<![CDATA[Marketing Advice for Schools - News]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:04:25 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[A Budget special - 7 ways to market Maths (or any other subject)]]>Wed, 22 Nov 2017 16:17:48 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/a-budget-special-7-ways-to-market-maths-or-any-other-subject
In today's Budget it was announced that schools will receive £600 for every extra student that signs up to study Maths post-16.

This is of course a real reason to market your Maths! But there are other reasons why schools might want to promote a particular course - perhaps you've just introduced a computer science GCSE or are concerned about the viability of some of the language courses you offer and want to boost your intake.

The key is to make sure you're using a marketing approach. As a new HoD I used the ideas below - and was accused by the school's then Deputy Head of 'aggressively marketing my subject'. I took that as a compliment, especially as it meant my A-level classes were full.

1. Find out why current students take that subject - and why they don't. If you're offering a new subject, invite potential students to a meeting, explain the course and get them to tell you what they see as pros and cons.

2. Be open to changing how you teach. If you get feedback that other subjects offer more links to the real world, or have more project work, investigate how you can offer this.

3. Profile your staff and their expertise, passion and experience. Schools often fail to explain why teachers are great at teaching their subject, especially at more advanced levels. Why not let them blog about their subject?

4. Link to research and news stories that show the value of the subject. Students often have preconceived ideas about how useful a subject is. Even if you think they are positive, they might be too narrow - for example students might see computer science as being only suitable for programmers and see that as not for them.

5. Gather testimonials and write case studies. Sharing exam results is important, but you should also make sure to personalise this by showing how students engaged with and succeeded in your subject. Don't just focus on your top students either - look for those who you worked hard with to achieve a pass.

6. Show off great work and achievements. Make sure that you are feeding your great stories into school marketing activities such as the school website, social media channels and newsletters. Or create your own department newsletter.

7. Build relationships with potential students throughout their current studies. Given an opportunity like the Budget Maths one, it makes sense to identify potential A-level Mathematicians early in the school and give them positive tastes of advanced maths throughout their studies. Don't narrow their focus to just GCSE material.

Please add your thoughts and share your successes by commenting.
<![CDATA[Turn OFSTED’s ‘curriculum challenge’ into a marketing opportunity. Show what you are teaching - and why.]]>Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:16:47 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/turn-ofsteds-curriculum-challenge-into-a-marketing-opportunity-show-what-you-are-teaching-and-why
How does what you teach, and why you teach it, make you stand out?

​Last month our Inspiration topic was ‘Showcasing your Academic Achievements’ – looking at how schools can share the great work that takes place in lessons.

​Not long after, English schools were challenged in a similar way by the Chief Inspector of government inspectorate OFSTED, Amanda Spielman. It’s worth reading the whole of her article, but this is perhaps the key challenge, asking about the school curriculum,
“…choices need to be made about what to do when, how much depth to pursue, which ideas to link together, what resources to draw on, which way to teach, and how to make sure all pupils are able to benefit as each new concept, construct or fact is taught…

“…these decisions must be rooted in a solid consensus about what education should deliver for each pupil. What is the body of knowledge that a child needs so that they will flourish in the future and not be left behind?”

HCMI's Commentary, 11th October 2017
Some schools may choose to panic, do nothing, or to add this to their ‘just-for-OFSTED’ pile and produce a quick, bland report that refers to the national curriculum and exam specifications, but why not use this challenge to set out what makes your school special – internally and externally? After all, it’s a question you can expect prospective parents to ask now.

What can you do? The key, as with many marketing challenges, is twofold – to concisely articulate your vision for the curriculum (the why) – and then to show how it is being delivered through stories (the what).  

This is a great opportunity for marketing and academic staff to work together – the academic staff need to articulate the vision and share examples and the marketing staff need to translate this into simple ways that can be widely communicated and feedback responses from the wider community.

Here are two examples, from two very different free schools. What unites them is that they don’t talk about KS3 or GCSES, and they look for and share evidence to show what they are doing in pursuit of their vision. And they’re both 'OFSTED outstanding', if that means anything!

School 21: The Six Attributes

Michaela Free School: Curriculum

If you’d like help finding your key messages, or innovative and cost-effective ways of communicating them, take a look at our open, online and bespoke school marketing courses and workshops. 
<![CDATA[It’s been a bad month for social media in schools – we shared ideas to use it better at #isbconf17!]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 10:34:13 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/its-been-a-bad-month-for-social-media-in-schools-we-shared-ideas-to-use-it-better-at-isbconf17
Title slide from our isbi schools conference presentation
The last month has not been good for social media in schools. It saw a survey for the HMC and Digital Awareness UK that showed 63% of teenagers wished it had never been invented. And a social media post led to a stream of negativity in Norfolk after parents heard of the potential merger of their school on Facebook.

