
likely going to be costs associated with the filing, but he/
she should donate his/her legal services to the cause.

Note that this shall eventually be a critical step in your long
term fund raising plan.

People will give money much more
readily to a legal entity or institution as opposed to a
person.

If you have already decided to establish your own
exclusive school, you will be on your own when it comes to
raising money.

In other words if your school is unregistered
from the onset, you may soon forfeit government
subventions.

4. Get A Business Plan In Place

Also, when you still have 18 months in your sleeves,
develop your business plan.

This should be a blue print of
how the school is going to operate over its first five years
and the expansion strategies in place for many years
ahead.

Always be conventional in your projections.

Do not
try to do everything in the first five years unless you have
been lucky enough to find a donor to fund your school
entirely.

A good business plan will guarantee the
sustainability of your school when it eventually goes
operational.

See why and how you should develop a
business plan.

5. Draw Up A Realistic Budget

Also, as part of your business plan, draw a five year budget
that details your income and expenses.
The financial
person on your committee should be responsible for
developing this critical document.

As always, project your
expectations conservatively and factor in an additional
amount that could rescue you if things go wrong.

You need to develop two budgets: an operating budget and
a capital budget.

For example, a swimming pool or an arts
facility would fall under the capital side, while planning for
social security expenses like bus services would be an
operating budget expense.

Take into serious consideration,
growth over five year’s period. You may want to seek
advice from an expert.

6. Get A Suitable School House

12 months to starting, find a facility to house the school or
develop building plans if you will be creating your own
facility from scratch.

You don’t want to just choose an
archaic house to host your school because it is
inexpensive.

A modern and nice structure is one of those
things that will make your school outstanding.

There
should be something in your premises that says,
“Welcome!”.

The campus should be appealing first to
parents and then to the pupils or students. Get your
architect and contractor committee members to spearhead
this assignment.

Think carefully before you leap at acquiring that wonderful
old mansion or vacant office space.

Schools require good
locations for many reasons, not the least of which is safety.
Older buildings can be money pits.

Make use of segmented
buildings and improve on the campus with flowers and
lawns.

7. Seek Tax Exempt Status

At this point, with about a year to start, apply for tax
exemption in conformity with the laws related to this in your
country/region.

Again, your lawyer can handle this
application. We do not in any way encourage you to refrain
from paying local taxes but getting tax exemption can
enable you get contributions from donors that are not
subject to taxes.

People and businesses will definitely look
upon your fund raising efforts much more favorably if you
are a recognized tax-exempt organization.

8. Get Some Key Faculty Members

This is also the right time to identify your Head Teacher and
your Business Manager.

Conduct your search as widely as
possible. Write job descriptions for these and all your staff.

You will be looking for enthusiastic and highly motivated
self-starters who enjoy building something from scratch.

Once all other things have been put in place, hire the head
and the business manager.

They need the stability and
focus of a steady job to get your school open.

You need
their expertise to ensure an opening on time.

Also begin to assemble your staffing team, making sure you
get qualified teachers for each subject.

This aspect will
constitute a major determinant of how fast the school will
grow.

9. Raise Funds For A Successful Opening

With say ten months left, you need to secure your initial
funding from donors and subscriptions.
You will need to
plan your campaign carefully so that you can build
motivation, and raise the funds required.

You could appoint a dynamic leader from your planning
group to ensure the success of these initial efforts.

Car
washes are not going to yield the large amount of capital
which you will need.

Well-planned appeals to foundations
and local philanthropists will pay off.

If you can afford it,
hire a professional to help you write proposals and identify
donors.

10. Identify The Staffing Requirements

Go ahead to identify what your staff will require, for them to
teach well.

Having them receive all the didactic materials
and deserving compensation will enable you meet your
goal of delivering quality education to the attendees.

Sell
the vision of your school to them. If they buy your vision,
rest assured that they will run with it to wherever you
desire.

11. Publicize Your School To Stakeholders

Eight months to starting, advertise your schools to
stakeholders using available media like TVs, radios,
newspapers, and online on social media like Facebook.

You
could even create a website for your school and promote it.

Be sure you advertise through the media that will enable
you get to your target audience efficiently.

Equally, design a
website and set up a mailing list to keep interested parents
and donors in touch with your progress.

Marketing your school is something which has to be done
consistently, appropriately and effectively.

If you can afford
it, hire an expert to get this important job done.

12. Time To Open For Business

Five months to the school opening, it is time to open the
school office and begin admissions, interviews and tours of
your facilities.

In addition to admissions and other activities
you have begun carrying out, you also at this time should
order instructional materials, planning curricula and
devising a master timetable.

You could get the team of
professionals around you attend to some of these things
while you have time to handle other tasks.

13. Get Your Teachers And Orientate Them

Have teachers in place to get the school ready for opening.
The first year at a new school requires endless meetings
and planning sessions for the academic staff.

Get your
teachers on the job no later than two months before
inaugural in order to get them adequately prepared for
opening day.

Depending on how lucky you are at attracting qualified
teachers, you may have your hands full with this aspect of
the project.

Take the time needed to help your new teachers
get acquainted with the school’s vision.

They need to buy
into it, or else their negative attitudes could create a host of
problems.

14. The “D” Day

The long awaited opening day is finally at hand. Make this
light-hearted opening at which you welcome your students
and any interested parents at a brief assembly.

Then off to
classes. Teaching is what your school will be known for.

It
needs to begin promptly on Day 1.
The formal opening ceremonies should be a festive
occasion.

Schedule it for a few weeks after the soft
opening.

Faculty and students will have sorted themselves
out by then. A feeling of community will be apparent.

The
public impression which your new school will make will be
a positive one. If possible invite local, regional and state
leaders.

15. Strive To Always Be Up-to-Date

After the opening, make sure you join national or private
school associations. Through such gatherings you will find
incomparable resources.

The networking opportunities for
you and your staff are virtually limitless.

During the first
year, plan and attend association conferences, so that your
school can gain prominence.

That will ensure plenty of
applications for vacant positions in the following academic
year

Vital Tips:

Be conservative in your projections of revenues and
expenses even if you have an angel who is paying for
everything.

Make sure real estate agents are aware of the new
school.

Families moving into the communities always
ask about schools.

Arrange open days, houses and
gatherings to promote your new school.

Submit your school’s website to sites like this one so
that parents and teachers can become aware of its
existence.

Always plan your facilities with growth and expansion
in mind. Be sure to keep them green as well.

A
sustainable school will last so many years. One which
is planned without any consideration of sustainability
will fail eventually.

What You Need:

A Planning Committee

A Head of School

A Business Manager

A Business Plan

The Right Environment

Dynamic, effective fund raising

Professional marketing

Qualified Teaching Staff.

With all these in place, you are very good to go. The steps
mentioned above are applicable in most locations.

If there
is need for any adjustment, you can do that to fit your
circumstances and location.

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