MTM Research Publications

MTM Research Publications2018-10-18T10:53:32+00:00

Independent Education Sector Report 2016 : Identifying threats and maximising opportunity

This report is not only essential reading for Heads, Chief Executives and Governors who need to have an objective review of the sector to inform their strategy, but also for the increasing number of individuals and organisations who are seeking to enter the market or build on their existing portfolio.

Independent fee-charging school rolls may have increased in recent years, but this is no time to be complacent. Fee rises are way above inflation and affordability remains the single most dangerous threat to the sector.

The latest MTM research has revealed a 10% decline since 2012 in the number of current independent school parents who are completely confident that they can continue to pay school fees. More working parents than ever are taking on extra hours or releasing equity from their homes to meet the rising costs – both strategies are vulnerable to an economic downturn and interest rate rises, with creeping concerns over the long-term care of relatives and saving for retirement as additional threats to their future ability to pay.

The world of education has gone through unprecedented change in the last few years and there is already a blurring of the line between state and private schooling, with more top-performing Academies and Free Schools asking for parent contributions towards basic equipment resulting in a spectrum of options for parents, including ‘low cost’ independent schools paving the way for a new cohort of privately educated children. Never has it been more important to understand the market and to prepare for the challenges ahead.

The MTM Independent Education Sector Report 2016 analyses pupil trends based on demographic projections, the current financial climate and in the context of an increasingly competitive state sector. We use unique primary data taken from our 2016 Missing Million and Fees Surveys (of affluent state sector and current independent sector parents) to understand what motivates current users and deters potential buyers. Academic excellence remains the core focus of attention in an ever competitive world measured in A*s, but it is the ability to offer a more flexible and personalised approach, a tailored educational path where individuals are given the space and time to grow in confidence, that provides a beacon for prospective parents. This report offers insight in to how schools can build on their strengths and break down potential barriers to optimise accessibility, makes predictions about the future, both in the short and longer term, and offers suggestions as to how schools can maintain their competitive edge.

Areas covered include:

Sector overview – pupil trends, income and expenditure, structural trends, impact of Government legislation, analysis by segment. Trends in demand for the next ten years – analysis of who buys by family type and income, demand by age and identification of the services that are subject to most significant change.

Insights in to the attitudes of affluent non-buyers and current buyers – based on our current primary research of these parents and where the greatest threats and opportunities lie.

Variations within the sector – including Nursery, Junior, Senior boarding and single-sex.

The impact of changes in the state system – rising standards in some areas of state provision, competition from academies, free schools and grammars.       Opportunities for the independent sector in partnership with new providers.

Barriers and opportunities for sector growth – the key barriers for parents not entering the independent sector and what schools can do about them. Where      are the opportunities for growth?

This report is available for £145 (inc. p&p). To order your copy please contact or pay by PayPal.

The Missing Million 2016

MTM’s ‘Missing Million’ report of 2008 postulated that there were around a million households in the UK who could afford independent education, but who were choosing not to. Is this still the case today?

Eight years on, we have reprised this research and our new figures suggest that this has increased to one and a half million affluent non-buying households.

Increasing the size of the home day market and increasing penetration in traditional markets are perennial challenges to the independent education sector and finding ways of tapping into this pool of potential parents is crucial. Some parents may have political or philosophical objections to an independent education. Many will be perfectly happy with the doubtless very good state schools serving their middle-class communities. But is it really true that the current size of the independent sector – give or take the odd few thousand – represents the sector’s maximum penetration of the available market?

This pioneering MTM report suggests that that is far from true. Aimed at forward-thinking heads, marketeers and anyone with an interest in growing the fee-charging independent sector, we turn a spotlight on the attitudes of non-buyers and practical strategies to grow the size of the market for everyone involved.

This report is available for £29 (inc. p&p). To order your copy please contact or pay by PayPal.

The MTM School Fees Survey 2016

Almost ten years on from our original and ground-breaking research in to current buyers of independent education, MTM have once again surveyed parents to assess their attitudes, specifically towards school fees, how they pay them and their confidence in the future.

It builds on and examines the trends in the results of our previous surveys undertaken in 2007, 2010 and 2012 and many of the new survey’s findings reveal interesting developments, particularly in parents’ confidence in their ability to continue affording fees, the sacrifices they are prepared to make and the threats they feel.

Of particular interest to heads, bursars and anyone involved in financial planning in the fee-charging independent schools or indeed, those considering investment in the sector.

This report is available for £29 (inc. p&p). To order your copy please contact or pay by PayPal.

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