About these sessions

These webinars – and the masterclass sessions which preceded them – allow our enormous data set and practical experience of schools’ strategic issues to be brought to bear on the various issues being faced by Britain’s independent schools.

The webinars are delivered personally by Mungo Dunnett, sometimes in collaboration with an industry expert.

Each session is limited to 25 participants. The webinars are structured as lectures, although delegates are invited to ask questions via the Chat function, and Mungo is happy to stay online after the 60 minute webinar to address these – or to have a telephone call separately to expand on any issue in privacy.

As these webinars invariably sell out, there is a maximum of two delegates per school, and it is important to book early. Since these webinars began in November 2020 they have been attended by over 1,200 delegates.


2022-2023 agenda






  • The Macro: the frog in hot water. Threats and opportunities; inflation, running costs, TPS, tax changes
  • The Market: why parents choose independent schools and what pressures they face. The critical consideration – your actual parent types: the main parent types in the independent school sector, and what they expect from your schools
  • All change: patterns of change in the sector, and what these mean for good governance
  • Doing the unthinkable: changing the model; charity mergers; transfer/sale to a group; joint ventures; success criteria; what typically happens
  • Good governance: the characteristics of proactive, effective governance; organising for success; team working, skills and experience to set direction; evidence, internal audit, assurance, and an appropriate plan-do-review cycle; providing support for, monitoring progress by, and holding to account, school leaders
  • Local issues: the role of good governance in handling local issues within a school; addressing risk in an uncertain world; leading change; grasping the nettle; managing difficult relationships
  • Rising to the challenge: the characteristics of those schools where good governance contributes to sustainable success
  • You are not alone: learning from others; where to go for advice and help


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


Tuesday 27 June 2023, 6.00-7.00pm

Wednesday 28 June 2023, 2.00-3.00pm






  • Why parents choose girls’ schools: strengths and perceptions working in girls’ schools’ favour
  • Why parents choose co-education: perceptions, misperceptions and realities; what ACTUALLY are the differences between girls’ schools and co-eds?
  • Dealing with prevalent weaknesses: the tendency of girls’ schools to attract (and foster) unhelpful behaviour
  • The critical consideration – your actual parent types: the main parent types in the independent school sector, and where they appear (or don’t appear) in different girls’ schools
  • Patterns of consolidation: acceleration in tendency for girls’ schools to attract particular parent types; and how the girls’ school market separates into these school types
  • Creating young women ready for success: the characteristics of success and failure for female 20-somethings in the workplace, and girls’ schools’ role in addressing these
  • Doing the unthinkable – going co-ed: what typically happens; success criteria
  • Rising to the challenge: the characteristics of those girls’ schools best combatting the co-ed challenge


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


Friday 19 May 2023, 2.00-3.00pm

Tuesday 23 May 2023, 2.00-3.00pm

Wednesday 24 May 2023, 6.00-7.00pm






  • 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 was delivered on nine separate occasions:


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 four separate occasions:


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 three separate occasions:


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 three separate occasions:


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 three separate occasions:


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 on three separate occasions:


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 on the following dates:


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 on the following dates:



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 on the following dates:


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 on the following dates:



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