Trying to recruit students for the next year’s intake during the autumn lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions has thrown up huge challenges for primary and secondary schools during 2020.
MHW PR was tasked by Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, with schools across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham with developing a marketing plan to support recruitment efforts.
Initially the focus was on the secondary schools which had a late summer deadline to encourage parents to enrol their children for next September; these were followed by the sixth forms and then the primary schools whose deadline to register is January 2021.
MHW deployed a range of tactics to promote the schools, focussing on several priority locations where numbers had dropped in recent years.
PR director Wayne Halton explained: “With schools forced to cancel their open evenings due to social distancing guidelines we had to turn to other creative methods to showcase the schools and their facilities. Videos were chosen as the perfect mechanism to do this.
“We pre-promoted virtual open evenings via coordinated campaigns that combined a mixture of press advertising, outdoor advertising, door-to-door leaflets in local communities, school banners and social media.
“We worked alongside the schools whose responsibility was to get parents to register for a series of virtual evenings carried out over Zoom, where new school videos were shown and then shared online on their websites and social media.”
The campaign was continuing in December but the earlier efforts at secondary schools showed a significant increase in registrations and enrolment.