About these sessions

Mungo Dunnett Associates have for some years run Masterclass sessions for senior executives in the banking sector.  After extensive discussion with Head Teachers and Governors, we have adopted the same format for the Independent Schools sector.  This allows us to bring our consulting experience from the international banking and business sectors to bear, as relevant, on the issues being faced by Britain’s independent schools and the issues on which we work with schools.

The sessions are deliberately limited to a maximum of 24 participants, to allow this depth of round-table discussion.  Delegate spaces are charged at £499 for full-day sessions and £240 for evening sessions (inc VAT).  As the masterclasses usually sell out quickly, delegates are asked to book at their early convenience.

Each one-day session covers a topic chosen in advance as being one of particular current relevance to Schools. This will be a specific topic, rather than a vague and generalised issue.  The day comprises extensive, practical discussion on the topic, featuring extensive case studies (anonymous where necessary), answering delegates’ questions comprehensively, encouraging debate around the table and providing delegates with clear, implementable ideas to take back to School. The sessions are effectively in lecture format: we do not use break-out sessions or ask delegates to get into groups.

Since these Masterclasses began in 2011-12 they have been attended by Heads and Governors from over 250 schools.

A location map and directions for each of the masterclasses can be found in the Agenda pdf document. The sessions generally run from 10.30am until 3.30pm, depending on the level of discussion.


COVID period: Webinars


For as long as it remains impracticable to run face-to-face sessions, Mungo will be running a series of one-hour webinars, as below. Each is limited to a maximum of 25 delegates.



2022-2023 agenda





  • How parents are responding to recessionary pressures: patterns of stability and instability evidenced in pipeline behaviour since September
  • The immediate cost challenges: post-Brexit inflation, Business Rates Relief, energy costs – the actual numbers, and the scale of the challenge
  • Deconstructing the Labour threat: the scale of the challenge; threats vs realistic likelihood; actual exposure to parents’ declining affordability
  • Commercial impact of the cost and income challenges: likely duration and sequential effect of recession on the sector; which schools and parent types are most affected; the weak vs the strong; the lucky vs the unlucky
  • Managing cost reductions: most fruitful avenues to explore; maintaining staff morale whilst reducing cost; ring-fencing vital quality determinants
  • Outlook on TPS: reasons why schools remain in; case studies of successful vs botched exits
  • Managing fee setting: lessons in elasticity; unexpected room for manoeuvre
  • Lessons in leadership: the importance of confidence when keeping stakeholders on board

This one-hour session will be delivered on the following dates and times:


Monday 30 January 2023, 2.00-3.00pm

Tuesday 31 January 2023, 2.00-3.00pm

Thursday 2 February 2023, 2.00-3.00pm

Thursday 9 February 2023, 2.00-3.00pm

Monday 27 February 2023, 2.00-3.00pm

Tuesday 28 February 2023, 6.00-7.00pm

Wednesday 1 March 2023, 6.00-7.00pm

Thursday 2 March 2023, 2.00-3.00pm

Monday 6 March 2023, 2.00-3.00pm






  • How parents are currently buying private education: how the market has changed; the impact of affordability and economic concerns on buying behaviour; the fragmentation of the cohesive parent body; the main parent types, and how they approach the process of selecting a school
  • The consideration set: identifying your school’s real battleground
  • Management Information: your most important tool – and its political importance within the school
  • The questions to ask, and the ‘full picture’ to assemble: building a marketing strategy that recognises the school’s weaknesses, its reputation and its place in the local market
  • Wasting money: the activities that schools and their marketing suppliers utilise, and why many activities that work in other sectors will not work with schools
  • Social media: how it actually works, and which elements should be using (or not)
  • The two critical roles of schools marketers: the expertise for which marketers should be (and should be expected to be) invaluable

This one-hour session was delivered on the following dates and times:


Tuesday 29 November 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Thursday 1 December 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Monday 5 December 2022, 6.00-7.00pm

