Education Matters - News impacting schools, teachers and students
  •      

First step to your school’s digital marketing success: Planning

EM-Website-1

I know what you’re saying; “Oh no, do we really need to plan?”.

One step frequently overlooked by schools when developing a web presence, or embarking on a digital marketing campaign is planning. The old adage ‘Fail to plan = plan to fail’ is so true in this instance!

Whilst it is very tempting to skip this step and start talking about the visual components of the website, without this step, any design work really is wasted.

We’ll start discussing planning by defining your audience and then we’ll discuss goals. I promise you that this is one of the most important steps you can undertake when planning a new website or campaign.

Defining your audience

The first step in planning is to determine who your audience is, and what priorities you give each of them. If we don’t do this, we’re basically ‘flying blind’. Knowing your audience means that you can tailor everything online to suit them, in a way that won’t omit secondary or tertiary audiences. I’ll explain this later.

So when considering audience, you might as an example, list;

• Current students and their families
• Prospective students and families
• Prospective new staff
• Wider local community

It is important to list your own audiences in order of priority – are prospective students the main focus, or is it more important at the moment to attract new staff? Is the school community at large the most important aspect of your digital marketing focus?

Even better is to start defining who these audiences are. For example, you may write;

Community
Local families without school-aged children and small businesses within our town.

Prospective student families
People who are considering moving to our city for work. Typically FIFO workers with children aged 8-15.

Current students
Parents want to get our newsletter electronically and want details of events at their fingertips.

Knowing who you are trying to engage will help in writing your content to speak directly to that audience.

Defining your goals

The next step is to determine your goals for this campaign or website. Is it to attract enrolment enquiries, reduce administration staff time by providing detailed information for existing students and their families, or is it to reduce costs of printing your newsletter, by emailing it out instead?

Whatever the goal, try to be specific. Whilst it is great to say ‘attract more enrolments’, it would be even greater to say ‘Increase enrolment enquiries by 5% this year for the 2014 school year’.

Write a few goals, and list them in order of priority. Some could be short term (the next month or two), others medium term (the next six months) or even long term (more than a year).

An example of this would be;

Enrolments
Increase enquiries for enrolments from 4 a month to 10 a month. Expect a higher enrolment rate for next school year.

Reduce newsletter costs
Encourage current families to opt-out of printed newsletter, and receive electronic communications. Expect to move 20% of the current 420 families over before end of this year.

Summary: Planning in a nutshell

We’ve pondered on audience, and created our audience profiles by priority. This helps us in being able to target our content to speak directly to this audience, and should also drive design decisions; we can ask questions such as do we have a large banner promoting enrolments, or do we have a calendar being the visual centre of the homepage?

By also defining our goals, we’ve taken this one step further. No longer are we talking about vague thoughts about what we hope the website will achieve; we now have some solid goals to set some priorities to, and get into gear.

In our next article, we’ll start planning your websites function – that is, how we’ll get our audiences to achieve the goals we’re setting out for them.

Miles Burke is an Author, Public Speaker and Managing Director of Perth-based digital agency, Bam Creative. His team has created websites and digital marketing campaigns for dozens of schools, and their work has been featured in the media, won plenty of awards and most of all, helped schools demystify the digital marketing space to attract enrolments and better communicate to their communities.

Tasmania builds case to close 17 primary schools

EM-Website-1

A report released by Tasmanian Auditor-General Mike Blake has identified 17 public primary schools where a strong case existed for closure to be considered.

Blake examined a number of factors including enrolment numbers, NAPLAN results, location and availability of alternative schools in compiling the list, and insisted that no conclusions were reached on any single factor.

In the report Blake noted there was no evidence that small schools were disadvantaged in terms of educational performance, however, he pointed out that Tasmanian public primary schools were more costly per student compared to the Australian average and the Tasmanian Government could save potentially $433,000 per year for each school closed.

However, Tasmanian Minister for Education and Training, Jeremy Rockliff, said no school will be forced to close.

“We fought very hard against the attempt by the previous Labor-Green Government to forcibly close schools, and we remain categorically opposed to forced closures,” he said in a statement.

“In many instances schools are the lifeblood of regional communities, and we firmly believe it is up to local communities to determine their future, not have it imposed from on high against their wishes.”

Compulsory STEM ‘masks the real problem’

Two leading educators have told Education Matters that the key to engaging high school students with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) is through teachers, and have called for a greater focus on professional learning. Read more

Goal! Register for Sporting Schools

EM-Website-3

Sporting Schools is all about fostering a lifelong interest in sport among Australian primary-aged children.

By getting your primary school involved in Sporting Schools you will help to provide your students with the opportunity to access sport-based activities before, during or after school.

The key purpose of the programme is to encourage more children to do more sport-based activities, and empower schools to help them to do that.

As a sporting school you can:

  • Help your students foster healthy and active living habits;
  • Support health and physical education outcomes in the school curriculum;
  • Access nationally-endorsed sports products and certified coaches;
  • Access a range of training and development material to support teachers to deliver sport-based programmes; and,
  • Design programmes that create important links between your school, sport and your local community.

