School communications - new challenge
The new government’s policies on education place great emphasis on autonomy for schools and school leaders. The intention is to provide greater independence in decision-making over a range of issues. From a marketing perspective the need to ensure focus and clarity in messaging, understanding of parental and community priorities, and recognising that schools may be entering a more “competitive” environment, will become stronger.
There is currently a broad understanding of what schools can and don’t do. What they provide and how they operate. Maintained schools operate within generally disciplined local authority systems, policies and guidelines. Even so there are many examples of misunderstanding and confusion about a range of issues regarding admissions, discipline and behaviour, dress codes, syllabuses, exam results etc. Many schools are simply not good at communicating.
Now we may have a much wider range of school providers. More schools will be academies, outside local authority control. The variances of approach, policy, and practice will increase. For parents, and other stakeholders, it could become harder to understand why there is a change at a school and what it means. Or, indeed, to appreciate why their local school is not changing when the media is full of talk about change!
Schools that are new, or will operate differently, must invest in time and thought about how they can persuade and influence parents, students, businesses and others that what they are doing is beneficial. They have to seize the new environment and make it a time to forge a new relationship with all these groups by structured and excellent communications.
Schools that decide not to alter radically also have to meet the same challenge of improved marketing. It’s a real opportunity to demonstrate a strong relationship with all those who matter, and that has to be based on listening and communicating well.
Posted on: 19th June 2010 in