Testimonials

It's easy for us to tell you that we can do a good job. It's always harder to actually do it - so we've decided to let the people and schools we work with tell you themselves in their own words.


Michael Shaw - Bursar, Coventry School Foundation (Bablake & King Henry VIII schools)

Baines Cutler have provided benchmarking and research information to the Coventry School Foundation over a number of years which has proved invaluable. Their National Independent Schools' Benchmarking Survey provided the context on which the Foundations’ strategic plan is based, the Teachers pay survey has supported the annual pay negotiations and the Fee Affordability Survey has allowed the Foundation to better match the needs of the parents, cognisant of the financial support through Bursary awards and a more refined fee structure. Of particular note was the work carried out by Rhiannon Cutler who, following a detailed analysis of the Foundation, its schools and the alumni, provided a comprehensive report and project plan to enable the Foundation schools to establish and implement a strategy to establish a Development Office and commence both friend raising and Fund raising activity. Baines Cutler provide an exceptional service, and are essential aspect in supporting the Heads, Bursars and Governors of any Independent school.

Tim Hands - Master and Chairman of HMC 2013-14

I have known Tim Baines for over a decade. On moving from one Headship to another, I was keen that he should remain the preferred auditor, and for a simple reason: he is the best in the field. This is not only because of his skills as an accountant, but also because of the unparalleled knowledge he has built up of the sector, and in particular his benchmarking surveys, which have provided him with information and techniques which have made him an indispensable source of wisdom and advice. Tim’s surveys of schools have been pioneers and leaders in the field, and they remain exceptionally useful for examining the workings of one's own school. It is excellent that he is now going to be more widely available and that these surveys look set to grow

Matthew Burgess- General Secretary ISC (to 2014)

Tim's work over many years on the Independent Schools' Benchmarking Survey has been highly valued by Heads across the sector. The survey is essential reading as it provides the authoritative analysis of the changing financial landscape of the independent schools sector. Tim's extensive knowledge of the sector allows him to interpret the data skilfully, bringing the figures to life and explaining the key messages to take away

John Timpson - Chairman of the Finance Committee

It was refreshing to discover that Tim Baines is an accountant who has his feet firmly placed in the real world. A wide understanding of how private education works has made Tim an excellent sounding board. He has a nose for knowing what works and what can go wrong. His reports provide an authoritative road map for anyone faced with the business end of education, but Tim goes further than the facts and figures. Faced with a tricky problem Tim is the perfect person to phone for advice

David Medlock- Governor and Pro-Chancellor, Bath University

Thank you very much Rhiannon for the excellent presentation, that was the best 30 minute summary of fundraising/development I have heard. I would be extremely grateful if you could send me an electronic copy for my co-board members and if you ever do a video/DVD presentation put me down for a dozen copies

Mark Taylor - Bursar & Chairman of the ISBA

I wanted to drop you a line to wish you and your new company all the best for the future. I am delighted that you will be continuing to provide the benchmarking and consultancy that has provided so many of us with such useful and really crucial information about our sector and our own performance. I very much look forward to keeping in close contact with you as well as supporting the excellent work that you started so well while at CCW

Andrew Ashton- Bursar

The benchmarking surveys produced by Tim Baines and his team provide invaluable objective insight to the sector, and should be an important part of the management information requirements for all bursars, senior management teams, and governors. It is also particularly impressive that bespoke benchmarks can be created, for peer groups of schools, and the additional consultancy that Tim offers is both tailored, and credible. Tim is an important business partner for us, and I'd be very happy to recommend him

Elisabeth Anderson - Foundation Director and Vice-Chair IDPE

Fundraising in UK independent schools is increasing significantly each year and the development sector is now a well-established industry. With emerging markets, it is vital to build a robust structure with the elements for success firmly in place from the beginning and the 2012 National Fundraising and Development Survey in UK Schools was a critical first step in establishing key industry wide benchmarking. I am delighted that Tim and Rhiannon are continuing this vital work of benchmarking school development offices and look forward to working closely with them in the future

Andrew Golding - Finance Director

I have known Tim for many years and Wycliffe College has regularly participated in both the Independent Schools Benchmarking Survey and more recently the excellent teacher salary and benefits survey which have been conducted through his leadership. The management information these have provided, together with the customised benchmarking we have commissioned have been an essential tool in monitoring the financial performance of the College and in providing guidance to the Leadership Team and Trustees when developing key elements of our Business Plan

Anne Bolton- Bursar

Tim Baines has a wealth of experience in Independent Schools benchmarking. He understands market trends, business needs, and is able to analyse data clearly and concisely. In addition, he is extremely helpful on a one-to-one basis, and happy to tease through any issues that might be particularly pertinent to Cheadle Hulme

Bruce Fraser- Bursar

Tim Baines has been an information and intelligence mainstay of the independent schools sector for some considerable time. Notwithstanding the mainstream demands of his audit partner engagements, he has every year demonstrated his comprehensive understanding of the issues and forces relating to the independent sector---not only through the highly regarded annual sector-wide survey, but through his work with individual schools in custom benchmarking and overall sound advice

Chris Almond - Finance Director

Tim has always shown his credentials as a leader in the charities field through his surveys and his cutting edge thinking in response to issues facing our school. We have always appreciated a clear opinion on complex issues.

