Independent Schools' Risk Report 2020
Independent Schools' Risk Report 2020

Aon’s Independent Schools Report, is an annual publication, produced in consultation with schools’ industry specialists and risk analysts. The report provides a snapshot of the complex, dynamic and unique risk environment that independent schools operate in, along with expert commentary, trends, and insights. 

2020 - Building Better Resilience

The resilience of communities and organisations across the world has been severely tested by a series of disruptive events. In Australia, these included bushfires and floods that threatened lives and livelihoods. This was followed by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced people to recalibrate how we work, live, and interact. Across every aspect of the business community, this triumvirate of emergencies has revealed vulnerabilities in the preparedness of many organisations to protect their people and operations during a crisis.


Brand and Reputation

During the crisis, the effectiveness of a schools remote learning programme delivery (including the reliability of its technology platforms); the rigour of their responses to deal with an infection in their school; and the way they addressed parents’ concerns over issues such as fee payments during school closures, all have the potential to cause reputational damage.

Student Safety

Some of the risks here include physical exposures to COVID-19; mental health issues arising from changes in learning routines (especially for Year 12 students); and increased exposure to cyberbullying or adult cyber abuse, while learning from home.

Increasing competition / Decreasing enrolments

In an economic downturn, the government sector may pose a greater competitive threat to independent schools, while financial constraints could lead some parents to withdraw their child from a school or cancel a pending enrolment.

Access to funding

In addition to the financial impacts of increasing competition or decreasing enrolments, schools could face additional threats to their income and cash flow due to requests for fee reductions or deferrals.

Malicious cyber threat

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a sharp rise in cyber-attacks with criminals exploiting work-from-home security weaknesses; unleashing phishing attacks through bogus emails and websites purporting to offer COVID-19 health advice; and hacking collaboration applications (such as Zoom) to gain access to users’ personal data.


Finding, hiring, and retaining the right talent remains a challenge for most independent schools, with only 46% expressing great confidence in their recruitment procedures.


The increasingly complex nature of school management, coupled with a tighter regulatory environment, has led to heightened expectations from the stakeholder community.

Previous Reports

Independent Schools Risk Report 2018
Independent Schools Risk Report 2017
Independent Schools Risk Report 2016
Independent Schools Risk Report 2015
Independent Schools Risk Report 2014


Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services.
Through its more than 72,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions.
For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit:

© 2020 Aon Risk Services Australia Limited ABN 17 000 434 720 | AFSL 241141

The information contained in this document is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice (personal or otherwise) because your personal needs, objectives and financial situation have not been considered. Before deciding whether a particular product is right for you, please consider your personal circumstances, as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (if applicable) and full policy terms and conditions available from Aon.