Once you’ve opened your school, and you have a stream of new enquiries, you need to be sure you can sign them up. How will you do that? Up to now you may have been a great teacher. You now also need to be a great salesperson. You need to be able to show prospective students, and often more importantly, their parents, that you know what they need, demonstrate the ability to deliver, and show how this will be monitored and reported. You need to do this quickly and then you need to get them to sign up, so you need a clear, legally sound service agreement.
It’s really important you are clear in your mind why you are doing this. Are you trying to build a school system you can scale up and make profitable? Is your primary concern that students receive the best education possible and your own financial rewards secondary to that? Or do you want to strike a balance between the two?
I have no doubt that some of the best teachers (educators, enablers, facilitators, coaches – call them what you will) are those that strike up close relationships with their students, know each of them intimately (though perhaps not too intimately) and use their skills, experience and creativity to cater exactly to their students’ needs. Any teacher that intends to do this at their new school should be commended. Any new school owner who also thinks they can get others to do this exactly the way they want is probably mistaken. The fact that many independent school owners have, frustrated at the rigidity of employment and an established system, set up stall to do things their way highlights a contradiction: You broke away to be independent, but unless you give all teachers and all students total freedom, you are going to need some rules. That’s right, you need rules. Perhaps the same sort of rules you ran away from in the first place.