Many multi-academy trusts (MATs) are feeling the pressure to grow following the government’s requirement for all schools to join a MAT by 2030 and to become a “strong” trust. (A “strong” trust being defined as one consisting of 10+ schools or 7,500+ pupils.)
Alarm bells will be ringing for single academy trusts (SATs) or small trusts not already in this position.
There may be a scramble by MATs to target larger individual schools to enable them to meet their pupil quota, or they may seek out financially stable or relatively well-performing schools, leaving struggling schools – perceived as a drain on time and resources – behind.
There is a danger that those trusts not considered “strong” by 2030 may be forced to take on schools that they would otherwise not consider, those which might not be a good fit in terms of the trust’s vision and values and its member academies. Or it may be compulsory for several small trusts to merge to create single strong trusts. Both of these pathways result in a lack of choice and autonomy for both schools and trusts – the reasons why many individual schools are hesitant to join a trust in the first place.
So where do we come in?
If you are currently struggling to fill pupil places at your member academies your choices in growing your trust are compromised.
We’re sharing 5 ways that will support trusts to attract schools and grow confidently, and help them to boost their own academies’ pupil recruitment:
1. Is it clear what is unique about your trust? Your trust needs to have a set of key messages that set you apart from others. Is what it offers clear, compelling and different from the competition? Start by considering what your trust (and your academies) are really known for among families and parents – and does this match what the trust offers? When Stickman helps trusts and academies to define their USPs (Unique Selling Points) and their key messages, their identity really soars and they find it exciting, but also so much easier to talk about themselves in conversations and in their marketing. (Get in touch if you’d like to find out more: email@example.com)
2. Are your website and social media representing you well? Your website and social media are the first platforms that prospective schools or prospective families will visit when checking you out. If these aren’t firing on all cylinders, you’re likely to make a poor first impression and lose their interest. So, take an objective view of these…put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and ask yourself – are we telling our story effectively and consistently? Do we offer a clear user journey and make it easy to take the next steps with us? And so on. (BTW, if you’d like Stickman’s fresh and expert eyes to do an audit of your website and social media for you, please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org)
3. Do you understand the top 3 marketing activities to be doing? It is important to have a mix of activities to ensure you’re reaching your audience through a range of touchpoints, building recognition and familiarity – what we call the ‘know, like, trust’ factor. Identify the top 3 channels where your audience can be found and focus on those. Relying solely on one channel, e.g. social media marketing, will be wasted time and money as it’s only one part of the marketing jigsaw.
4. Is your admissions process transparent, welcoming and effective? In relation to pupil recruitment specifically, are families and children helped through each step in the admissions journey – even where it is largely managed for the local authority – and is it made as stress-free as possible for them? Is communication clear, timely and personal?
5. Effective support: Stickman’s specialist marketing services for trusts help them to know exactly how to boost pupil numbers at their member academies, and/or to attract new schools to their trusts. Services include:
- An online course for primary schools: ‘3-Step Framework To Building An Awesome Pupil Recruitment Marketing Plan’
- Marketing Audit (website and social media)
- Key Messages Development
- Pupil Recruitment Strategy
- School Recruitment Strategy
If your trust would like to know more about our services, or to simply have a chat about your school or trust and the challenges it may be facing in relation to growth, please do get in touch. You can either:
- Email: email@example.com
- Book a call: https://thestickmanconsultancy.co.uk/bookacall/
We’d love to hear from you.