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048: Scanning your environment

In this episode we will be talking about the importance of looking beyond the school gates when considering the strategic changes you may need to make. This means being aware of what is happening in the world which you need to be prepared for, often referred to as scanning your environment.

Forming robust strategies and making decisions with the future in mind will help you to position your school successfully over the coming years. PESTEL analysis is a powerful tool for generating insights about the external factors which may impact your school and influence your strategy.

We will start by looking at the local Political environment; this can influence anything from taxation to charitable status. Then we think about the national and international Economy; this may affect fee affordability and demand, as well as investment and loan decisions.

The 'S' in PESTEL refers to Societal trends such as an increased focus on well-being and equality. Technological has and will change the way we both deliver education and communicate with our communities.

Environmental issues such as climate change mean we need to be thinking about how our business models may be challenged by environmental changes such as energy prices. Finally, the 'L' stands for Legal; most schools are very aware of their legal obligations but it is always wise to think ahead about potential future changes.

We will also discuss some big current trends, such as Covid and globalisation, which you want to be thinking through so that you can scan your environment successfully. Episode highlights

  • PESTEL analysis (03:26)

  • Covid and other big trends affecting schools (12:29)

  • My four top tips (16:36)

References and resources

Download your copy of the free eBook ‘The Strategic Independent School Leader’ at

Catch up on previous episodes at


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