The aim is to bring sport and schools together to provide a supportive partnership, encouraging participation in sport by over 850,000 children.

Sporting Schools funding will enable the delivery of high quality and inclusive sport activities and games, before, during and after school hours. This will offer flexibility to suit the needs of schools and students across Australia. The focus is about participation and enjoyment, or more simply “skills not drills”.

All Sporting Schools programmes will be endorsed by national sporting organisations (NSOs) and all coaches will be certified. Funding is also available for other forms of innovative programme delivery.

As of this month, schools can apply for funding on the Sporting Schools website, with the programme starting in July 2015. Support for developing your application, online resources and information about local coaches will also be provided.

Once your school is registered and it has met the eligibility criteria your school can get annual funding to provide up to three terms of sport-based activity for children.

Go to the funding section of the website at www.sportingschools.gov.au/funding to find out more about the grants.

In addition, the other benefits of registering includes access to a range of resources through the website including a webportal that enables schools to locate and communicate directly with trained community coaches or coaching providers in your area. In areas where community coaches are unavailable or limited, your teachers can register as a coach to deliver sessions (provided they meet the minimum Sporting Schools coach registration requirements). Teachers can also access coaching plans and tools to help them plan and run sport-based activities outside of Sporting Schools sessions.

As a Sporting School you can:

  • Help your students foster healthy and active living habits;
  • Support health and physical education outcomes in the school curriculum;
  • Access nationally-endorsed sports products and certified coaches;
  • Access a range of training and development material to support teachers to deliver sport-based programmes; and,
  • Design programmes that create important links between your school, sport and your local community.

You will also have the chance to engage with more than 30 national sporting organisations (NSOs) that are partnered with the programme. Students can participate in a broad range of sports including:

Registering your school is an easy process:

  • Select the “register” icon at the top of the website at www.sportingschools.gov.au;
  • Sign up as a Sporting Schools individual member and activate your account via the email link sent to you;
  • Select ‘Register a School’ and enter your school details;
  • Agree to the terms and conditions and submit the form;
  • A registration team has been established with staff available to assist you with your application;
  • Schools, coaches and sporting organisations will be encouraged to create a profile page on the Sporting Schools website – this will help to create connections in local communities; and,
  • Contact the registration team via the ‘Get in Touch’ form in the footer of the website.

From term 3, 2015, all primary schools will be invited to participate in Sporting Schools. Over time, there will be opportunities for secondary schools to be involved. Secondary schools keen to be a part of Sporting Schools can register their interest on the ‘Stay Connected’ section of the Sporting Schools website to ensure they receive the most up-to-date information on how to access the programme. If you would like to know more about Sporting Schools jump onto the website – www.sportingschools.gov.au or email us directly at info@sportingschools.gov.au

Sporting Schools staff will assist you in getting the maximum benefit from the programme.

 

 

Providing quality uniform solutions

Midford

 

Midford is a company with a proud history of providing quality uniform solutions tailored to the individual needs of schools across Australia. Midford school wear is designed to be both good looking and hard wearing.

Generations of Australians have grown up wearing and trusting the Midford brand. Every Midford garment is rigorously tested and made to the highest Australian standards. We have continually improved, refined and re-designed our uniforms, incorporating innovations to improve comfort and durability.

At Midford, we understand what an important statement a well tailored uniform makes about your school. Our experienced team will work closely with your school to provide you with a uniform that your students are proud to wear.

A Midford retail solution

Midford established the retail arm of the business after numerous requests for assistance with customised uniforms. We built an infrastructure specifically designed to manage uniform shop operations within a school campus environment.

Midford will;

  • Purchase current uniform stock;
  • Manage staff;
  • Upgrade your uniform shop;
  • Create an online order platform;
  • Assist in the design of academic and sport uniforms; and,
  • Guarantee an income to the school.

We are proud of our commitment to providing a professional and reliable service to schools and colleges across Australia. Today, Midford operates school shops on behalf of schools in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia in both urban and rural areas.

It is our quality, attention to detail and commercial expertise that makes the relationship with Midford a reliable and profitable option for these schools.

St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill, New South Wales

“Our uniform has always been very important to the image of our college. In terms of our dealings with Midford they have been absolutely first class, the service they provide, the way the uniform is presented and the quality of the uniform they provide for our boys.

They certainly do an outstanding job.”

Bro. Anthony Boyd

Deputy Headmaster

 

Ivanhoe Grammar School, Ivanhoe & Mernda, Victoria

“We at Ivanhoe Grammar School have been delighted with the relationship we’ve built over the years with Midford. From their ability to design and produce to specification, to the manner in which they deal with our parents on a retail level. Midford have always been reliable, approachable and professional. We value our association with Midford and look forward to continuing the partnership for many years to come.”

Leyton Miles

Business Manager

 

St Michael’s Collegiate School, Hobart, Tasmania

“The quality of Midford uniforms, the standard of their retail operation and the service they provide to our students and parents, compliments our school’s image and values. The Midford team has become an integral part of the St Michael’s Collegiate community.”

Robyn Kronenberg

Principal