The challenge for schools and school marketers though is to make the best of social media – it’s not going away and it can’t be reinvented – and this was the theme of our workshop at this week’s isbi conference at Fresham Heights School in Surrey – one of the most popular of the day. 

Using our 2016 School Marketing Survey as the basis for our insights, we identified 4 key areas that school marketers can make the most of social media.
  • Gathering information from school networks
  • Segmenting and targeting your audiences
  • Tracking your social media reputation
  • Helping with safeguarding
We take a look at each point below – together with some of the great feedback and ideas from delegates!

Findings from our school marketing survey

Gathering information – rather than spend hours chasing round your school looking for the great stories you need, setting up social media accounts for sporting teams and your high-performing departments and training staff means stories will come to you. One delegate built on this by sharing how his school encourages teachers to use iPads to take pictures of great work for marketing purposes.
Segmenting and targeting your audiences – this is something that marketers do as a matter of course with other media, but few schools in our survey set up different social media accounts with targeted content. We also discussed sharing different types of content on different social media, targeting different age groups with different social media and using scheduling apps to produce content at the time people read it most. It was great to hear from one delegate about the way her school ran different Facebook pages for different stakeholder groups.
Tracking your social media reputation – schools can use a range of tools to move beyond simply looking at their number of followers. We discussed looking at engagements, using social media scoreboards such as socialcandy.co.uk (for Twitter) or Klout (for all social media), tracking social media enquiries or contacts from alumni and looking at changing perceptions through focus groups and surveys. There was a good discussion about whether schools should also be on the lookout for people who started following them on social media after events – and if they could be sent specific material to help them through the application process.
Helping with safeguarding – school marketing professionals are using social media regularly and can often see and hear things that will benefit pastoral and safeguarding colleagues. We looked at a few specific areas – identifying new social media platforms used by students (the rise of Snapchat for example); passing on information about dangerous social media trends such as the Blue Whale Challenge; and looking for negative or concerning social media posts by students that include the school as part of ongoing social media monitoring.  One delegate shared how his school had identified risky behaviour in a former student in this way. 

<![CDATA[Inspection is changing - and a marketing approach is your best response]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 10:38:21 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/inspection-is-changing-and-a-marketing-approach-is-your-best-response
The start of a new school year always sees changes - new students, new teachers, and invariably new facts (and rumours) about school inspection changes.

Schools in England face inspections either from the government in the form of OFSTED, or for the majority of private schools from the independent but government-approved Independent Schools Inspectorate. Both organisations look at a wide range of functions within a schools - safeguarding and welfare as well as the quality and effectiveness of education.

Both inspectorates have been seen in the past as data- and lesson observation- focused, but comments and changes in their stated processes recently show that they're becoming more interested in how schools meet the needs of key stakeholders - students, parents and now even staff. Let's take a look at some of these changes in detail:

1. It's not just about exam grades:
The new OFSTED Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman has been vocal over the summer about the importance of achieving more than just exam results in a school. 
“Rather than just intensifying the focus on data, Ofsted inspections must explore what is behind the data, asking how results have been achieved. Inspections, then, are about looking underneath the bonnet to be sure that a good quality education –one that genuinely meets pupils’ needs – is not being compromised.”
Amanda Spielman, OFSTED Chief Inspector, The Guardian, 23/6/17

2. How staff are treated is on the agenda:
Sean Harford, OFSTED's National Director for Education started the year with a tweet asking what school management were doing to reduce workload - showing that they're aware of the growing shortages in teaching staff. 
3. Parents and students' views are key parts of the process: 
The latest ISI guide for schools is explicit about the importance of stakeholder views. 
'To evaluate the outcomes for pupils the inspection includes lesson observation, the evidence of pupils’ written work, including that held electronically, and visits to extra-curricular activities and other school events. Inspectors interview pupils, and school leaders, managers and teachers to gather evidence related to outcomes for pupils. They consider the questionnaire responses from parents and pupils, the school’s fulfilment of its aims and the distinctiveness of each school in evaluating pupils’ achievement and personal development'
Handbook for the Inspection of Schools: Inspection Framework, December 2016
What's this got to do with marketing?
From a marketing perspective it seems clear that the 'best schools' under these frameworks will be those that do two things well. They need to have a clear and consistent narrative - a strong vision backed up by practical examples that all stakeholders are aware of - and be able to show that they are listening to and delivering against the real needs of parents, teachers and students

These are no longer peripheral concepts that schools can avoid by
introducing policies that they think inspectors want or achieving good results by gaming the system. It's about marketing your school properly - and about time too!

