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Protecting your school brand in uncertain times

How to protect your hard won school brand during lockdowns, bubbles, and remote teaching.

School brand and culture
Kirsty Cumming

Kirsty Cumming

Kirsty is a specialist in EdTech innovation and communication

A school’s reputation, or brand, is something built through years of hard work, determination, vision and, most importantly, strong leadership.

The school brand represents how a school operates, the standards it expects from staff and students, its credibility and how it is spoken about in the wider community. It’s a source of great pride (or should be!) for past and present students, staff and parents.

For parents it’s also the stamp of assurance and trust; it defines what the school is about, its culture and what differentiates it from other schools. It helps parents to weigh up the different options available for their child’s education in order to ensure that the school they choose is the right fit for them and their family.

It also has an inherent value: a cost per term value to parents.

Fast forward to ‘the new normal’, which the best estimates say is likely to last 18-24 months (maybe even longer). Schools face a massive challenge to their culture and therefore also to their established brands, for instance in terms of working out how best to adapt to manage the disparate location of staff and students in the longer term – some on-site and some at home – and bring everyone together.

This will be a time where reputations are won and lost, where school brands rise and fall, and where parent loyalty is tested.

There are four challenges that a school’s reputation will be judged on:

  • The ability to run a comprehensive timetable, accessible to all students
  • The ability to provide outstanding teaching, whilst preserving teacher wellbeing
  • The ability to maintain student wellbeing and safeguarding standards while navigating new methods of delivering education
  • The ability to continue ensuring excellent outcomes for students

These are fundamental to the school's future success. Whether a school is looking to protect or build their reputation, the way forward needs to be led from the top. This will require leadership teams to take a step back and review the school's traditional values (what it prided itself on and did well ‘in the old days’) and how these values can be translated to the new world. It will mean looking into new ways of doing things and reviewing how technology can help bridge the gap between school and home for the benefit of students and staff.  

The time for quick fixes is over. It is now time for school leaders to strategically plan how they can lead their teams through this period of unavoidable change, taking their staff, students and parents with them. It may seem impossible at times, but it isn’t. The edtech sector is already evolving to provide solutions.

Up until now, Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom have been widely used. However, specialist edtech providers such as Sparkjar have seen a 700% rise in usage. This is set to grow further as this week they announced the launch of integrated video conferencing – essentially making Sparkjar the teaching-focussed, classroom-friendly, complete solution.

If you would like to discuss how Sparkjar can support your school resilience and risk management strategy, please get in touch.

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