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Marketing small as beautiful

Pensax CofE primary school, Stockton-on-Teme, Worcestershire

IN a school of only 40 pupils, the print-run for the school prospectus may be only about 10. But there is nothing small about the effort Jenny Batelen and her team put into their prospectus.

Arriving at Worcestershire's smallest school three years ago, Ms Batelen set about revamping the existing document which, she says, was " lots of words".

In a sense, Pensax had a headstart since, unbeknown to the judges, one of the first things Ms Batelen did was send for the free TES Guide to a Better School Prospectus drawn up by The TES and Xerox. Perhaps that is why we liked the warmth and clear sense of values in the prospectus.

By involving the pupils in comments and drawings she managed to provide an illustration on almost every page of the thermal-bound, photocopied booklet with its 40 colour-coded pages.

"Everyone was involved," says the head of this 2.7-teacher school, who aimed to reflect life in this diminutive village.

Almost all prospectuses promie every child will achieve their potential and the judges in the competition looked for a school's unique selling point. The prospectus provides this in its introduction: "Pensax C of E school is a special place for children to come to. Set in a unique position, free of noise, pollution and the danger of main roads, children are able to have a freedom often denied them in this modern age... A maximum of 56 children means staff have personal knowledge of every child and there is a real family atmosphere."

There are revealing extracts from inspection reports: "The school is a very orderly community and deserves the high esteem in which it is held by parents..."

Even the school rules come over as warm and positive but clear, reasonable and easy for children to understand: "At Pensax school we want to be happy so we will always be kind to each other. We won't fight, bully, swear or steal and we won't be rude to anyone. We want to be safe so we will only go in safe places where grown-ups can see us and help if necessary."

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