This is the new year 2023, and as a school, I know you will have plans for the whole year. But before you start outlining your new plans for the new year, one question you should ask yourself is this; ‘is there something I will like to improve on?’ Is it your facilities or marketing techniques?
Schools are getting better at their marketing strategies. They now know how to sell what makes their school better, focusing on what they do best, the facilities they have, success stories, and their external links.
But one thing we’ve noticed is that they are not so good at sharing what their future plans are. Or perhaps most schools do not even have one. The majority of the businesses out there have a vision – i.e., what they have in mind for themselves in the future. If as a school you do not have this, then how do you prepare your students for the future?
Often, this is because it feels like admitting weaknesses – if you can make teaching and learning better, does that mean it’s not good at the moment? Or perhaps because the school’s development plan is full of technical errors and aimed at external inspectors rather than the wider community.
But if you’re really going to stand out from others and fill your school, being honest about your future journey is really important. How can you make sure your school does this?
- Carry out a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of your schools. As part of this survey, allow key stakeholders (teachers, school administrators, etc.) to find out what they see as the most important issues in each area.
- As well as sharing your strengths and opportunities, develop plans to overcome weaknesses and threats over a reasonable time period. If you have an existing vision, ask yourself how you will practically achieve it from the situation you’re currently in. If not, this is a good way of developing one.
- Discuss your ideas with stakeholders, see how they respond, and ask how they can contribute to these changes. This might be time, financial support, or just sharing it with the wider community.
- Agree on a plan and make sure that everyone in your school can share these ideas. And make it a key part of your marketing activity through all your channels – adverts, website, open-day presentations, and so on.
- As you move forward with these plans gather and share the evidence that you’re getting there!
What areas can you focus on? From our experience working with schools, you might focus on…
- New facilities, equipment, or buildings – the easiest areas to talk about and often the most obvious areas of weakness.
- Improvements in teaching and learning – are you changing your curriculum? training or educational technology and what changes is it making?
- Engagement outside the classroom – top universities have developed a new term, the ‘super-curriculum’ to describe activities that take students beyond the curriculum and spark passions. Can you show this?
- Workplace issues – if you’re recruiting new staff how are you making it easier for them to do their jobs and manage their lives around the challenges of teaching?
Please share examples of how your school is doing this.