The past few years have been an exceptionally challenging time for organisations in the education sector and their staff. BW is at the forefront of providing support across a breadth of challenges, working in partnership with education organisations to help them to deliver their aims and objectives.

As a leading independent UK professional services consultancy across risk, pensions, benefits and investment, we are free to do the right thing by our clients at all times. We have an established team of experts in education consulting who have built up a reputation for our understanding of the education sector and ability to work with organisations to support their specific needs. Our diverse team setup – which includes input from a former bursar at a leading UK independent school – encourages free thinking to allow us to be flexible and nimble towards our clients' needs.

Our track record of supporting the education sector spans over 20 years and over 80 organisations, including:

  • a top-tier client list spanning the UK and including both Russell Group and post-92 universities, as well as some of the largest independent schools in the UK
  • around 50 independent schools, on different elements of their pension and benefit offerings

We work with the education sector to develop and refine the areas that we can best support schools, including working with a leading industry body (the Independent Schools Bursar’s Association – ISBA). Our innovative tools, such as Data Navigator, and significant expertise not only addresses the challenges, but allows education organisations to flourish through support of their valued staff.

Educational institutions invest strategically to enhance performance, aiming to equip learners for success in dynamic settings. Our experts work together with a range of clients, from schools to universities, and offer guidance on both systemic policy design and institution-specific strategies. This enables them to leverage advanced labour market analysis for informed higher education consulting solutions.

The areas we can assist with cover staff, recruitment, support and retention, and also financial and business risk management. Expand the boxes below to find out more details.

Given the changing benefits landscape within the education sector – for example many schools are moving away from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme or offering alternative options – it is important to have a well-considered benefit strategy covering administration, communications and the range of benefits to be offered.

Our support provides:

The emotional, social, physical and financial wellbeing of both teaching and support staff has always been important. However, as we are emerging into a ‘new normal’ there is no doubt that the pandemic has irrevocably transformed the way people work, think and act as well as their priorities.

Evidence shows a holistic wellbeing offering, proactively enabling staff to look after their health and wellbeing, leads to increased levels of happiness and productivity.

We use proven and award-winning analytical tools to help truly understand the wellbeing issues faced by education sector staff, to target interventions and improve wellbeing and happiness.

More about our wellbeing service

Within the education sector in particular, it is vitally important to have a well-considered benefit strategy covering administration, communications and the range of benefits to be offered.

Helping schools get the right benefits offerings and helping staff understand them will be critical to help with recruitment and retention and ensuring the right work/life balance for staff.

Our consultancy experience combined with our powerful survey and analytics tool can help organisations truly understand the opinions, concerns and needs of their staff to build an informed benefit strategy. From our experience, a staff survey is an important first step in the process of engaging with staff.

More about our flexible benefits consultancy

The streamline version of our award-winning benefits platform, 4me, has been built specifically for the education sector and independent schools in particular. It helps educate and engage staff and seamlessly facilitate complex choices, removing manual work and reducing the risk of costly errors.

An integrated Total Reward statement, voluntary benefits, pension choices and wellbeing matters can all be addressed on our single, easy-to-use platform.

The platform can be varied across staff populations meaning an organisation can offer 4me to all of its staff as a single common tool to help with consistency across the workforce.

More about our benefits platform

All employers with over 250 employees are required to regularly report their gender pay gap in advance of regulatory deadlines, and it is expected that other forms of pay gap reporting will be mandated in future. These calculations can be complex and time consuming – schools, colleges and universities may have limited resources available to carry out this work.

Education bodies can benefit from our interactive online pay gap analytical dashboard not only to accurately calculate and report regulatory pay gap figures but to allow deeper analysis and segmentation to inform narrative and action-planning. The analytical tools and support can also be used by organisations with less than 250 employees.

More about our pay gap reporting tool

Clear, jargon-free and meaningful communications are essential to ensure engagement with teachers and support staff remains high and that staff have a full understanding of the message being presented – for example the options available to them and the value to them and their loved ones.

Every project a school, college or university undertakes will be different and individual staff members will have different needs and levels of understanding. Our communications and engagement service offers a refreshingly straightforward solution.

More about our communications service

Substantial changes in pensions legislation over recent years have affected senior education staff. As a result, head teachers and other senior leaders may now face tax charges on their ongoing pension savings.

Our Executive Pensions team have assisted a number of head teachers and senior leaders at both independent and state schools, as well as Vice Chancellors and Professors at various universities. Each individual’s circumstances present different challenges, resulting in different approaches. We can assist on methods of minimising the consequences of any adverse taxation.

More about our pensions support for senior leadership

The changing landscape brings risk and opportunity in equal measure. Assuring the financial security and wellbeing of your organisation, education body, teachers and support staff is becoming increasingly complex.

We provide support for:

Pensions are a valuable benefit for teachers and support staff and are an excellent recruitment and retention tool, but there are risks. These risks of participation are dependant on the arrangement(s) which the organisation participates in, such as:

We are one of the UK’s largest pension experts and our independence means we don’t come in with any preconceived ideas or “products to sell”. We often find that pension reviews highlight opportunities to refresh and update some staff pensions (say, introducing flexibilities that may be being introduced for teachers to support staff). We can also provide governance services such as checking the appropriateness of DC arrangements and topical issue updates to key members of the senior leadership team and governors.

Visit our TPS page and resource library

Business risk management is critical in the education sector, given increasing challenges from benefit costs to legal responsibilities, as well as political interference and time consuming compliance regulations. Schools, colleges and universities will need to consider a wide range of risks and opportunities from the strategic to the operational, covering people, finance, reputation and a myriad of other issues to ensure their organisations are as well managed as possible.

We are uniquely placed to assist organisations in their risk management requirements thanks to our combined risk and actuarial expertise. Our cross-sector, multi-disciplined team have supported and developed an award-winning methodology and toolkit to help organisations to enhance their level of risk maturity.

More about our risk management services

Many independent schools, colleges and universities have charitable operations at their core and careful use of the charity’s assets can be fundamental to the long-term success and security of the organisation. Charities can have very different investment needs to other investors, particularly in terms of the certainty, size and nature of their future income and expenditure.

We work with some of the largest charities in the UK on management of their charitable assets. Our goal as investment consultants is to turn your needs into an efficient, cost-effective and pragmatic investment strategy that will help the education body meet its long term commitments. Our depth of resources allow our consultants to focus their time on putting forward solutions to best meet your needs.

More about our charity investment services

Sustainability is top of the agenda for many organisations. Whilst regulatory disclosure requirements are ever-increasing, importantly many education bodies want to go beyond statutory sustainability reporting and give a genuine commitment to making a real difference. Teachers and staff, parents, pupils and alumni also have increasing expectations to see credible plans to net zero.

We use analytical tools to help schools, colleges and universities to consider their underlying carbon footprint and how to reduce it. Considering sustainability beyond the core statutory reporting is easily possible based on our robust analysis and analytics.

More about our sustainability services

Contact us for all enquiries

For more information about the independent, expert services we provide in this area, speak to our team today.

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