<![CDATA[Taking shortcuts damages school reputations - it's not marketing!]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 10:14:54 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/taking-shortcuts-damages-school-reputations-its-not-marketing
In the last week, two different scandals have resulted in front page headlines for high-flying English schools. Independent schools Eton and Winchester College were forced to take action against senior teachers accused of breaching exam regulations by sharing information with students - while state grammar school St Olaves in Orpington was accused of breaking the law by 'throwing out' students who did not achieve 3B grades at the end of Y12.  

The problem is that this is presented as part of a 'marketing culture' where getting to the top of a league table or achieving 100% passes is more important than doing an honest and good job.  Nothing could be further from the true goal of marketing - the need to create a long-term reputation based on fact. The scandal that goes with these headlines will damage the reputation of all three schools and their senior leadership. 

At Marketing Advice for Schools we consistently talk about marketing as 'identifying and meeting the needs of stakeholders'; doing the best for students, parents and the community for the long term. It also means for most schools that the true marketing challenge is time - time to find the great stories that show your school at its best, time to listen to concerns of parents and students and innovate in response, time to respond creatively to every visitor. It's why we railed against 'gaming' almost five years ago when the website had just been launched! 

If you'd like to develop a strong, long-term marketing strategy this year, why not book a place on one of our open or online courses, or call us for bespoke advice for your school or MAT. 
<![CDATA[What I’ve learned about marketing  from training 25 schools – the second time around!]]>Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:51:52 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/what-ive-learned-about-marketing-from-training-25-schools-the-second-time-around
Marketing Advice for School’s Simon Hepburn reflects on his recent school marketing training.

Two years ago I had a great end-of-summer-term experience – the opportunity to train around 25 schools in a series of courses for Osiris Educational. Having done the same again in the last couple of weeks,  I thought I should look over my reflections from then (you can find them here) and see what has – and hasn’t changed! Here are 7 key learnings...

  1. Marketing has become more mainstream. Two years ago, the schools I talked to knew that marketing was important for them, but that they weren’t necessarily representative of all schools. This year one participant asked why their course wasn’t totally full as ‘all schools are talking about marketing now!’ 
  2. Knowledge of marketing is increasing. Two years ago, when I asked delegates what they thought marketing was they invariably talked about ‘promotion’ or ‘advertising’. This time there was much more awareness of the need for ‘engagement’ and ‘stakeholders’, alongside ‘promotion’. Schools were aware of opportunities in moving marketing spend from advertising, if a bit wary.
  3. Marketing challenges are growing and changing. Every school I talked to was facing issues recruiting students and balancing budgets, the majority were worried about recruiting teachers and some were working through the process of academy conversion. The good news is that they all left with a strong conviction that a marketing approach would help them (and a plan to make it happen).  
  4. Social media still worries schools. Schools have accepted the need for social media, and indeed some of the delegates came on the course to learn about using it for marketing, but they worry about negative comments. The best argument I found was that if your school doesn’t manage its own social media presence, someone else will!
  5. Schools need more time to do marketing, not more money. It’s amazing what schools expect their support staff or full-time teachers to do. The secondary schools in particular that I trained were spending a tiny proportion of their available human resources on marketing – something that is shocking for under-subscribed schools (10 more students would pay for a full time marketing manager!), and a worry even for those who are full.  As many of the schools found, money isn't really the issue, it's having the time to use the contacts and resources schools already have. 
  6. There are some great schools out there! As always, it’s a privilege to meet great heads, teachers and support staff who are working in difficult situations, with old buildings or massive fixed costs and making a huge difference to their communities.
  7. Creating a content calendar is important. The biggest improvement in this series of courses was the introduction of the content plan. Rather than leaving the process of planning and communicating stories to each school, this helped them focus what to write, record and when to do it.  

If you’d like school marketing training, let Osiris know – or check out our own training workshops here.
<![CDATA[Teacher Recruitment and Retention - the latest on the crisis]]>Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:10:36 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/teacher-recruitment-and-retention-the-latest-on-the-crisisAs the school year comes to an end, it seems a good time to talk again about teacher recruitment.