Tuesday 6 December 2022, 2.00-3.00pm





  • How the model has gone wrong: the dependency on league tables and exam results, and how it is perpetuated by new and anxious parents behaviours, and in particular by ‘Mr & Mrs Get the Grades’
  • The new job market: fluidity, models of employment and self-employment, and the skills and attitudes necessary for success in the C21 workplace
  • Stress and conflicting agendas: what our education model is doing to teenagers, and the outcomes
  • The university mismatch: what HEIs are inclined (and instructed) to focus upon; and why it is left to schools, not universities, to prepare leavers for the workplace
  • Patterns of success and failure: the behavioural types most apparent amongst early-20s in the workplace, and the ways in which young adults have not been adequately prepared
  • What employers say: how dissatisfaction with new recruits is altering their recruitment criteria
  • The traits and practices employers want: examples of behaviours suited to the new job market; what employers call ‘business intelligence’
  • Commercial defence: how schools can utilise an ’employability’ approach to combat the narrowing access to Russell Group, and alleviate parental concern about independent schools’ value for money

This one-hour session was delivered on the following dates and times:


Monday 7 November 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Tuesday 8 November 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Wednesday 9 November 2022, 6.00-7.00pm





  • Why have a sports programme: cultural and developmental benefits; the rounded pupil; maintained sector weakness
  • The rising commercial importance of sport: alteration in type of parents choosing the sector and in their expectations
  • The structure: Saturday school; fitting sport into the overall curriculum; priority sports vs. ‘minor’ sports
  • Facilities: expectations vs. dangers of overspend; white elephants; how good do facilities need to be?
  • Staffing: Directors of Sport – should you have one? ; professional coaches brought in; coaching down the card
  • Competitive vs. non-competitive sport; misapprehensions and conflicting agendas
  • Accommodating changing gender priorities: mixed boy/girl sport; the impact of the Lionesses
  • Creating an environment for breadth: offering a range of opportunity without penalising quality
  • Scholarships: should you have them for sport?
  • Communications: how poor communication lets PE departments down
  • Sport and the Covid period: unsuccessful responses to Covid pressures on sports provision

This one-hour session was delivered on the following dates and times:


Monday 10 October 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Tuesday 11 October 2022, 6.00-7.00pm

Thursday 13 October 2022, 2.00-3.00pm



2021-2022 agenda





  • Operational impediments and emotional bonds: how Covid has eroded allegiance, habit and certainties
  • Impact on pupils: social disengagement, loss of role models, loss of fun, opting out, exploring alternative sense of self
  • Impact on parents: reduced understanding of the child’s experience, reduced sense of partnership
  • Impact on staff: anxiety, fatigue, refuge-seeking
  • Schools failing to grip the agenda: unsuccessful responses to Covid pressures, and their practical and commercial result
  • Best practice in maintaining the community: adaptation and confidence, engaging and reassuring pupils, parents and staff
  • Future implications: using community paradigms to knit pupils, engage parents and redefine schools’ societal role

This one-hour session was delivered on the following dates and times:


Wednesday 8 June 2022, 6.00-7.00pm

Thursday 9 June 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Monday 13 June 2022, 6.00-7.00pm





  • Head as brand value: how schools’ behaviour in crisis reflected their Heads’ personality
  • Successful and unsuccessful behaviour: positive and negative behavioural traits and management styles
  • Managing in times of conflict and uncertainty: lessons from other sectors and spheres
  • Maintaining the community: the Head’s role in motivating, reassuring and engaging staff, pupils and parents during the last two years
  • Future leadership: the future pressures upon Heads, and implications for Headship excellence from this point onwards

This one-hour session was delivered at the following dates and times:


Tuesday 10 May 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Wednesday 11 May 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Thursday 12 May 2022, 6.00-7.00pm





  • The power and longevity of cultural motivators: family history
  • ‘Get The Grades’ parents and their drivers: signals of excellence; recruitment and retention patterns amongst the academically orientated
  • Demographic change in UK independent sector: scale of ethnic change in recent years; types of schools chosen
  • The immigrant mentality: attitudes towards education; weak understanding of British cultural and employment norms, and their consequences
  • Fear and shame: motivators of parental behaviour towards schools, and their manifestations
  • Mitigation: overcoming communication issues
  • Adjusting parental strategies: the failure of ‘Get The Grades’ young adults in the workplace; altering parents’ acceptance of educational priorities

This one-hour session was delivered at the following dates and times:


Monday 21 March 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Tuesday 22 March 2022, 6.00-7.00pm






