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 £450 each (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.


2019-2020 agenda


  • Trends and pressures: the impact of affordability and Brexit on buying behaviour; and the continuing trend towards co-ed
  • Why parents choose girls’ schools: strengths and perceptions working in girls’ schools’ favour
  • Why parents choose co-education: perceptions, misperceptions and realities
  • Areas for focus: staff, energy, inclusivity and communication
  • Dealing with prevalent weaknesses: the tendency of girls’ schools inadvertently to attract (and foster) unhelpful behaviour, and how to address this
  • Building greater relevance and persuasiveness: creating an outward-looking positioning
  • Understanding the new and cosmopolitan buyer: the challenge of marketing girls’ schools to marketing-savvy parents
  • Creating young women ready for success: the characteristics of success and failure for 20-somethings in the workplace – and girls’ schools’ role in addressing these

This evening seminar will be delivered on the following date:

London, Tuesday 17 September 2019 Agenda


2018-2019 agenda


  • The Educational Consumer: how the parent body has changed; why parental motivations have changed; what parents look for, and why
  • The emerging impact of Brexit: the differing impact upon different school models and locations
  • Pressure on the single sex market: continuing shifts towards co-ed, and single sex schools’ room for manoeuvre
  • Pressure on the boarding model: accommodating the shift towards flexibility, and how the boarding market is shifting towards ‘alpha’ boarding schools
  • The threat of the ‘quasi-private’ sector: trading down from boarding to day, and day to state, and where schools’ greatest risks lie
  • Addressing Year 11 attrition: key drivers, and how it affects different school types
  • The commercial importance of communication: centrality of communications in determining parental satisfaction and school buying/ retention decisions
  • Dealing with Middle Rankers: why it is of such importance to the ‘silent majority’
  • Preparing students for the stress of university: patterns of failure, and how to mitigate these
  • Dealing with working parents: the increasing disappearance of the stay-at-home mother; and accommodating the particular logistical needs of time-poor parents
  • How marketing for independent schools actually works: mistaken practices, and understanding new parents’ information-gathering practices

This one-day masterclass was delivered on the following dates:
Monday 19 & Friday 23 November 2018


  • External pressures: fee affordability, rise in TPS contributions
  • The impact on the parent body: how the parent body has changed, why parental motivations have changed; the effect of affordability issues on schools’ sociological profile and parents’ changing expectations
  • The emerging impact of Brexit: the differing impact upon different school models and locations
  • The threat of the ‘quasi-private’ sector: trading down from boarding to day, and day to state, and where schools’ greatest risks lie
  • Likely future threats: Labour government, imposition of VAT on fees
  • Responding to the threats: areas to look at first, and where to start in getting ready
  • Mitigating future threats: creating (or defending) local ‘alpha’ school status

This one-day masterclass was delivered on the following dates:
Monday 21 & Friday 25 January 2019


  • The current status of sector work to address the TPS issue with less than 6 months remaining: consultation periods, financial modelling and working groups
  • The sector’s response: appeals to government, consultation processes, shedding staff, search for financial alternatives – and acquiescence
  • The effect of adding TPS costs to fees: remaining price elasticity; the primacy of a school’s local competitive situation; school types most at risk
  • Room for manoeuvre: potential for an alternative sector-specific Defined Contribution pension scheme
  • The real lessons: the sector’s inability to mobilise effective collaborative action; schools’ unwillingness to explore serious alternatives
  • What is likely next: further TPS increases; loss of business rates relief; VAT on fees
  • The need for closer financial governance: risk registers; collaborative working; proactivity as financial defence

This evening seminar was delivered on the following dates:

Monday 4, Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 March 2019 



    • How the model has gone wrong: the dependency on league tables and exam results, and how it is perpetuated by new and anxious parent behaviours
    • The new job market: fluidity, models of employment and self-employment, and the skills and attitudes necessary for success in the twentieth century 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 type of behaviours exhibited by young adults in the workplace, and the ways in which they have not been adequately prepared
    • What employers say: how their dissatisfaction with new recruits is altering their recruitment criteria
    • The traits and practices employers want: specific examples of behaviours suited to the new job market; what employers call ‘business intelligence’


      This one-day masterclass was delivered on the following dates:

      Wednesday 8, Thursday 9, Monday 13 May & Tuesday 11 June 2019 

  • How parents actually buy private education: how the market has changed; the impact of affordability and Brexit 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, and gathering the information to allow for a focused marketing strategy
  • Wasting money: the activities that schools and their marketing suppliers utilise, and why many activities that work in other sectors will not work in schools
  • Social media: how it actually works, and which elements schools should be using (and not)
  • Advertising and its connotations: a critique of weak visuals, positioning statements, and their impact on parental perceptions of the school
  • The role of the child: the extent to which pupils influence the buying decision, and how to adjust marketing accordingly
  • The involvement of staff: how to engage the Common Room, and the role of staff in marketing
  • Understanding the London buyer: the challenge of marketing to marketing-savvy parents

This one-day masterclass was delivered on the following dates:

Tuesday 4, Monday 10 and Monday 17 June 2019