In brief

Schools in the Spotlight: a guide to media relations for school governors and staff. By Tim McClellan and Nigel Gann. RoutledgeFalmer pound;16.99.

There can be few schools that don't know how to get into the spotlight once they give it some thought. Newspapers get bigger and bigger, and local ones in particular have to find some means of keeping the advertisements apart.

Schools should have no problem in getting local press coverage for positive stories involving children or staff, particularly if the piece generates an appealing photograph. To help, McClellan and Gann offer sound advice on preparing news releases and establishing effective relationships with press, TV and radio for sharing good news, although it's a great shame they don't allocate more space to explaining how to get a story covered in The TES.

The book's strength is in its advice on handling those tricky situations when bad news breaks and the school becomes caught in the hostile searchlights of unwanted media attention. The half dozen case studies will give teachers and governors sleepless nights. Unfortunately, there is no attempt to explain how the various crises could have been resolved.

The book makes useful reading up to a point, but I hope any second edition will attempt to answer the questions raised. The authors could also take on board their own reminder that a picture is worth 1,000 words: examples of images as well as descriptive text would have helped focus the spotlight.


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