  • The pastoral impact of Covid: disharmony, anxiety, community fragmentation
  • Changing parent types, and the impact on pupils: first time buyers, posh neglect, weaker calibre pupils
  • School as expected exemplar: Everyone’s Invited, preparation for resilient and successful adulthood
  • Tutors: aptitude, matching, timetable remission
  • Counsellors: frequent mistakes
  • HSMs: cultural czar, breadth of skill set, EAL outliers
  • Schools with low institutional EQ: good intentions undermined by lack of nuance
  • Creating the listening school: vital importance of culture: trust vs hesitancy vs code of silence


This one-hour session was delivered at the following dates and times:


Tuesday 22 February 2022, 2.00-3.00pm

Wednesday 23 February 2022, 6.00-7.00pm

Thursday 3 March February 2022, 2.00-3.00pm





  • Reputational risk: the dangers of engaging with countries with different political priorities; staying on the right side of your current parents and the press
  • The situation in China: what has happened since the beginning of the pandemic; the outlook for schools already involved with Chinese projects
  • Alternative markets: countries that still offer opportunities for overseas campuses
  • An honest scorecard: have overseas ventures actually been lucrative? Determinants of success and failure thus far; how schools should best assess and mitigate risks
  • Negotiating the minefield of advisors and middle men: the different parties, their motivations and practices, and how best to protect yourself
  • Online learning: assessing the main commercial opportunity emerging from the pandemic
  • Strategic planning: how independent schools can incorporate an international venture within their post-pandemic strategic thinking

This one-hour session was delivered at the following dates and times:


Monday 29 November 2021, 2.00-3.00pm

Tuesday 30 November 2021, 2.00-3.00pm

Monday 6 December 2021, 6.00-7.00pm





  • The effect of affordability: the rise of the educational consumer, and fragmentation of the cohesive Prep parent body
  • Social fragmentation: the changing parental profile
  • The decline of the traditional boarding model
  • The Saturday problem: handling the inevitable polarised response
  • Pressure on the Pre-Prep to Year 8 model: parent and market drivers at both ends of the model; evaluating reasons to change
  • Pressure on the single sex model: where single sex is sustainable; where there are signs that going co-ed is inevitable; parent types attracted by single sex vs. co-ed
  • The impact of Covid: pupil roll effects
  • New intakes: out of London, out of State
  • Winners and losers: acceleration of localised decision making
  • Success stories: best practice in Preps fighting their corner


This one-hour session was delivered at the following dates and times:


Wednesday 6 October 2021, 2.00-3.00pm

Thursday 7 October 2021, 6.00-7.00pm





  • The signs that autonomy is no longer feasible: key metrics that spell trouble
  • Operational and model changes: exhausting the available options
  • Boosting the balance sheet: main options, and the risks attached
  • Will the economy help? Outlook for borrowing capacity and consumer confidence
  • Acceleration of Prep/Senior mergers: motivations for preps, motivations for Senior Schools
  • Caveat emptor, caveat venditor: Senior School behaviour; good intentions and bad intentions
  • Where mergers go wrong: case studies of poorly considered and implemented Prep mergers
  • Alternative routes for Preps: avoiding the tendency to throw in the towel
  • Alternative consolidation and adaptation: back-office shared services, informal Prep groupings


This one-hour session was delivered at the following dates and times:


Monday 11 October 2021, 2.00-3.00pm

Tuesday 12 October 2021, 6.00-7.00pm

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 6.00-7.00pm

Thursday 14 October 2021, 2.00-3.00pm



2020-2021 agenda





  • Defining the possible: making practical distinctions between societal influences and what can be managed within the school’s geographical and temporal boundaries
  • Roots of gender stereotyping: the role of certain parent types in perpetuating stereotyped behaviour; and how this varies substantially by school type
  • Other stakeholder influences: the impact (and management) of pupils, staff, governors and alumni
  • Common manifestations within schools: areas where poor behaviour typically gathers (particularly in sport); areas where the influence is more subtle but also pernicious (especially in Preps); the psychology of alienation
  • Defining partnerships: re-framing the relationship with parents; delivering more effective ‘parent education’; ascribing shared responsibility; establishing protocols for out-of-school behaviour
  • Building better ‘listening’ mechanisms: best practice in improving awareness of the pupil experience; the danger of driving malign behaviour underground

This webinar was delivered on five separate occasions:

Tuesday 8 June 2021, 6.00-7.15pm 

Wednesday 9 June 2021, 6.00-7.15pm 

Thursday 10 June 2021, 2.00-3.15pm

Tuesday 15 June 2021, 2.00-3.15pm

Tuesday 15 June 2021, 6.00-7.15pm