Your school could be full of the happiest students on the planet…but how does the community know? Try these tips to get your community reputation the highest it can!
Organising a charity event is a great way to bring the students at your school together whilst also raising your profile. Depending on the ages of your students as well, it could be a great way for them to get stuck in and involved in something positive. They can also be really fun to organise! If you have any junior teachers or teaching assistants, they may be keen to take it on as a project – or you may want to keep it for yourself!
You can promote it on social media, in newsletters to parents and create a Just Giving link so that you can maximise any money raised. When you start to get the ball rolling, you can even contact any local papers to you as they may be willing to feature it. If you’re lucky, you may end up with the event featured on a double page spread, complete with photos – which would definitely be one for a frame in your office!
Understandably, with everything else you probably have going on, that may feel like a pipe dream. You could try organising a joint charity event or alternatively become actively involved in any community projects local to you. This is just as good as most parents would love to see their children being involved in projects like that. The beauty of volunteering is that the students will learn valuable skills whilst also making a difference to the community.
If you wanted to organise a local community project of your own, you can find out what needs doing within the community. Make sure you research it first, and if it’s something you feel you are able to do, then start looking into how to get it done. How much funding will you need from external parties? When you have checked this, you can then start planning and get the wheels in motion.
Have a social media presence
Social media has grown rapidly and is still growing rapidly – you only have to look online to see the way some organisations do things differently. With being a school, you are lucky in that there’s no onus on you to be funny per se but having a social media presence is key. Presenting yourself is in a relatively formal yet chatty and friendly way gives off an approachable persona.
Make sure you are on all the social media platforms you feel are appropriate and familiarise yourself with them. Find out where other schools are, your audience and community and join them there! Again, if you have any particularly keen junior colleagues or even students, they might be interested in doing the research side of things. You may have colleagues keen to progress or just really interested in social media – these types of people are perfect for the running of the account.
Once your presence grows online and you get involved with projects/charities, you’ll find posting more comes naturally. If you ensure you mention any relevant organisation on social media, you’ll probably find they will repost their post. If they have a big following, you could get a big reach.
It sounds old fashioned to many, but word of mouth is still the best way to boost your reputation – the most effective way of advertising your school is glowing appraisals! When parents are thinking of choosing your school for their child, they will be checking your website and nowadays even social media to find out what people’s thoughts are.
An easy way to obtain testimonials for your website is to contact the parents of the children currently at your school and ask for feedback. This is also a great way to double check whether everyone is 100% happy, and subsequently identify areas you can improve.
You could contact everyone as part of a mail shot to your whole database and include a survey. This is what a great deal of companies do in order to obtain people’s thoughts, including an open question asking for some words, and then following on from this asking if their words could be used. The only issue with this is that some people may not wish their feedback to be used in a survey. You may get greater success by collating all feedback, reviewing it and making personal contact.
Whatever you do, do not post false testimonials as they just aren’t worth the risk. You also don’t want to end up losing the trust of not only the parents of your current students but also future potentials.
Another great idea to make your testimonials really stand out is to ask some of the more confident respondents whether they would mind making a video providing a testimonial. You can then include this on not only your site but social media. You can pick up a good tripod for a phone with a high-quality camera on Amazon for very reasonable prices. You could also include them in your school brochures, and if you attend a school fare at any point, can include them on any artwork you prepare, such as bespoke signs.
Listen to the most important people…your students
Whilst it’s important to find out what the parents think…what about the students? How are they doing? Are there any issues? How could things be better?
Happy students = happy parents. Again, providing the students are old enough, you could try a survey amongst the children. You may wish to try this on smaller children but know your audience when it comes to wording!
If you are having any issues with students, make sure you are doing the right things to address them. If there are any bullies you know of, ensure they are dealt with appropriately. Going back to social media, be aware that nowadays bullying online is rife, so whilst you may not physically see any bullying taking place, it may still be occurring. Within most schools, you have children who are willing to talk about things more than others – utilise them to your advantage.