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Promoting your school

Almost no organisation takes promoting what they do less seriously than the average school. The occasional photo and brief story in the local paper, a brochure or prospectus and increasingly a website is about the sum of it. However, this is usually a marginal activity for governors and staff.

Take my school. Although technically a 'new' school, we're on the same site as a well known and long established, recently closed 'failing' school. Yes we have a new name and a new uniform but I would guess that this doesn't mean much as the previous school existed for well over a century.

Changing perceptions is a difficult business and it requires a lot of effort and some expertise. Yet, for us, as with most primary schools, changing perceptions has to happen in the margin of people's (limited) time.

Whereas other organisations would have an active public relations team, it's pretty well unknown for a primary school to have anyone responsible for promoting the school. By 'promoting the school' I don't just mean publicising SATs results. I mean letting people in the local and wider community know why it's a good place to be involved in whether as a child, parent or just a willing helper.

So what can you do? At the very least, you need a lead governor with some marketing experience and a realistic strategy to let others know how good your school is. However, just having a lead governor and a strategy won't achieve much. So, although it's unlikely that you can hire a PR professional you might be able to get someone retired with a background in PR to give their time free of charge. Alternatively, promoting your school could be a good project for someone studying public relations and hoping to go into PR.

Alan Wells

Chair of governors at a north-east London primary

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