A qualified Chartered Accountant, Surabhi Goel brings with her 18 years of experience across finance, project management, operations, budgeting, branding & marketing. She has worked at large multinational organisations such as Arthur Andersen and ICICI Bank. During her yearlong teaching stint at an MBA college, she realised that she was passionate about the education sector. Her keen interest in the field of education then drove her to work with Zee Learn, where she set up their first international school in Mumbai. Currently, she is the CEO at Aditya Birla World Academy, The Aditya Birla Integrated School and Aditya Birla Education Academy, ventures of the Aditya Birla Education Trust.
Schools are complex ecosystems. While the teachers and students are at the heart of this ecosystem, there are many other people who are important to complete this jigsaw puzzle. These people do different tasks but work together towards a common goal of creating a happy and safe environment for the students. To be effective and successful, schools require a robust framework for day-to-day operations and management. But have you ever mulled over what happens behind the scenes and inside the school?
It is crucial for school management to be aware about this, especially for new schools. Even if one is an established school, some of the challenges one faces are related to branding, admissions, and communication. School enrolment is very important for a school to succeed. A school’s brand frequently reveals a lot about the school’s principles, culture, and aspirations.
Here are a few guidelines to help schools standout:
Importance of digital presence:
Driving enrolments can be quite challenging, particularly in the first five years when a school has been just set up. There is tremendous competition with many new schools sprouting all over the place. It is critical for people to realise that today’s parents are internet savvy. As a result, it is important that schools maintain a strong digital presence. When parents visit the website, they will appreciate what they read and see. A regularly updated website is a must for school. It is time for education trailblazers to leverage their digital presence to broaden their reach and disseminate useful information to their audience.
This is something that doesn’t cost money, it is the power of first impression and personalised touch. For example, a parent might receive an SMS from the admissions officer saying “thank you for coming to our school; we greatly look forward to meeting you,” or a security guard cheerfully greeting prospective parents when they come for a school visit. These are simple details that can help establish a sense of warmth and personal attention, both of which can help your school attract more students.
Strong Leadership Team:
It is vital to hire the leadership team ahead of time, if a school has not become operational yet. When a prospective parent walks into the school, the building may not be ready, the classroom and the resources may not be ready, the board authorization may not have materialised yet. But if the school has a reputed and proactive Principal meeting parents and explaining the school’s future plans, mission and vision, parents will feel more at ease enrolling their child in this school. Hence, forming an efficient team which can communicate the school’s philosophy is critical to drive admissions and parent engagement.
Use of Customer Relationship Management:
The acquisition and maintenance of relationships amongst prospects is something that educational institutes must seriously consider. To keep your admission pipeline strong, you must be able to draw prospects systematically and convert them to students. This shows that new age Customer Relationship Management is required. These are software programmes that assist you in managing your customer data. This will assist with the leads that come in, allowing you to keep track of all of the individuals the admission office needs to communicate with. Sometimes, a parent may visit the school but take admission only for the following academic year. Thus, it is important to maintain data systematically.
Feedback from Parents and Students:
Schools must establish a relationship with the parent community. What they think about the school matters immensely as word of mouth is the most important source for new admissions in a school. This can be accomplished by conducting a comprehensive survey for students and parents, which will allow schools to determine how emotionally and physically secure, comfortable, and safe students feel in school premises. This information helps schools enhance their overall setting.
Upskilling and Hiring:
Use new age platforms such as LinkedIn to find and attract skilled teachers from other schools, as well as recent graduates. Examine any upcoming career fairs and begin forming relationships with potential future teachers. It is critical to establish a culture of trust and transparency, which will make it easier to communicate with teachers. Providing teachers an opportunity to upskill and grow in their careers helps to ensure that they are motivated and have knowledge of all latest practices to be effective in the classroom. These practices help in staff retention and result in better classroom interactions and better student outcomes.