​Anecdotally it seems most schools have just about managed to find enough staff for this September, although there are still a lot of jobs around – 708 at e-teach and 450 at TES.com as of 17th July – for anyone left looking.

​The problem is that 2018 is looking much worse. A combination of demographic and economic factors is set to produce a shortage of potential teachers while the number of students will rise significantly. Teacher retention is getting worse, while recruitment has not met demand for 5 years. You can see why the Government is preparing to spend £10 million to recruit just 600 teachers from overseas and teacher training adverts are continuing well into the student summer vacation.

We take a look at all these trends below and offer advice for all schools affected.

Demographic dips

There are fewer people in the age group that produces most trainee teachers, while the number of students is set to increase. The population pyramid below from the Office for National Statistics shows this clearly – between 2005 (line) and 2015 (shaded bars) the number of teenagers dropped significantly while the number of under 10s increased. Putting numbers to this, there will be 60,000 fewer 22 year-olds available to start teacher training in 2018 than there were in 2015, while the number of 11 year-olds entering secondary school will have increased by over 70,000.  
Source: ONS

Economic Problems

Despite the recent comments from the Chancellor of the Exchequer about public sector pay being better than that in the private sector, two problems highlighted in the graphs below are that private sector pay is growing faster than public sector, and teaching is not even keeping up with other public sector jobs. Coupled with low unemployment, teaching is just less attractive, especially to STEM graduates. 
Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/school-teachers-review-body

Teacher retention gets worse...

The latest figures from the School Teachers Review Body showed a clear crisis in both recruitment and retention - summarised well by Schools Week in this article.

The first graph below shows that teachers are leaving at an increasing rate, and increasingly before retirement. The second graph shows that the result of this is poorer retention and a severe lack of retained expertise. It’s clear that this is down to a combination of workload, pay and conditions. Yet for one reason or another (probably lack of time!) even when workload reduction is suggested, 80% of schools aren’t taking steps to implement it.
Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/school-teachers-review-body
Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/school-teachers-review-body

....And recruitment is no better

Teacher recruitment can also be said to be in a difficult position. The graph below, again from the School Teachers Review Body, shows that recruitment in all sectors has been below target for the past 5 years. Primary recruitment is now doing better than secondary.

The Government has responded by putting more money into recruitment - notably its £10 million 'biggest ever' overseas recruitment plan plus more funding for local recruitment. The tweet below right shows a late 'Get Into Teaching' advert after the end of the student year. The only problem is that students who haven't found a job yet may fit the 'Armstrong and Miller' stereotype in the video below? 

PictureSource: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/school-teachers-review-body

How to ride the storm!

It's clear that schools will face problems next year - especially secondary schools in coastal areas (with smaller catchment areas) and the London fringe (where teachers have higher-paid alternatively). 

The problem is that there's no simple solution for every school. Some will probably benefit most from reaching out for former teachers in their communities - offering flexible part-time work or a better work-life balance to tempt them back. Others need to work on retention - making real changes to workload to keep their best staff. Another group might benefit most from being more involved in local Initial Teacher Training – helping SCITTS interview, offering PGCE or Teach First placements or letting staff teach on university courses. 

To help your school find an individual solution with expert help, click here to book a place on one of our Recruitment and Retention Workshops in October. We'll explore all aspects of the Talent Management Cycle and produce a specific plan for your school!
<![CDATA[What will the General Election result mean for school marketing?]]>Thu, 08 Jun 2017 12:47:12 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/what-will-the-general-election-result-mean-for-education-marketing
Last night's result will pile more uncertainty on a country that continues to split down the middle on key issues. However, with the Conservative party remaining the largest party and likely to stay in power with support from the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), it's worth looking at which education policies might be taken forward, at least in the short term. 

1. More grammar schools in England? 
This was a key part of Theresa May's personal programme and probably contributed to the Conservatives attracting former UKIP supporters. It's also something that the DUP is keen on! However I can't see this being a priority for a Government with such a slim majority. Perhaps what we might see is more academy chains encouraged to group their more able students together and more selective free sixth forms, so don't expect the idea to disappear entirely!

The impact on school marketing: In a time of uncertainty all schools need to monitor the local environment, gather evidence of why your school provides a great education for all pupils and guard against any new schools attracting your teachers! MAT marketers may be asked to look at different locations and concepts for grammar schools.

