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004: The outlook for commercial income with Andrew Cook, Repton School

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

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Despite these challenging times there is cause for optimism around the commercial income independent schools can generate by hiring out their facilities as we come through the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, schools may find that a strong brand and more flexible booking terms give them an advantage over other venues.

For this episode I’m delighted to be joined by Andrew Cook, Chief Development and Commercial Officer at Repton School, UK. Andrew oversees Repton Enterprises, which generates income for the school by hiring out facilities for conferences, weddings, residential courses and sports activities, as well as through retail activities.

A theme running through The Independent School Podcast is how schools balance being both a centre of educational excellence and a strong business. In this episode Andrew and I discuss the critical importance of business acumen and having commercially minded people in the senior team during these turbulent times.

Episode highlights

  • Combining all income generation except fees within one department (4:25)

  • The importance of building internal stakeholder engagement (6:15)

  • Repton Enterprise’s four core principles (7:10)

  • Auditing the school’s assets, assessing profitability and creating marketing plans (9:50)

  • Reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on school income (13:40)

  • Maintaining relationships with suppliers and customers (15.20)

  • Looking ahead to when events can start again (17:50)

  • Advantages schools will have over other venues in the upturn (21:30)

  • The outlook for commercial income and the importance of commercial skill sets (24:35)

  • Internal communication of the role of commercial income (27:00)

References and resources

Find out more about Juliet Corbett’s work with independent schools and discover a host of free resources for schools at

Podcast episode 003, where Juliet talks about the importance of relationships in fundraising


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