There is an urgent need to rescue Eko Boys High School (EBHS) from the present decay. The school has suffered huge neglect since the forceful take over of all schools in 1979 by former governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande. To return EBHS back to its glorious past and meet the vision of its founder, Late Reverend Euba, there is an urgent need for the Old Boys to take urgent action.
To return the school to its previous enviable position before government control, EBHS need to be independent of government control. Like other schools returned to their previous owners by Lagos state government, EBHS need to be independent of government control hence the need to return the school back to its previous owner. As there is no particular individual or organisation that the school can be returned to, there is a need to set up a charitable trust to achieve this goal. A charitable trust needs to be set by the Old Boys that will take over the running of the school.
Setting up Eko Boys High School Trust (EBHST) is a simple process but likely to take a couple of months and involve the very different complexities of creating both a successful school and establishing a voluntary body.
The structure of EBHST as a non-profit company will be described in the Constitution setting up.
In practice the setting up process will require a team of committed individuals – the Board and staff of the EBHST – who have a shared vision of what they are seeking to do, and the skills and resources to do it.
To be successful they will need assured funding for several years of operation, offices, ideas for projects and the support of a wide range of Old Ekorians. This will involve developing a Business plan.
EBHST will be started by Old Ekorians with the support from Parents & Teachers Association. An effective EBHST must deal with a number of issues:
The trustees on the Board will come from different backgrounds with different priorities – there may be no initial team spirit. To remain a successful charity the EBHST should rapidly develop policies which enhance the educational attainment of students that passes through the school.
Projects and running the EBHST will demand a wide range of Competences from the team of staff and Board.
Whilst setting up the developmental projects for the school, the EBHST, staff and Board must also gain the support of Old Ekorians and Parents / Teachers Association.
Unless these issues are addressed in the setting up process the EBHST may spend many months dealing needless squabbles or facing criticism from Parents / Teachers Association who may resent the new-ownership structure.
The process described in this and other information sheets is designed to bind together the ‘hard-edged’ tasks of incorporation, business planning and project development with ‘softer’ issues of team building and stakeholder involvement.
The Building Blocks
The three main building blocks in the process of bringing together the different strands, are:
An initial vision of why the EBHST is being established, what it will do, and how it will operate. This will be sketched out by those involved at the start – the initial champions – but then developed with a wider audience. It may start life as a mission statement, become a leaflet and later emerge as a full marketing prospectus.
A business plan which turns this vision into a portfolio of projects, identifies finance and other resources, and sets out an appropriate management structure. The formal constitution of the EBHST – its memorandum and articles of association.
The next section outlines the process to develop these documents and launch the EBHST. It summarises the planning and development sections of the action plan which provides a step by step guide.
Finding the People
Successful development of EBHST depends on people – old Ekorians, staff, the Board, Parents, Teachers, students and funders. There’s no substitute for networking – going round and talking to people one-to-one, although later in the process it is important to bring key interests together in groups. A Steering group should be formed during the setting up process which is as near a ‘shadow’ of the eventual Board as possible.
Choosing the Projects
The projects EBHST undertake may range from taking ownership of the assets of EBHS, to day to day running of the School, to major building projects, from training courses for teachers to fund raising etc.. Some projects will come from professional studies – but the best way to encourage ‘ownership’ of the EBHST and gain people’s commitment is to hold brainstorming workshops for different interest groups where people can make suggestions that can then be developed and costed in more detail.
The initial vision and seminar
From studies, ‘networking’ old boys, and workshop discussions it should be possible to develop an initial vision of what the EBHST will do and how it will operate.
The principles of how EBHST will operate, and its values, are likely to be as important to old and current students, parents and teachers as the what and how – the projects it undertakes.
One way of crystallising the what and how into a ‘picture of the future’ is to hold separate workshops of old boys, current students, parents and teachers to prioritise projects and discuss principles, then bring people together in a seminar to share the vision and agree to set up EBHST . This will ensure broad support for the rest of the process.
For the seminar there is a need to prepare some information sheets and a small exhibition – afterwards it will be possible to produce a more substantial newsletter, if there is a need.
The Business Plan
It is very important to have a business plan, because it clarifies the ‘mission’, identify resources, research and develop strategies and plan operations in advance. Put more simply for the EBHST, the business plan is like a three legged stool, supported by projects and principles (the initial vision), resources, and a management structure and systems.
At the heart of the plan is the relationship between core expenditure and income.
EBHST will need funds to cover its core costs of staff, office and other overheads – for at least a year at any time. It will also need funds for projects, and may accept benefit in kind in the form of materials and advice.
Unless the EBHST is being sponsored by corporate organisation(s) the steering group or the Board will have to undertake the necessary initial fund-raising. To do this they should prepare a proposal or bid document as a first draft of the business plan to present to Old Boys, potential funders and supporters, setting out the vision of the school and how they plan to realise it.
Management Structure of the EBHST
When formed, the EBHST will have a Board of governors who are mostly will be Old Ekorians. As a charity limited by guarantee the EBHST will have members, not shareholders – but their rights will be limited. It is important to recognise:
There should only be two tiers of management – the Board and paid staff. The Board make policy and staff carry it out.
- Tight financial and administrative systems are essential from the outset.
- Take the best professional advice. Use a solicitor familiar with development of charitable trust.
- High calibre staff are essential, and can only be recruited when the EBHST can evidently offer attractive employment with secure core funding.
The prospectus and launch of the Trust
There is a need to prepare a prospectus or other package of promotional material to bring all information together for the launch of the Trust that can be presented to Old Boys, Parents, Teachers, funders and supporters. A good format is a folder bearing the EBHST design identity and including the business plan, project information sheets and any newsletters.
Milestones and resources
Overall the process is likely to take up to a couple of months. The main milestones are:
Initial planning sessions and informal discussions by Old Ekorians promoting the EBHST to develop a concept statement and action plan.
- Workshops to brainstorm and prioritise projects, principles, and find other steering group members.
- Steering group meetings.
- A seminar of all key interests.
- Preparation of the draft business plan.
- Presentations to Old Boys Association and supporters to secure core funding.
- Staff recruitment.
- Legal incorporation and securing charitable status.
- The launch event.
During the setting up process the following cost may be incurred:
- Communication materials and events
- A development officer and temporary office
- Legal fees and project feasibility studies.