In our experience, schools are generally good at communicating with their internal stakeholders however, some lack an awareness when it comes to key external audiences - be aware that with the pace of change that is happening in society - there is now a need for change and for schools to be extrospective and to embrace how this can support their brand enhancement and reputation management.
In working with a wide range of schools in this ever changing education landscape there are some lessons we have learned from different stakeholder perspectives; we share these in the form of points/questions for your further consideration.
- The importance of reputation: from interviewing thousands of pupils and parents across England, reputation is in their Top 5.
- Clarity, consistency and integration of key messages are fundamental to success.
- Parents make their decisions based on a series of key factors; Ofsted, exam results, vision and pupil experience.
- Education beyond the norm: how are you showcasing your point of difference?
- Understand the importance of the school website and social media as your 'shop window' to communicate to the widest range of stakeholders and first port of call for prospective parents, staff, business and the wider community,
- Building networks is about more than winning hearts and minds but also building your brand. Get to decision makers and influencers, find networks that work for you and your school - these can be in the unlikeliest of places!
- Continue to be innovative as that is the name of the game with schools always looking at new ways to retain/increase school rolls as they themselves evolve.
- Change is inevitable, the evaluation of change can only ever be retrospective ans so those responsible for the success of a school have to plan for the future based on their experience informed bu the insights of political, economic, social and technological trends. Know where to tap into this information local, nationally and internationally to get ahead of the curve.
Understanding the above will give you a better chance of managing your reputation in the longer term as you'll have many bases covered. This is not something you do once but is part of the fabric of the school.