mtm SCHOOL MATTERS
The most intelligent and rigorous advice for independent schools Now in its TENTH year: The Strategic Insights Conference for Independent Schools
Also in this issue:
Independent educa on.... but not as we know it By Melanie Tucker Principal, mtmconsul ng
hen mtmconsul ng created the very first annual Prac cal Strategies con‐ ference ten years ago, our aim was to provide leaders with up‐to‐date thinking and prac cal advice to posi on their schools in order to compete eﬀec‐ vely. These aims remain at the heart of our Conference. We con nue to invest in cu ng‐edge research to provide you with the best informa on about the prospects for the sector, the changing a tudes of buyers, the poten al for your school to recruit, and to inform your investment decisions.
The prospects for the economy, and how this will impact on independent schools?
Loca ng your ‘Super Streets’ James Legge introduces the most radical update of MANDARIN, our bespoke market analysis for schools.
Probing behind the obvious ques ons Chris Rimmer on what schools need to ask before they undertake research
INSIGHTS: Applying new research methods to un‐ derpin your marke ng strategy
The rate of change in the educa onal market place in the past ten years has re‐ sulted in a sector that many could hardly have envisaged, so this year we are focus‐ ing on topics to help you posi on your school in the dynamic and vola le market of the next ten years. This year we are very fortunate to have secured as our keynote speaker Jus n Ur‐ quhart Stewart (right), Co‐founder of Sev‐ en Investment Management which has developed one of the most sophis cated economic research programmes to guide investment decisions. Familiar from regu‐ lar TV and radio appearances, Jus n will share his thoughts on:
12 June: mtmconsul ng’s latest in‐depth seminar for school leaders
What price self‐catering? For details on how to book your place at the conference, see page 8. Other key themes of the conference will include: Why is independent educa on such an a rac ve proposi on for investors? Many schools have opened in the past five years, despite the recession. Recent‐ ly, this ac vity has increased, so why are investors rushing to open schools and establish new groups?
Gavin Humphries on the im‐ pact of school fees on your parents’ family budgets If you would like to receive a digital version of School Ma ers please let us know. Email: oﬃce@mtmconsul ng.co.uk
Continued on page 7
mtmconsulting ltd. Portland House, 43 High Street, Southwold, IP18 6AB TEL: 01502 722787 www.mtmconsulting.co.uk
mtm SCHOOL MATTERS
Mandarin update: loca ng your ‘Super Streets’
Our new and ‘Bubble’ maps (right) showing market nother newsle er, another Mandarin update, only size have a more powerful visual impact than previous this me it’s the most important refinement of edi ons, and we can colour the ‘bubbles’ to show, for this vital market planning tool since mtmconsul ng example, the share you have of the market within your introduced it to the independent schools sector in catchment. Overlaying the loca ons of compe tors 2003. allows you to understand where there are significant We have reviewed all the data available to us, includ‐ opportuni es within the catchment which are currently ing our unique postcode database gathered over more under exploited. We will also suggest changes to your than a decade, to make our unparalleled market intelli‐ coach routes to help you maximise recruitment and gence product more usable than ever before. We have expand your catchment. refined the data outputs, providing heads with firm Another addi on to the Mandarin is the inclusion of evidence to support business decisions, marketers with popula on projec ons by the key areas within which the four groups. Using the James Legge , Research Consultant and to focus marke ng eﬀorts four super‐groups at a neigh‐ Project Manager at mtmconsul ng, and run bus routes, and bur‐ bourhood level (c140 house‐ introduces the most radical update of our sars with a firm founda on holds) allows a detailed un‐ from which to plan poten al bespoke market analysis for schools. derstanding of exactly where incomes streams. your target market is likely to grow, and be able to Following detailed reviews with users, we have re‐ quan fy the change. moved the a la carte 18 lifestyle groups, replacing them Comple ng the supply and demand research is our with four bespoke key easy‐to‐target super‐groups of tried and tested compe tor analysis. We pride our‐ families (right above). We know the percentage of fam‐ selves in knowing the rolls of all schools in the UK since ilies living in ‘Super Streets’ na onally who send their 2006, by age and gender. Using this data we can tell children to independent schools, so knowing where you, using the most accurate source available, where these families are in your catchment ensures you can the market is moving, which of your compe tors are key target your messages and plan your coach routes struggling and which are expanding. Only mtmcon‐ appropriately. Similarly, a Mandarin analysis will iden ‐ sul ng can provide your school with this superior mar‐ fy the percentage of families on ‘High Roads’ who send ket intelligence. their children to independent schools. Only our new Mandarin report ensures your school can target them For more informa on, please contact eﬀec vely. jlegge @mtmconsul ng.co.uk