Danny Cooper - Bursar

I have known Tim Baines since 1994, when I was appointed Bursar of Eltham College. Tim is one of those rare individuals who can claim to have positively influenced our sector. In 1996 he introduced the Independent Schools’ Benchmarking Survey, which over the years has been a most useful tool to Bursars and Governors in understanding their own financial performance compared to the wider sector, and providing justification for certain actions because the concept of a benchmark in the sector was created. More recently Tim has expanded his expertise into a Teachers’ Salary and Benefit Survey and a Development and Fundraising Survey. I understand Tim to be setting up his own schools advisory and consultancy business. I wish him well with this, and I have no hesitation in commending him to anyone in our sector

David Taylor- Bursar

Our School has used Tim Baines’ financial benchmarking and customised comparison of our data with benchmark to benefit the School. Tim has run workshops for governors and management which have enabled the School to understand best practice, take opportunities and make savings. Independent schools face considerable challenges in today’s environment and Tim Baines’ extensive knowledge of the Sector has contributed directly to the success of our School.

David Russell - Chief Executive and Peter Milburn - Finance Director

Tim’s insight into benchmarking data, and the interpretation of the results of surveys and their implications for business operations, is highly valuable and extremely refreshing. His pragmatic approach is underpinned by a wealth of accounting experience dealing with the audits of numerous independent schools and he brings this experience to bear in identifying issues and potential solutions. His work has been enormously valuable to the Trust

David Thompson - Bursar

The benchmarking work that Tim has produced for Independent Schools has been a vital management tool which has helped to inform the debate not only within the school but importantly with the Governing body. This broader perspective gives a context against which better decisions can be made. Benchmarking is only useful if you can find the right bench…Tim has certainly managed to help me do that

David Williams - Bursar

Charterhouse has worked with Tim Baines over a number of years initially starting with the benchmark surveys. Along with a number of other schools, we were instrumental in supporting the first detailed salary survey, whose output considerably exceeded all expectations. What came out of it was an extremely in-depth knowledge of the independent school sector, as well as some really useful salary comparisons. More recently the school has employed Tim to look at its financial structure and has found Tim incredibly detailed and understanding of its finances. He is not afraid to say it as it is! Real value add is subsequently achieved due to Tim’s overall knowledge of the sector.

David Young - Development Director

Tim Baines and Rhiannon Cutler’s work on the inaugural IDPE Benchmarking Survey in 2012 has allowed development professionals, their Heads and governors, to be able to assess for the first time with absolute confidence the relative effectiveness of their fundraising efforts and the changes needed to improve performance. The design and execution of the exercise and comprehensive analysis of its results and implications was excellently undertaken by these consummate professionals

Diana Robinson - Bursar

Tim has extensive experience of the independent school sector and I take great confidence from knowing that his advice is based upon rock solid understanding of how schools really work. He has the knack of presenting a large amount of financial data in a very digestible and focussed way from which even the most innumerate governors (and Heads!) can gain valuable guidance for their school’s development.

Don Kent- Bursar

Tim Baines’ comprehensive and insightful benchmarking surveys are an important source of invaluable information to The Portsmouth Grammar School and have been over many years. As the Bursar I look forward to seeing in detail how the independent sector is performing and I know the school Governors especially value Tim’s approach to this complex area and his helpful and informative accompanying commentary

Ed Halse - Head Master

Tim Baines is an expert financial analyst in the educational field, particularly in advising independent schools. For many years as a Head Master I have found Tim's analysis of data, surveys and advice to be of enormous value - especially just before governors' meetings - salary and cost comparisons and benchmarks have been particularly hugely useful. I recommend his services to any Head or bursar unreservedly

Eddie Tolcher - Foundation Bursar

Tim understands the independent sector and what makes it tick. Princethorpe has used the annual benchmarking report as part of our detailed financial planning so it was automatic to turn to Tim for support when under-going a merger of junior schools a few years’ ago. Here his ability to identify the fundamentals and his quick response time were a key part in helping making a success of the merger

