Publications and Bespoke Reports

Baines Cutler’s publications are regarded as the premier source of information for schools in the areas of school finances, teacher salaries and benefits and fundraising. Some of our reports are free and can be downloaded, others are bespoke to each school or organisation and have to be ordered. Details of our publications and examples of our bespoke reports are below.

VAT on School Fees

Below is link to a series of daily tweets we published in September 2019 to explain how VAT works and why a policy of introducing VAT on school fees would be so damaging to the UK’s schools and children. Please note that the full report on which these tweets are based can be found on the Independent Schools’ Council website and the link for that is contained herein.

Download The Baines Cutler VAT on Fees 10 Tweet Summary



Which Parents are really paying for Education?

On 24 November 2019 the Sunday Times published an article highlighting that the premium attached to buying a house in the catchment area of many of the UK’s top state schools was in many cases greater than the cost of paying for education at an independent school. The Headline was “The School is free – but it’s (sic the “cost premium”) £290,000 to live nearby”. As it happens, the Sunday Times also published on 24 November 2019 their annual “Parent Power” survey of the top 150 Independent and State schools. Sadly no one at the Sunday Times chose to make the connection between these two stories and see how the house price premiums in the catchment areas of the Top 20 state schools compared with educating one’s children at one of the Top 20 independent day schools. Since this would seem to be the logical next step of the research, we have done it for them. Our results highlights which parents in the UK are really paying for their children’s education.

Download the Baines Cutler analysis comparing school fees with house price premiums



Teacher Salary and Benefits Survey 2020

This is the sector's leading survey of teacher pay, allowances, pensions and benefits, and takes place on a 3-yearly basis. It covers the pay and benefits of Head Teachers and all teaching members of the SMT. The survey then looks at pay scales, performance and pay bonuses, allowances for roles, pay by subject, common room age profiles, pay spread, accommodation, boarding roles and much more. This year we have extended the survey to cover senior and middle-management non-teaching roles, and to take a wider look at benefits, as these are coming more into focus with the changes to teacher pensions. We are also fully covering the TPS choices schools are making.

This survey uses "real" (but anonymised) pay data and, since we received returns covering over 650 individual schools for our last survey in 16/17, the data is likely to be of very high quality again.

No published report is written for this survey so the only reports available are bespoke ones customised for individual schools, comparing a school against its peer group for teacher pay and recruitment. The cost of customised reports varies depending on the size of the school and the boarding percentage (boarding reports are more expensive as they are longer and cover more issues). Prices range from £350 for a small junior day school to £2950 for a large boarding school (plus VAT). Please contact us for a full pricing list. An example customised 2020 report (for a day/boarding school, but using fictitious data) can be downloaded below.

Download Example Teacher Salary Report



The National Independent Schools Financial Benchmarking Surveys 2019

This is Baines Cutler’s premier report and is an annual survey of the finances of independent schools in the UK. It is now in its 24th year and is carried out in conjunction with Crowe Clark Whitehill, the Independent Schools’ Council and the Independent Schools’ Bursars’ Association and is supported by all the other independent schools' associations. We collect data each January and the report is published each May at the ISBA Conference. Participation in the survey covers over 3/4 of all pupils at ISC schools.

One copy of the survey is provided free to all participants. Further copies are available at a cost of £50 per copy, £100 for 5 copies, £150 for 10 copies and £10 each for orders above that. Non-participant schools can purchase copies for £75 per copy. If you would like to place an order please click here and specify your requirements in the text box. You can also order a soft copy licence at a cost of £160 (non-participants £200) which will not only allow you to make the report available to all SMT or governors but includes access to all the individual graphs and tables as JPEGs for use in presentations.

Many schools want to compare their own school’s financial performance and key ratios directly with other peer schools. We provide this service through customised reports. Although we are not allowed to compare a school with a specific list of named schools (which would be in breach of the Competition Act and also the ISC’s Code of Conduct for the Exchange of Commercially Sensitive Information) we can work with you to agree suitable peer group criteria e.g. UK region, type and size of school etc. Each customised report is bespoke and is unique to each school. The cost of a customised report is £650 plus VAT for senior and all-age schools and £325 plus VAT for stand-alone junior schools. An example report (for a day boarding school, but using fictitious data) can be downloaded here.

Download Example Financial Custom Benchmark Report



Fee Affordability and Parental Time Surveys

Fee affordability has been the elephant in the room for the last twenty years. However, it is no longer one that we 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.

In February 2016, in response to this need for information, we launched a new service - a fully anonymous and confidential “Fee Affordability and Parental Time” survey, available for any school to commission from us. This survey asks your parents all the important questions you 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, such as the pressures parents feel in their working lives, how many children they are having to support at other schools or at university and how many have mortgages and so are exposed to interest rate changes. We also cover how many parents pay childcare costs and when in the day/week/holidays these are, so that schools can potentially offer parents additional support or provision at the specific times they are most in need of it. Such data will also allow you 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.

We analyse the data for you and produce a detailed report, providing you with your school’s parental earnings profile, details of how this 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. Attached is an example report with all the information you would receive.

Our experience is that, as long as the invitation to participate from the head teacher reassures parents that the survey is completely anonymous, is being conducted by a third party, and that the purpose is to help the school understand its parental body better, participation rates are usually excellent. You may commission a survey from us at any time to suit you and you can survey all or just a part of your school.

As this survey is focused on affordability we have made every effort to ensure that this survey is priced as cost-effectively as possible for every type and size of school. What this means is that the survey questions and reporting are standard and fixed (allowing of course for differences between day and boarding schools, junior and senior). However, we do understand that a head or bursar may wish to add a few additional questions and we offer this facility if you would like it. Prices range from £400 plus VAT for a small junior / prep school to £2,500 plus VAT for the largest senior boarding schools. Additional questions are £25 per question for junior / prep schools and £50 per question for senior schools. Full details of the pricing structure can be found on page 1 at the front of the attached example report. If you would like to discuss any aspect of this further, or to commission a survey, please contact us.

Download Example Fee Affordability and Parental Time Survey


The National Fundraising and Development Survey

The National Fundraising & Development Survey in UK Schools 2014

This National Fundraising and Development Survey is the second survey in this business area and was released in May 2014 in conjunction with the IDPE (Institute of development professionals in education). This second edition builds on the principles and key success factors identified in our first survey, drilling down further this time into the key success factors of development in independent and maintained schools. Once again we were delighted with the level of participation into this survey, which covered around 65% of fundraising income in the sector as a whole. This second report covers key areas of fundraising and development success in more detail than our first, touching on areas such as team structure, the level of investment being made into development teams, initiatives being undertaken and the level of expectation which is placed on such initiatives. An electronic copy of the full 2014 survey (and the full 2012 report) can be downloaded below.

Download The Full 2014 National Fundraising and Development Survey

Download The Full 2012 Fundraising and Development Report


Head Teachers’ Activity and Time Survey 2013

This survey was carried out in conjunction with the HMC with results published at the HMC Conference in October 2013. Please contact Tim Baines if you would like to see a presentation of the results.