2. Will there be more free schools in England? 
One of the most high-profile people in the general election campaign was Theresa May's chief-of-staff Nick Timothy - the former Director of the New Schools Network, the charity behind free schools. If he and Theresa May stay in position, and with the equally high-profile Toby Young having taken over his role, expect a renewed push in this area to achieve the manifesto commitment to build 'at least 100' per year.

The impact on school marketing: As with grammar schools, the effect on existing schools will vary - free schools have been concentrated in some areas of the country to date. Again this underlines the importance of monitoring local and national developments - something that Marketing Advice for Schools's Research pages will help you with.

3. What will happen to school funding? 
Schools weren't initially a high priority in the actual election campaign, but school funding became more of an issue as the campaign progressed and with some high profile Conservative MPs fighting hard for their local schools, it's possible that the new Government will find money to minimise the impact of cuts. You can find out more about the complex changes to funding here.  

The impact on school marketing: Schools will still have to take fund raising more seriously and analyse which of their stakeholders can help with this. This doesn't just mean parents and community use of facilities; schools with less well off communities should be looking to maximise grants while well-established schools could target former students. 

4. What will happen to private schools? 
On the face of it, the Conservative manifesto wasn't that positive towards private schools. However, in practice they will continue to benefit from state sector funding restrictions, especially at 16+. There will be continued pressure to work alongside state schools and offer bursaries, something that most private schools are now comfortable with, and perhaps more support for international expansion of British education. 

The impact on school marketing: Those working to market private schools should continue to record and promote partnerships with local schools and communities to ensure they can show wider social benefits. If you'd like to learn more about that, Marketing Advice for Schools is hosting a workshop on this very topic at the 2017 isbi Admission and Marketing Conference

5. How will teacher recruitment be affected?
The increased likelihood of a 'hard Brexit' if the DUP is involved will probably exacerbate the loss of EU teachers through personal choice, family relocation or perhaps even because they can't get their status approved. The subject most likely impacted will of course be foreign languages (MFL) but also expect it to exacerbate existing shortages in subjects like Maths! The Conservative manifesto promise to pay student loans for new teachers might help in the short term, but could prove a short-term measure if teacher turnover continues to rise and pay is held back for more years. 

The impact on school marketing: Recruitment and retention, which should be a key part of school marketing, will become even more important. Schools, especially secondary schools that don't have access to their own initial teacher training, will need to focus on what makes them great places to work and streamlining recruitment processes

6. What about multi-academy trusts? 
The Conservative Party isn't going to move back to local authority management of schools, but recent scandals with fast-growing multi-academy trusts could prompt a move to greater monitoring and control, with fewer but larger trusts.  

The impact on school marketing: MATs will need to control their reputations better - and this will lead to the growth of MAT marketing functions and the need for more marketing traning across the state sector. Well, given our expanding range of marketing qualifications, we would say that...
<![CDATA[What does 'Child of our Time' say about school marketing?]]>Mon, 10 Apr 2017 12:56:56 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/what-does-child-of-our-time-say-about-school-marketing
In 2000 the BBC decided to follow the lives of 25 children from across the UK. The latest TV episodes broadcast last week (and available here if you are in the UK) are fascinating to a whole range of people - parents, teachers, psychologists, neuroscientists - really anyone who has even just been a teenager themselves. 

But the programme is equally interesting for those looking to persuade teenagers to study at their institution post 16. What is driving them? What can we do to show that our school or college is the best for them? Here are four of my thoughts (but please watch whether you agree or disagree!).

1. Experiences matter

One of the most interesting aspects of the show was the use of MRI technology to see how teenage brains respond differently to adult brains. In particular there was a huge different in how teenagers responded to excitement and risk, whether crowd-surfing at parties or abseiling in Israel. It made me wonder how important extra-curricular activities and trips might be - both to attract students and to make subjects come alive. And if you do offer these, are you making sure to record and advertise them?

2. You need to work at social media, not just have it

A huge theme of the second episode is the influence of technology on communication and sociability as well as more mundane issues such as sleep! It's obvious to any school marketer that being on social media is especially important for 16+ recruitment (and Instagram was the clear choice of platform here), but it's also clear that interactivity and shareable content matter. And you also need to get into the mindset of the teenagers - what was it with the repeated pictures of feet?

3. Friends and parents are complementary, not a binary choice

Another ongoing theme was the growing importance of friends to teenagers. That said, many were still obviously close to their parents and aware of the conflicts that friendship causes. For those marketing to teens, you need to manage the two relationships in a complementary manner. It's emphatically not about saying 'we have fun' to the friends and 'we work hard' to parents - you need to show both aspects to both groups - they will both have a significant influence on choice. 