Gary Lydiatt- Bursar

I have greatly appreciated Tim’s observations and advice during his time as Rugby’s audit partner, and due to his extensive knowledge and experience of the independent schools sector the various benchmarking surveys he conducts are invaluable sources of information for bursars, school management and governors

Graham Partington- Bursar

Tim is well known to North London Collegiate School; he has been assimilating and providing independent schools statistical data which has been invaluable to the school, ensuring good strategic and operational judgements are made on the back of information which is accurate and detailed

Greg Cole - Bursar

Tim’s benchmarking surveys have been a key source of information to me since becoming a bursar. The data are important but his analysis of what they might mean for the future is where the real value lies and this is down to Tim’s clear and easily understood style. His insight into the independent school financial landscape means that attending his sessions at seminars and conferences is a high priority and thankfully he also has the great skill of bringing some humour to money matters. I shall certainly be taking advantage of Tim’s salary and fundraising surveys in future.

Helen Fraser - Chief Executive

The Girls' Day School Trust (GDST) has contributed data to Tim Baines's benchmarking surveys for many years and has derived significant benefits from the outputs. The surveys provide valuable strategic insights into the market for independent education

Ian Mullins - Director of Education

I have known Tim through his work at various auditors/accountancy companies for a significant period of time. I find the surveys and recommendations on trends extremely useful regarding the planning and operating of 3 independent schools. Tim is very approachable and is willing to spend his time explaining, in greater detail, particular findings and issues which have arisen from the data collected. I highly recommend him as someone who can add real value to an organisation, allowing them to be ahead of their competitors, due to his experience and background

James Lockwood - Headmaster

I have worked closely with Tim and Rhiannon on a number of projects. From school fundraising and development to teacher surveys and financial benchmarking, Tim and Rhiannon have given me a clear understanding of the huge financial and organisational challenges which independent schools now face and have supported me in formulating a robust and credible business plan for my school. Their experience in this sector is second to none and I would have no hesitation in recommending their services to heads or governing bodies who are really serious about moving their school forward

Jeff Hynam- Bursar

The Independent Schools Sector has been very well served by the annual benchmarking exercise initiated and managed by Tim Baines. The opportunity for schools in various categories of size and type to then be able to access a more detailed analysis which compares them with their peer group has been invaluable. The launch of the first salary survey three years ago has added enormously to schools’ ability to benchmark themselves against their peer group on a specific but fundamentally important element of their operation. This is due to be followed up with a second survey in a year’s time. The more recent survey on fund-raising was equally well received. Tim and his team have created an enormously useful set of statistics through careful questioning and detailed analysis which provides quality information for those of us tasked with running schools

Jeff Speke - Finance Director

Schools can be quite inward looking with all the activities that have to happen. However to ensure the long term sustainability of any school it is vital to look beyond the school gates and compare how your school is doing relative to other similar schools. The surveys that Tim has led on financial benchmarking, development and teachers’ salaries provide vital information to inform a school’s thinking on how they compare with other schools. I strongly recommend participations in Tim’s surveys

Jonathan Wheeler - Bursar

I became aware of Tim Baines through his work with the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association and thus we engaged his services when we were considering strategic options for the school going forward. Tim provided first class support and advice, which appropriately shaped the Governors’ thinking. He was a real pleasure to work with and I have no hesitation in commending him to you.

John Champion- Bursar

At Cheltenham we've known and appreciated Tim's work for quite some years now. Most recently he provided invaluable support and a real depth of knowledge as we wrestled with the potentially controversial work of reviewing and modernising teachers' pay. His input was undoubtedly a material factor in achieving an outcome that we can all be comfortable with

Julian Ridley- Bursar

First used the ‘bespoke’ services of Tim in 1998 – the information and analysis provided was clear and powerful in helping governors and management both better understand our own structures and also our competitive standing. I have always admired the way Tim really listens and constantly adapts and hones his data collection and reports to add value year on year. We have used, and will continue to use, both the general reports and the more specific bespoke reports to help both governance and management

Kate Chernyshov - Development Director

The 2012 National Fundraising and Development Survey in UK Schools was a breakthrough piece of work for the UK school development sector. Tim Baines and Rhiannon Cutler were instrumental in designing, completing and delivering the entire survey which was commissioned by IDPE. As a result of their work, the schools sector has a much better understanding of the widespread impact of school Development offices and the credibility of the survey has been enhanced by their willingness and ability to provide analysis of the data to a wider audience of Heads, Bursars and Governors. The survey has allowed both Tim and Rhiannon to build up an immensely valuable store of data and an in-depth understanding of the work of Development practitioners which has been garnered from hundreds of face-to-face interviews. The information that they have garnered within and beyond the remit of the survey will be of great value to a large number of schools establishing and running development offices

