How can overseas schools reach parents?

Carolyn Savage of Winter’s International School Finder, discusses how schools can engage with parents

According to recent ISC data, British private schools currently operate 59 satellite campuses overseas, which is 13 more than last year. The number of students being educated in these campuses has risen from 27,619 to 31,773 over the past 12 months, and with soaring demand this growth is unlikely to change any time soon.

This expansion, although extremely exciting, does come with a number of challenges for schools setting up overseas. Winter’s International School Finder spoke to Mike Weston, former Senior Headmaster of Sherborne Qatar, who suggested that schools should be careful not to underestimate the time required for the planning stages. “It’s essential to research your host country’s history, politics and culture thoroughly and to be prepared for things to change at the drop of a hat,” he said. 

Carolyn Savage

One challenge, however, is being felt very much by parents. As the number and variety of English-speaking schools overseas has grown, parents have had to navigate through an overwhelming amount of information online. School websites have become more and more individualised, making them all impressive in their own way, while expat chat sites and social media platforms now offer contradictory opinions on everything from shopping to housing, and of course, education. Our research showed that parents were finding the search for schools extremely time-consuming, confusing and frustrating. What they really wanted was one place where they could research their relocation, and also look for schools, mark them as ‘favourites’ and contact them directly. Traditionally, relocation agencies have helped with this, but as we venture deeper into the digital era, parents expect to be able to do this themselves online.

This is where Winter’s International School Finder comes in. “I was looking for a school for my two 13 and 10-year old children when moving to Hong Kong from Dubai. League tables and word of mouth aren’t always an accurate representation of a school, so it’s very useful to have information that you can trust in one place,” said parent Lindsay Elliot about Winter’s.

Winter’s not only offers this to parents free of charge, but it provides a fair and transparent platform for schools to share their most up-to-date information with parents, and gives schools equal access to parents, students and teachers across the globe. Real-time analytics are provided within each school’s admin page, so that traffic can be tracked and return on investment made clearly visible – something that is not possible in the same way with print media. 

The extensive articles section on Winter’s is extremely popular with parents and schools alike. Designed to help parents get the information and inspiration they need, it’s organised into four sections: essential information, choosing a school, international education and Winter’s schools’ Q&As. All our articles are commissioned directly for Winter’s, offering bespoke, up-to-date information to parents using the site. Our member schools often feature in articles, which are then shared through social media outlets to further enhance their exposure to their target audience. Member schools are invited to collaborate on articles in many different ways.

“What outstanding service Winter’s provides. Worlds above some of the other partners we’ve worked with. We were commenting how we wished more people had your professionalism and ‘extra-mile’ disposition, many thanks!” added Jacob P. Aldaco, Yew Chung School, Shanghai.


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