Market sourced

1st November 1996 at 00:00
I agree with John Kimber (TES, October 18) that many teachers regard marketing as promoting "the predatory concept of competition". What I can't understand is why Mr Kimber went on to define marketing narrowly as a public relations exercise, intended largely to improve communication with parents.

Teachers need encouragement to advertise the quality of what they do, but it bothers me when a marketing consultant defines marketing as PR. PR is only the last 10 per cent of marketing, and in education it is the least acceptable part. Teachers are far more likely to be comfortable with the first 90 per cent.

Within a commercial enterprise, marketing is a management orientation to client needs. In education, the student is the client, so, for a teacher, this means asking questions like: What skills will my students need when they leave school? How can I improve my teaching to help them learn? What are the best resources I can use to teach them? How can I work more effectively with my colleagues to help the learning process? How can I work more effectively with the children's parents?

Most teachers are constantly reflecting on their commitment to their students in this way and they are, therefore, experts in marketing.

JANET A HARVEY Consultant in education management and marketing The Old Laundry Treago Hereford and Worcester

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