What people say about mtmconsul ng: The outcome of the work that we did with mtmconsul ng was considerable. As a new head it was infinitely helpful to me to understand the mar‐ ket very quickly. Bee Hughes, Head, The Maynard School Exeter
We were very pleased with the research and analysis conducted for us by mtm. This has given us an invaluable insight into our marketplace and will be hugely useful in our strategic future plan‐ ning. Stamford Endowed Schools
Recent clients include: ALPHA PLUS GROUP • AMPLEFORTH • CANARY WHARF GROUP • CLAIRES COURT SCH mtmconsulting ltd, Portland House, 43 High Street, Southwold, IP18 6AB TEL: 01502 722787 www.mtmconsulting.co.uk
mtm SCHOOL MATTERS
It is extremely important that as businesses we moni‐ tor and react to our sector's performance. Within our own schools, we iden fy trends and use our data to prepare for the future. Sector reports, like mtm’s, are a really important benchmark against which we can measure our posi ons. They also provide valuable informa on that can help with strategic planning, provide evidence for taking par cular ac on and sup‐ port our work.. Tori Roddy, Stowe School
The research and presenta on have been invaluable and we have found MTM highly professional and helpful at all mes. You took the me to listen and understand the school and were able to tailor the research to our needs. We now have a firm foo ng on which to base our plans for the future. The presenta on added a great deal of value to the project and overall exceeded our expecta‐ ons. Thank you! Reigate Grammar School
HOOLS • CLIFTON COLLEGE • COBHAM HALL • COGNITA • DURHAM HIGH SCHOOL • HERNE HILL SCHOOL • mtmconsulting ltd, Portland House, 43 High Street, Southwold, IP18 6AB TEL: 01502 722787 www.mtmconsulting.co.uk
mtm SCHOOL MATTERS
Probing behind the obvious ques ons
by Chris Rimmer Senior Lead Consultant Digital technology has made surveying parental opinion much simpler than it once was. But does an on line sur‐ vey tell you all you need to know? Parental percep ons are o en too complex to fit into neat categories.
n commissioning market research, schools need to be mindful of the appropriateness of the research method adopted for their research objec ves. Understanding which research methodology to select, be it quan ta ve or qualita‐ ve, can have a huge impact on the usefulness of the re‐ search findings in terms of ac ons for management and fu‐ ture strategic thinking.
A typical research objec ve might be for a new head to understand parental percep ons of a school. Ins nc vely, many of us are drawn to online surveys with pre‐defined categories such as the clarity of school communica ons and the quality of teaching and learning, with each category em‐ ploying a set of pre‐defined ques ons. While this quan ta ve approach has many benefits (such as providing a standardised approach that can be ‘measured’ and benchmarked from one year to the next) it is o en not the most appropriate tool to explore in depth what parents really think about a school. In emphasising benchmarking and measurement, quan ta‐ ve research by its nature is limited to the categories which have been pre‐defined. But many important parental percep‐ ons and a tudes to a school do not neatly slot into the pre‐ defined categories and ques ons? Qualita ve research by its nature is intended to be exploratory and seeks to understand and represent the views of people and parents as they are, and not though the lens of a pre‐defined set of categories. Qualita ve research draws on comprehensive verba m comments obtained from interviews, focus groups and well‐
designed telephone surveys. Responses are recorded, tran‐ scribed and analysed and from these responses common percep ons, concepts and ideas are generated. This is a highly skilled process of breaking data down (disassembling), crea ng categories and codes (re‐assembling), interpre ng findings and then arriving at conclusions. Elaborate and explore Clearly, research is driven by a set of objec ves, which in the case of qualita ve research informs the ques ons posed in interviews, focus groups and telephone surveys. However, the skilled prac oner does not approach this ques oning with a ‘quan ta ve mind‐set’ by seeking yes/no responses or one line answers, but instead probes and prompts re‐ spondents to elaborate and explore their thoughts and rea‐ sons for their thinking. It is in this way that qualita ve re‐ search really comes into its own by o en revealing unex‐ pected a tudes, perspec ves and nuances of percep on. A recent large scale qualita ve research project conducted by mtmconsul ng involving face‐to‐face interviews with feeder heads revealed the key touch points (all the points at which customers engage with a brand e.g. a school) shaping paren‐ tal percep ons of a prospec ve school. Although under‐ standing parental percep ons was an ini al research objec‐ ve, it was the qualita ve approach which, through careful analysis of the data, revealed the no on of touch points, with diﬀerent parental percep ons at diﬀerent points. This research facilitated a rich understanding of parental a ‐ tudes and, therefore, a more informed, targeted and strate‐ gic basis for managers to act upon.