Laurence Perry - Bursar

Tim has an unrivalled knowledge and insight into the world of independent school finance. His benchmarking surveys are an excellent source of information and in turn enable bursars to improve their understanding of the financial environment and make better decisions for the benefit of their schools

Margaret McKenna - Bursar

I have been the bursar of large independent schools for the last eleven years, during which time I have found the benchmarking information provided by Tim and his team invaluable in supporting strategic decision making. The surveys help us to monitor our financial performance against similar schools and to understand our efficiency in running the School, managing our investments and developing commercial initiatives. The recent introduction of a teaching salary survey has provided an essential context for the examination of payroll costs. Tim is always helpful and supportive in providing customised benchmarking information and I would recommend this service to all governors and bursars who are interested in understanding how their school’s financial performance relates to others in the sector and in developing effective improvement plans

Martin Collier - Headmaster

Tim Baines worked closely with St John’s School in reviewing our teacher pay structures. Tim was most supportive, making sensible suggestions and bringing a wealth of experience, ideas and data to support his advice. Tim was also very professional and responded to the deadlines the School set. I have no hesitation in recommending his expertise

Maylin Ware - Bursar

Over several years, Tim Baines has shared his excellent knowledge of the sector with Shrewsbury School’s Governing Body, and with my bursary team. This expertise, combined with some intelligent benchmarking information, and some specific consultancy has made an important contribution to planning and strategic discussions at the school

Nick Holliday - Bursar

The economic environment in recent years has compounded the pressures on independent schools which must deliver an excellent all round education at a realistic cost. Value for money is an essential consideration for governing bodies and senior management teams when many parents are making major sacrifices to educate their children privately. The National Independent Schools’ Benchmarking Survey which is masterminded by Tim Baines provides a detailed analysis of the trends in independent education. It examines pupil numbers, fee levels, pupil/teacher ratios, additional sources of income, fundraising and many other key issues as well as providing valuable interpretation and commentary. This Survey is an essential aide in determining the financial framework for your School

Paddy Jackman - Bursar

Tim Baines has a justified reputation as being an authority on all financial aspects of independent school management. He has driven the CCW financial annual survey which has now become the reference book for Governors, Heads and Bursars in terms of benchmarking their school's performance. Tim's knowledge of trends in changes to staff pay structures across the sector has proved extremely useful as our College moves away from a traditional lengthy scale. His vast experience in the sector means that Tim can add value in an array of school projects.

Peter Bryan - Bursar

Your surveys are the definitive benchmark

Patrick Roberts- Bursar

I have been Bursar at Cranleigh School for ten years and have known Tim Baines for much of this time. He has been responsible for the Crowe Clark Whitehill independent schools benchmarking survey for many years and his leadership has been instrumental in making this survey the most informative and widely read in the sector. His recent work in benchmarking staff salaries is, to me, his most impressive. He produced a survey for schools that added value and wise judgement in order to take the many variables in remuneration and produce effective benchmark data. This survey is the most effective of its type that I have used. I recommend Tim Baines highly to anyone considering an analysis of financial provision, in its widest sense, within schools

Peter Marshall- Bursar

Sedbergh has benefited from the many surveys and sector analysis that Tim has produced over recent years. We have found the customised benchmark report to be particularly useful in analysing our own financial performance and setting new goals for the future in very uncertain times. Our most recent five-year plan was largely informed by the work undertaken by Tim and we are immensely grateful to him for that. We have also benefited from bespoke research undertaken specifically for Sedbergh. His incisive analysis and deep understanding of the financial and non financial aspects of independent schools is of considerable value to all governing bodies. We look forward to working very closely with Tim in the future

Richard Owen - Development Director

Over the past four years I have worked closely with Tim Baines and Rhiannon Cutler over the production of a Fundraising and Development Survey that they have produced. The resultant survey has been a very useful and important benchmarking tool for all Schools. I have found Tim and Rhiannon to be extremely knowledgeable and professional , willing to share their expertise as well as being receptive to new ideas and opinions. I can wholeheartedly recommend them

Shaun Wilson - Bursar

The 2010 benchmark review of teachers salary produced by Tim Baines provided the Senior Management Team and Governors with an invaluable insight into where our salaries were placed for particular categories of teacher when compared to other schools in the region. It complemented the AGBIS Remuneration Survey and helped inform the school’s approach to remuneration of teaching staff. I would recommend participating in a future survey

Steffan Griffiths - Head Master

Tim Baines’ considerable experience of audit in the independent education sector has given him much insight into the key financial drivers for different types of school. It is obviously for individual heads and governing bodies to make decisions on financial strategy for their particular circumstances, but Tim's expertise provides relevant benchmarking data and sector trends, including the placement of each school within its market, to ensure that the right issues are being analysed in the consideration of such decisions