Education is one of Cairneagle’s two areas of focus

Some issues where we have supported clients:

  • For a leading corporate training provider, where to invest for top-line growth and how to deliver e-learning
  • For a PE firm, whether to buy a very profitable but stagnating technology and content business (and what to do with it)
  • For an educational software business, how to optimise pricing and licence terms
  • For an IWB manufacturer, how to set up a global channel structure to ensure the right mix of sales energy and customisation (and the right distribution cost) that can evolve to meet each market’s changing need
  • For a private HEI, how to internationalise (using which model and in which countries)
  • For an educational technology business, how to prioritise R&D expenditure
  • For a major teacher network, how to optimise attraction, engagement and monetisation of its user base

The education sector is undergoing profound changes

EducationTotal expenditure is growing at about 7% a year, only a quarter of which comes from demographics and increasing participation – most is from investment in better outcomes both in terms of “more” (more and better quality teaching time, and better tools) and “different” (new teaching approaches, new types of content). Education’s link to better employment prospects and prosperity is increasingly clear, both at an individual and a population level. Reflecting this, many parents invest as heavily as they can in better education for their children – there is a steady global trend in favour of private education.

New teaching models are being trialled and – where successful – deployed at scale. New businesses are seeking investment to deliver tools that are underpinned by advancing technology – many of which centre on the collection and manipulation of data to support (or, at the extreme, replace) teachers. Many old businesses are retrenching – hardware manufacturing is becoming commoditised and struggling to bundle services, content and software to maintain differentiation; textbook manufacturers are looking for ways to form and deliver their content in a more flexible and interactive way (while resisting the price erosion implicit in a move to digital format).

Technology development is reducing the cost for supplementary student learning, especially through the falling cost of individual devices and internet connectivity, and access to low-cost, good-enough content (leveraged by MOOCs and other models).

The maturity of school and student management systems call for the consolidation of previously separate tools – and this both requires and permits new functionality. Newly portable data will be analysed in new ways to develop new insights and opportunities. Putting together consolidated tools and data sets will require businesses of all sizes to partner much more than has been required previously.