When Marjorie Woolley-Baker, a rich spinster in London, died last year, she left more than pound;250,000 to her primary school in Oakridge Lynch, near Stroud. One reason for her decision was the way the school's governors had responded to a letter she sent enquiring about her childhood days in Gloucestershire. Included in the package they sent back to her was a school prospectus.
Although your school brochure may not produce such spectacular results, it could be a winner in this year's TES-Rank Xerox School Prospectus Awards for 1999-2000, details of which were announced this week.
The judges are not looking for the glossiest brochure - they want to see information written in a clear and concise style, telling parents and prospective pupils what they need to know about your school. Among the qualities judges will be looking for is the use of good, plain English.
Two years ago, the winning entries had clear, attractive layouts with photographs and illustrations that brought their entries to life. Drawing on the experience of previous awards, Rank Xerox and The TES have compiled a guide to writing a better school prospectus (copies are available free - telephone 0800 787787).
This year, the organisers have included a new category: as well as winners for primary, secondary and special schools, there will be an award for online prospectuses. Bill Hicks, editor of the TES website, said: "A school's website is actually a prospectus in itself, but some schools really go to town in enhancing their printed versions."
Prizes for the winning entries this year are environmentally friendly photocopiers fromRank Xerox. All schools that reach the required standard will win the right to feature the TES Award logo on their stationery and in next year's prospectus - a hallmark of quality.
Winning prospectuses must meet all the legal requirements. To check yours does, consult circular 898 from the Department for Employment and Education (available on its website: www.dfee.gov.uk).
Entries should be sent to TES Marketing Department, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. The closing date is December 31. For full details, see advertisement on page 24