Case studies

Publishers and education suppliers

A curriculum programme provider was undertaking three-year financial planning and so wished to understand the potential reach of their programmes, and the impact that price was having on new schools choosing to partner with them. They asked us to explore schools’ level of need, staff experience and confidence, Ofsted preparation, levels of satisfaction with current provision, prioritisation of spending on resources and CPD and use of consultancy services. An online questionnaire was used to achieve sufficient volumes to conduct a series of analyses, including the use of Gabor Granger price sensitivity analysis across three subject areas. Data was augmented with broader schools’ data and recommendations made allowed the client to shape their financial modelling based on expected income levels.


BESA invited Schoolzone to convene a “panel of brilliant school leaders” (as the client later described them) on stage at their annual Insights Day. We recruited heads and school business managers from around the country and chaired a discussion on the topic of key procurement issues, which included questions from the floor. This topic is of interest to suppliers, of course, but can be difficult to cover in an engaging way, so we chose this live panel methodology to give this afternoon session a bit of oomph. It was a lively discussion which helped bring home the reality of school funding and the many obstacles to procurement in schools.


A leading international food and drinks manufacturer wanted to bring their primary school healthy eating resources up to date, it having been developed eight years earlier. Part of the thinking was to include more on sustainability. We invited teachers and heads from around the country to join our research panel for this purpose. During the application process, they told us about their current school activities related to healthy eating and climate change, sent us school policies and included links to relevant pages of their school websites. This meant that we could convene the first focus group of participants who took the lead in schools that were highly engaged and innovating, which generated so many great ideas that the client could use that we found it quite difficult to keep up. The second stage was to ask these same experts to inform the development of the programme as it progressed, via an online forum, while a third convened a panel of less engaged teachers and school leaders to review the ideas before they went into production so that we could make final alterations and begin to inform the marketing strategy.


A large HE publisher acquisition at the end of 2019 necessitated some due diligence research with lecturers and students to investigate whether the technology of the acquiring company would suit the needs of the users of the acquirees resources. We ran three face-to-face focus groups of lecturers and students, all drawn from our panel, with clients observing from behind glass and with live video feeds to the USA. Clients could unobtrusively ask, via the moderator, additional questions during the sessions, which were all recorded and transcribed for later use. This exercise highlighted some large cultural differences between resource use in the UK and in the USA, and the subsequent report gave strong recommendations to the client on the likely market, post-acquisition.


A subscription service provider was prepared for a round of funding and, although this client is already very successful and has a very large market penetration and extensive customer feedback data, wanted to ask some specific questions of a wider audience, in-depth, but at short notice. We recommended 50 telephone interviews and within 10 days we had written the discussion guide, recruited, scheduled and conducted the interviews with a range of customers, non-customers and lapsed users. Out subsequent report gave an impartial picture of the market landscape for this type of service across phases and a UK spread.