On Wednesday 2 February 2011, haysmacintyre hosted its 18th annual independent schools’ conference.
The successful event took place at Drapers’ Hall and was well attended by approximately 200 people. It was a great opportunity for us to provide an informative and relevant conference on topical issues for independent schools.
Vicky Tuck, Principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, provided an entertaining keynote address on Independent school leadership. Vicky discussed key components of effective leadership, including having a vision for the future, building credibility, employing the best people, and building and maintaining excellence and high standards in all endeavours. She also stressed the importance of being strategic and creative, as well as sticking to what you know and what you are good at.
Back by popular demand, Professor Joe Nellis of Cranfield School of Management, provided an update on the UK economy. The optimistic economist predicted that although disposable incomes will continue to fall and unemployment to rise, the path to recovery should gain momentum by 2012. Joe believes that “investment by the private sector is the engine of growth” and he cited that made by students at Cranfield. He concluded that it will be tough for schools and parents, especially with the VAT increase, but he considers that the UK is on the path of slow economic recovery.
We were then given an update on the Public Benefit issue by Matthew Burgess, Deputy Chief Executive of the ISC, under three headings: Reassessment, Review and Reference. Matthew reminded us of what was in the plans of the two schools which had originally failed the test, which enabled them to pass the Charity Commission’s reassessment. He noted that the only significant changes were the plans for more bursaries. The ISC launched a judicial review of the Charity Commission’s guidance in February 2010 claiming that the Commission’s public benefit guidance contained important errors of law. Reference was also made by the Attorney General in September 2010 due to “uncertainty as to the operation of charity law in the context of fee charging independent schools”. The Reference and Judicial Review are being heard together in May.
The concluding presentation was by Keith Budge, Headmaster, and Rob Reynolds, Director of External Relations, of Bedales Schools, who shared their experience of establishing a development function. This informative talk provided useful information on the rationale for the structure of their organisation and they shared with us six key messages: preparation; consensus–building; bespoke products; adaptability; ‘it’s a long game!’; and positive energy.
The response we have seen to this event has continued to grow and I look forward to the 19th annual conference which will take place on 1 February 2012. I will have to get planning soon!
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