Measure your School’s Culture… now part of FSS participation

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My PhD research Predicting financial sustainability in independent schools [1], indicates workforce culture is a lead indicator of financial sustainability.

Somerset Education and PeopleBench are therefore excited to announce our alliance to give schools the ability to assess and track their school’s workforce culture: the shared values, beliefs, and expectations for how people act in the workplace – “how we do things around here” or put another way “what people do when nobody is watching”.

Why is it important to measure your School’s Culture?
My research is to predict financial sustainability of independent schools. The Financial Survey for Schools (FSS) represents over 70% of enrolments in independent schools, so we already have robust financial information to assess financial health. But how do we go the next step to predict financial health and therefore prevent financial stress in schools?

The first step is to participate annually in the FSS to assess trends in key measures, identify changing circumstances and risk, plus the best areas to improve performance if required. A common factor in financially sustainable schools is their ability to adapt to changing circumstances, which requires a positive and supportive culture throughout the school, as well as at board and management levels.

Enrolments are obviously a key attribute of a financially sustainable school. Research indicates important factors influencing families’ choice of school include educational excellence, good teachers, teacher/student relations, good facilities (which requires financial health), supportive and caring environment to foster strong character, confidence and self-esteem. And this is assessed mainly through word of mouth from family, friends and work colleagues, school tours and interacting with teachers and staff.

Therefore, for a number of reasons, I believe a healthy workplace culture is at the heart of financial sustainability.

Somerset Education is dedicated to the financial viability and sustainability of non-government schools and has developed cost effective, self-service tools including the annual Financial Survey for Schools (FSS). The Somerset Education + PeopleBench alliance is consistent with our strategy of identifying crucial, cost effective, trusted tools to help schools govern with confidence.

What is the new product for Financial Survey for School’s (FSS) participants?
As an FSS participant you gain access to the PeopleBench unique Culture Tracker™ tool to help you rate and benchmark your school’s culture.

PeopleBench have been providing school workforce technology, research, and data analytics since 2017 and have worked with hundreds of non-government schools in Australia to help build better school workforces. The Culture Tracker™ (Bronze) accessed via the Somerset Education Financial Survey for Schools portal provides Somerset Education clients with complimentary workforce culture tracking resources and the ability to subscribe to the PeopleBench Culture Tracker™ (Silver or Gold) to access a more detailed analysis of their workforce culture.
🎥 Watch video: 15 Minutes on school workforce culture
👩‍💻 Upcoming Webinar—Last one for 2022!
Breakfast Seminar Series: Webinar — Thursday 24 November 2022

Why measuring culture counts in the financial sustainability of schools 
Time: 8.00am to 9.00am (AEST) via Zoom
Recommended for: Principals, Governors, and Business Managers… but all welcome!

The webinar will include:

  • Attributes of a financially sustainable independent school
  • Key ratios to assess financial sustainability and industry trends
  • Special guest—Mike Hennessy, Chief Research and Insights Officer, PeopleBench, to demonstrate the School workforce Culture Tracker.

👉🏻 Register here
Registration fee: A$99 (inc GST) per Registrant*
Register hereZoom
*Note: Please register even if you’re unable to attend the ‘live’ webinar as the recording is available to all Registrants up to thirty days after the webinar.

Any questions?
For more information about the FSS, Culture Tracker, Webinar, or our budgeting and reporting tools, please do not hesitate to contact us at or call on 1300 781 968 (from outside Australia +61 7 3263 5300).

If I can help in any way with the financial governance of your school, please contact me directly at or mobile 0417 618 899.

Kindest regards

John Somerset 

John Somerset is a Chartered Accountant. He has extensive knowledge of the independent school sector and is past President of Independent Schools Queensland and a past board member of the Independent Schools Australia.


[1] PhD research, John Somerset

Disclaimer: We publish this article only for non-government schools in Australia. All material should be regarded as information only and individuals should rely on their own enquiries when formulating decisions for themselves or their clients. In no way do we warrant or guarantee any changed circumstances for a school from use or non-use of this material. As a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the firm participates in a national liability capping scheme. Accordingly, our liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards.

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