Recent clients include: ABBOT'S HILL • CLAYESMORE • CRANMORE • FARLINGTON • GREY COAT HOSPITAL • mtmconsulting ltd, Portland House, 43 High Street, Southwold, IP18 6AB TEL: 01502 722787 www.mtmconsulting.co.uk
mtm SCHOOL MATTERS
mtmINSIGHTS mtmconsul ng seminars for school leaders Our business is to be at the leading edge of the independent edu‐ ca on sector. The mtmconsul ng ‘Insights’ events enable delegates to access the latest research and ideas, and to apply them in their schools.
"The mtm insights series are a fantas c opportunity to understand exactly what is happening in the Independent schools market and spe‐ cifically, our local area. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet likeminded individuals. With the guidance and support from mtm we feel we have a be er understanding of how to progress the business and meet the needs of our local market". Holly Chris e, Park Hill School
Diagram: Typical Touch points in Parental Decision‐Making for Senior Schools
Thursday 12 June 2104
Applying new research methods to underpin your marke ng strategy
Of course, it is not a case of one research method being be er than another; be it qualita ve or quan ta ve. The key is to un‐ derstand the merits and limita ons of each approach and, where possible, combining the benefits of both. For example, once an in‐depth understanding or parental percep ons of a school has been gained through qualita ve research, this can then obviously inform the categories and ques ons for a quan ‐ ta ve approach through which a school may then wish to benchmark itself and evaluate progress. At mtmconsul ng we can provide research in the form of one‐oﬀ projects, or combine research methods to provide a full market research service to schools as we have all the skills, researchers and so ware tools in‐house to conduct research, whether it is qualita ve and quan ta ve, to the highest standards. For more informa on contact crimmer@mtmconsul ng.co.uk
Chris Rimmer has an MBA from the University of Durham and an LSE in Human Resources. He is a former director of ICT at an HMC boarding school and is a specialist in strategic marke ng. As well as being a courserian, blog‐ ger and tweeter on educa onal issues, Chris has substan‐ al exper se in the strategic management of ICT.
The Rag 36‐39 Pall Mall London SW1Y 5JN (formerly The Army and Navy Club)
This is a prac cal session for Heads, Bursars, Marke ng Managers, SMT members and Governors who want to develop their marke ng and achieve a strategic ad‐ vantage over compe tors. It will include: An introduc on to new research methods How these underpin your strategy Case studies to show how to apply research How to segment your market and why it’s important Tips on marke ng and admissions to increase recruit‐ ment in a dynamic market Case studies on: using new research methods to be er target buyers and save money and me; what research needs to be carried out when extending your school age range, establishing satellite feeders, going co‐educa onal or opening a new school. Speakers: Chris Rimmer: marke ng and strategy consultant James Legge : research consultant Case study presenters from leading schools Fee £175 plus vat. These events are limited to 20 delegates and likely to be over subscribed, so early booking is advised. To book a place go to our website www.mtmconsul ng.co.uk
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP • NEWCASTLE SCHOOL FOR BOYS • OUNDLE • SHIPLAKE COLLEGE • mtmconsulting ltd, Portland House, 43 High Street, Southwold, IP18 6AB TEL: 01502 722787 www.mtmconsulting.co.uk
mtm SCHOOL MATTERS
What price self‐catering? by Gavin Humphries, Head of Research Publica ons and Reports
t’s the Easter holidays and, as happens every year, the Chairman of the Governors has kindly wri en to us with details of September’s fee rise. It’s 5.75% ‐ higher than in the last few years and definitely part of a trend. As the economy strengthens, annual fee rises are creeping up again. Most schools have decided that their markets can bear this – but is that a fair assump on? The parents most vulnerable to such infla on‐bus ng rises are those earning just enough to pay the fees now and with no recourse to other sources of funding. How many of your school’s parents come into that category?