4. There's a lot more openness about sex and sexuality

One key statistic that the show shared was that while 20 years ago the average age for 'coming out' as gay or lesbian was 25, it is now 16, showing teenagers are more secure in the reaction they will get from parents and wider society - including of course schools. Equally there was clear and open discussion of sex and relationships, again supported by a major reduction in teenage pregnancy rates. This won't be a surprise to those working in schools, but it's perhaps a reminder that talking about pastoral support, counselling or LGBT groups aren't going to put parents off your institution! 

And congratulations to UWC Atlantic College for getting some great coverage as thoughtful, articulate Ivo considered taking an international UWC programme.
<![CDATA[School funding is in flux - how can marketing help?]]>Mon, 23 Jan 2017 13:41:27 GMThttp://marketingadviceforschools.com/news/school-funding-is-in-flux-how-can-marketing-help
There's no doubt that state school funding is under pressure in England. But if you couple that to uncertainty about future funding and a re-evaluation of the funding to every school, there's the risk of a major crisis.

A survey from the NAHT suggests that 
75% of schools will be in an unsustainable financial position by 2019Schools in YorkshireShropshireManchester and London (and many others!) have responded by asking parents for donations, and a head teacher in Berkshire has resigned in protest.  

We take a look at the issues in turn, consider how state schools schools can use marketing to get through the current crisis and lay stable foundations for the future, and then look at the relatively more positive implications for independent schools.

Sources of pressure

1. Existing school funding pressures

The graphs below show that while overall spending on education has remained similar since 2009, there has been a fall when measured against GDP. While school funding has been relatively well protected compared to other areas of the public sector, there have been significant impacts for many. John Tomsett of Huntingdon School outlined some of the issues in this article in the TES - mainly due to cuts in discretionary funding and pay increases. 
Education spending in absolute terms in the UK
Education spending as proportion of GDP in the UK
2. Future funding

The graphs above take into account current spending proposals for schools as far as 2020. Again, while the actual numbers show an increase in cash, the National Audit Office has said that this will be an effective 8% reduction in real-term spending with schools needing to cut £3 billion in three year. 

3. The new national funding formula

Unveiled in December after many years debate, the new funding formula aims to redistribute money to areas that historically received less (such as Derby, York or more rural areas) from areas such as London which received more. 10,740 schools will get more money, while 9,128 will lose out and no schools will lose more than 3% of income overall, with a maximum cut of 1.5% per year.

 Marketing solutions - w
hat can schools do?

1. Find the right people to ask

Schools should be actively looking for income sources that they can access. As seen above, grammar schools have started targeting well-off communities of parents (and should also in many cases be looking to do the same with former students!). Other schools might be better off working with local politicians to ensure they get access to all available funding for their school and area - or working with local businesses or faith groups. Our article on 
stakeholder analysis will help you find out who matters most. 

2. Show why you need extra money - and what you will do with it

If your school is going to ask stakeholders for help, it needs to be clear what the money is for and when and how you will spend it - don't just make a general appeal. Talk about specific building or teaching issues that will affect individual stakeholderS or people they know - this also allows you to create focused displays and brochures to engage people. 

3. Don't be embarrassed to ask, but make sure you're not embarrassed by how you ask

As many schools are asking for money, your school is unlikely to be the only one nearby doing so. However, it's vital that you make sure that you don't apply pressure to parents (for example by implying that contributing isn't voluntary or that it's part of an admission process). And be careful about putting pressure on teachers or pupils to raise money from stakeholders such as parents - it's best that queries and the actual handing over of money is kept away from their day-to-day relationships.

4. Feedback how the money is being spent

Make sure to thank those who have helped you - and show them how valuable their contribution has been. It's worth taking time to do this properly and highlighting what you've done across all your communication channels - not least because this coverage itself might generate some additional income or support.

5. Get involved in wider funding campaigns

However successful your local fundraising has been, there's also a clear case for valuing and supporting education across a fragmented system. Here's the NAHT's campaign - others are available!

And what does this mean for independent schools?

Independent schools have typically done very well when a growing economy combines with cuts to the state system. There is a marketing challenge for schools in that private schools don't want to be seen to be attacking state schools (and invite attacks like this one from Michael Gove), but independents' emphasis on smaller schools, individual attention and extra-curricular activities will obviously resonate more if state schools cannot match this. 

​The graph below, from the Independent Schools Council, shows that schools in more affluent areas are already seeing consistent growth - those in the North should take this opportunity to join them!