Fee Affordability and Parental Time Survey

Fee Affordability and Parental Time Survey

The Fee Affordability and Parental Time Survey is the most authoritative source of information on a school's parental body in the independent school’s sector available today. This survey asks parents to provide confidential and anonymous information on their family circumstances, household earnings, work status and time commitments in order to help senior management and governors better understand their parents as customers and in particular find out how they pay their school fees and the financial and other pressures they face.

Fee affordability has been the elephant in the room for the last twenty years. However, it is no longer one that the sector can ignore, as the pressure many parents are under to keep up with fee increases now threatens both pupil numbers and the social mix which is at the heart of independent school life. However, the extent to which this is a genuine problem for any individual school is largely unknown, as very few schools know much, if anything, about their customers.

Launched in February 2016 by Rhiannon Cutler and Tim Baines in response to the growing pressures of fee increases and the subsequent burden felt by parents. This fully anonymous and confidential survey asks parents all the important questions a school may need the answers to with regard to how fees are paid and how challenged parents feel in paying them. It also gathers contextual information to give real meaning to your results, so that schools can potentially offer parents additional support or provision at the specific times they are most in need of it, or be used strategically to set your school’s fee pricing, bursary and sibling discount policies in the light of the real circumstances of your own parental body, rather than just “following the market” as many schools end up doing.

Baines Cutler analyses the data for you and produces a detailed report, providing you with your school’s parental earnings profile, details of how earnings changes in different year groups or parts of the school, who is actually paying your fees (i.e. parents, grandparents, employers), details of your parents’ working lives, childcare commitments and much more. For boarding schools, we also analyse all the above by type of fee and provide separate data for day parents and the different types of boarding parents i.e. weekly and flexi boarding, full boarding, international parents etc. More information and an example report is available to download in our Publications section.