The first ques on to be answered is: What income do you need to pay school fees? The Joseph Rowntree Founda on ques ons members of the public about what they think con‐ s tutes a minimum standard of living. The results suggest that a family of four needs £119 per week for food, £78 for motoring, £56 for u li es and so on. Add in payments on a typical mortgage and a single set of day school fees and we get to a minimum required income of £69,000. How DO they pay? The results from mtmconsul ng’s most recent Fees Survey suggest that 29% of current independent school parents have a household income of less than £70,000. So how do they pay for schooling? Our calcula ons reveal that in fact only about two‐fi hs of their total fee bill is paid for straight out of income. About 30% comes from savings and invest‐ ments, about 20% comes from non‐repayable sources (such as the school or from rela ves) and about 10% is borrowed (such as through a mortgage, via personal loans or again from a rela ve). So this group is less vulnerable to fee rises than would first appear. Only 11% of parents in <£70,000 households are paying fees en rely out of income. But that does mean a shade over 3% of all parents meet those two criteria: income of less than £70,000 and fees paid en rely out of income. This is the group that probably cannot respond to fee rises
simply by forgoing a holiday or otherwise ghtening their belts. However, some of them will have access to other sources of funding that they are not currently using. They may be able to remortgage, dip into savings, liquidate investments or get funds from a rela ve. At the moment about a quarter of <£70,000 households get non‐repayable help from a rela‐ ve; what is not known is whether many grandparents s ll wait in the wings. With infla on seemingly under control interest rates look set to stay lower for longer. This may persuade more people that their money would be be er spent on their grandchil‐ dren’s con nuing educa on than in earning a low rate of return. It may well be that the ability to take a pension as a lump sum (rather than have to invest it in an annuity) will also free up more cash for independent school fees. Clearly some (perhaps most) of this 3% will have further financial op ons. But what if they simply do not want to use them? The Joseph Rowntree Founda on’s Minimum Income Standard is just that – a minimum. For example, it includes a two‐week family holiday but defines it as a self‐catering fort‐ night in the UK. Is an independent educa on worth that, year in year out? Certainly for a small number, but for a larger number, proba‐ bly not. When we surveyed parents who could aﬀord an in‐ dependent educa on but chose not to, the biggest diﬀer‐ ence between them and current independent sector parents was that they placed more value on giving their children great experiences – including great holidays – than the best educa on. When money is ght, there are an awful lot of great family experi‐ ences you can have and s ll have change from £10,000 a year. For more informa on on the research reports which underpin this analysis, go to our website or call us on (01502) 722787.
Recent clients include: GRESHAM'S • HABERDASHERS' MONMOUTH • HORNSBY HOUSE • MAGDALEN COLL mtmconsulting ltd, Portland House, 43 High Street, Southwold, IP18 6AB TEL: 01502 722787 www.mtmconsulting.co.uk
mtm SCHOOL MATTERS
Independent educa on ... but not as we know it Continued from page 1
done, and how to communicate a vision for the future.
What is it that children really want from their school, and what are they likely to want in future? As far as we know there has never been a pupil survey asking them what they want from their school. We present new research of almost 5,000 pupils in independent schools.
How do you create a future‐proof IT strategy? There are plenty of examples of big companies and government de‐ partments making the wrong decisions about IT support. Independent schools have invested a great deal in IT. The spend is set to increase, so just how do you make the right decisions to provide the IT to run the school as an eﬀec ve business?
