The Summer Term is here and with it comes a hive of activity at school: Open Days, adventurous trips, the Summer Fair, Leaver’s Ball, Speech Day and weeks and weeks of examinations. Marketing and Admissions can be equally as busy – if you still have places to fill for September, it is not too late to make a difference.
How so? Well, various reasons really, such as:
- National Offer Day for state secondary schools was 1 March. There may still be pupils who are grappling with the disappointment of not gaining a place at their preferred school or have not been successful at appeal and have yet to decide where their future lies.
- Spring and early summer is also one of the peak times of year to move house. Relocating families may be looking for entry into Years other than the usual Reception, Year 7, Year 9 or Year 12 entry points.
We’re sharing three ideas to help fill those empty school places for September:
- Invite them to something memorable
Consider creating a Taster Day or Activity Morning targeting the appropriate age children, such as a specific Year 7 Taster. Include activities or lessons that are unique or special to your school, something that differentiates your Year 7 experience from other schools. Your school might have an astronomy class or film-making club, for example, opportunities to show off the facilities and allow the children to make great memories!
- Think big!
Senior schools – take advantage of study leave, when your Year 11s and Year 13s are out of school in June and July. With classroom space and teaching time freed up, you can really think big! For example, organise an art competition among local schools and hold an exhibition of all the entries; invite everyone who takes part to come and enjoy the artwork at your school with afternoon tea. Boarding schools will have bed spaces freed up in the second half of the Summer Term – why not offer a sleepover to prospective pupils. They might love it so much they come back in September!
- Be available
When parents are looking for a school place at short notice, ensure there are staff available to deal with their enquiry during the summer holidays. Consider who is covering email and website enquiries and answering the telephone. Is there always a member of the SLT available to meet a family or interview a prospective pupil? Do you have a happy band of pupil ambassadors who live locally and might be called upon to give a school tour during the holidays? Are there local parents who prospective families can be put in touch with if they want to know more about the area? It would be a crying shame to lose a prospective family based on their enquiry hitting a brick wall.
If your school would like help with your school’s pupil recruitment and retention, or if you’d like to know more about any aspect of our school marketing and research services simply get in touch. We’re always happy to discuss how our work helps schools and impacts positively on pupil numbers and revenue.
School Marketing & Research Consultant and Chief Cheerleader, The Stickman Consultancy