Every little helps, boarding heads told

22nd January 2010 at 00:00

The second-in-command at Britain's largest supermarket chain has told boarding school headteachers they could learn from its successful business techniques.

Andrew Higginson, chief executive of Tesco Retailing Services, told heads of the country's 35 state boarding schools that they must not become complacent during the good times, and always prepare for an uncertain future.

Listening to customers and meeting their changing needs would help boarding schools change with the times, as Tesco has done, he said.

Mr Higginson, who is also chair of governors at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, told the State Boarding Schools' Association conference on Monday: "It's quite a successful period for boarding schools. They are pretty much full, and it is always tempting to believe that will always be the case.

But he said parents and pupils would have rising expectations of boarding, from internet connections to en suite bathrooms.

He said Tesco had been quick to adapt: "Just a few years ago we opened until 8pm, then we realised people wanted 24-hour opening, and then convenience stores."

He also warned boarding schools not to be afraid of regulators. Tesco, he said, was accountable to 31 different authorities.

"When new diktats arrive, pause for breath," he said.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today