Prospective parents have a lot to consider when choosing their child’s school. Some may focus on your academic performance and Ofsted ratings, whilst others will rely on word of mouth, reputation and their ‘gut’ feel.
Here we’ll share our tried and tested tips for how to make a positive and lasting impression, so your school is first choice.
Focus on EYFS
If yours is a primary school, the majority of prospective parents will be looking for their child’s first school. This means they’ll be focusing primarily on your EYFS provision.
It can be very daunting for parents to part with their children, especially for those whose children haven’t attended any formal daycare since birth. So, one of the best ways to impress prospective parents is to make sure that your EYFS setting is as warm, welcoming and nurturing as possible.
If you’re keen to present a positive image of your EYFS setting, it’s key to consider your visual environment. For example, if your buildings are looking unloved or worse for wear, parents may associate this with the level of care you’ll provide to their children.
It needn’t cost a fortune to give your school’s walls a makeover. In fact, you can just focus on a few small areas to make a big impact. Many schools opt for a phased approach to their school improvement. For example, they may invest in a revamp of their EYFS environment first – making sure there are comfortable furnishings, clear signage and a positive visual environment. Once EYFS is sorted, they’ll move on to other areas of the school.
Make it personal
What can your school offer a prospective parent’s child that no other can? Be proud of your unique offering and share your unique selling points within communications and open days. For example, you might have a fantastic wellbeing programme, or do inspiring work in the community. For many parents, these initiatives will make a much stronger impression than Ofsted ratings and academic credentials.
Each child is different, and it’s effective to show the ways in which your school welcomes children from various backgrounds and cultures, with unique interests, personality types and abilities.
More than ever, prospective parents are going online to do their research. And, choosing a school without having seen it in the flesh isn’t an ideal scenario. Over the past year, we’ve seen many schools turn to virtual open days, video Q&As and their school website as a primary marketing channel.
If this sounds like you, did you know that your school building can provide a perfect backdrop for your marketing materials? For example, you may have a beautiful library to encourage reading, ample outdoor space for playtime or a visually rich learning environment in your corridors and classrooms.
Try to include photos of these areas within your marketing to show off what makes your school great. Why not host your headteacher’s Q&A in front of an interesting or unique part of your school, instead of the standard ‘school office’ backdrop?
Does your school have an active Twitter page? We know, for many school leaders, Twitter is the last place you’d rather spend your time! But it’s often the first place prospective parents look when doing their research.
You needn’t feature your pupils if you’re concerned about their online safety. But a couple of posts each week about what your staff and students are up to, ideally with an accompanying photo of your buildings, willing teachers or assets like drawings, books and classroom settings, can say a lot about your school.
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