Break‐out sessions include:
Advice for governors and trustees on managing an invest‐ ment por olio. In recent mes it has been a struggle for some Trustees to achieve reasonable returns on invest‐ ments, so we include a workshop on the building blocks of por olio management. Some schools have been forced to reconfigure in order to compete eﬀec vely and consolida on con nues apace, while others have taken the economic downturn as an op‐ portunity to develop market share. We will cover compli‐ ance issues when embarking on major structural change such as mergers, the establishment of groups of schools, and overseas franchises. Are you using your brand name eﬀec vely? The sector has some very powerful brand names, which in many cases are much under used. Our speakers will give advice on exploi ng a school’s name, trade mark protec on, and intellectual property issues. How do you reposi on your school in the market to en‐ hance demand? We present a case study to show how it’s
Jus n Urquhart Stewart Keynote speaker us n is one of the most recog‐ nisable and trusted market com‐ mentators on television, radio, and in the press. Originally trained as a lawyer, he has observed a unique understand‐ ing of the market's roles and bene‐ fits for the private investor. Having trained as a barrister, Jus n took up interna onal corporate finance, working in both Africa and Singa‐ pore then back in the UK. This led Jus n to help found Broker Services in 1986, which went on to become Barclays Stockbrokers where he was Corporate Develop‐ ment Director. In early 2001, he co‐founded Seven Investment Management (7IM).
How do you select the right head to lead your school in the future? Leading an independent school requires specific skills and a ributes. The pool of talent is not infinite. Finding the right head is fundamental to success, so how are leaders of the future developed and what special talents do they need? We will consider new research that will be of interest to heads, depu es and governors. What are the benefits of using social media in your mar‐ ke ng strategy? Holly Chris e (Park Hill School) and Chris Rimmer will be deba ng the benefits, risks and opportuni es of employing social media within a school marke ng strate‐ gy. This will cover prac cal themes such as reputa on man‐ agement, arguments for and against engaging in social me‐ dia, returns on investment and the capabili es needed for the eﬀec ve use of social media.
Book now at www.mtmconsul ng.co.uk
Jill Berry Speaker and Conference Chair ill’s teaching career spanned 30 years, during the course of which she was a teacher of English, second in and then Head of Department, Head of Sixth Form, Deputy Head and Head. The six schools in which she worked included maintained and independent schools; girls’, boys’ and co‐educa onal; compre‐ hensive and selec ve schools, and 11‐18, 7‐18 and 4‐18 schools. Since finishing as a Head, a er 10 years, in 2010, Jill has worked for the HTI/Na onal College for Teaching and Lead‐ ership and has carried out a range of educa onal consultancy work, working with governing bodies on headship appoint‐ ments, heads’ and senior leader appraisals/professional re‐ views, heads’ coaching and staﬀ training.
EGE SCHOOL • METHODIST INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS TRUST • RUGBY SCHOOL • ST HELEN'S NORTHWOOD • mtmconsulting ltd, Portland House, 43 High Street, Southwold, IP18 6AB TEL: 01502 722787 www.mtmconsulting.co.uk
mtm SCHOOL MATTERS
The Autumn School Strategy Conference Independent Educa on...but not as we know it A day conference for independent school decision‐makers: heads, governors, bursars and marketers.
The Royal Overseas League Park Place, St James's Street, London SW1A 1LR
Speakers and sessions will include: Jus n Urquhart‐Stewart Head of Corporate Development, 7IM
The UK and global economies & how they will im‐ pact on independent schools Richard Palmer & Peter Bodkin Chairman & Secretary, The Society of Heads
What do our pupils want from their independent schools? Mark Mackenzie Crooks Business Director, St Helen’s Northwood
Reposi oning a top girls’ school in the market Charles Robinson Director, Interna onal Schools Part‐ nership
Why is the UK independent sector so a rac ve to private investors?
Breakout sessions: Sam Macdonald & Anthony Misqui a Mergers, Franchises & Groups Two separate sessions on: (a) Branding: exploi ng a school’s name, trade mark protec on, and intellectual property is‐ sues , and (b) Compliance issues for schools when they are embarking on major structural ini a ves, such as mergers, overseas franchises or the establishment of groups of schools.
Chris Rimmer Separate sessions on: What are the benefits of using social media in your marke ng strategy? Crea ng a future‐proof IT strategy for your school.
Jill Berry Associate Consultant, mtmconsul ng
How do you select the right head to lead your school in the future?
Early bird booking discount of £185(inc VAT) per delegate ends 31st May 2014. To secure your place please email your details to cblizard@mtmconsul ng.co.uk, call +44(0)1502 722787 or visit our website at www.mtmconsul ng.co.uk mtmconsulting ltd, Portland House, 43 High Street, Southwold, IP18 6AB TEL: 01502 722787 www.mtmconsulting.co.uk