What Makes a Good School Prospectus? We Ask the Parents

Why is a school prospectus important?

When the time comes for parents to choose a new school, they’ll have at least a couple of options to choose from, and their final decision is often based on fine margins. Just as having a great website helps schools to stand out from the crowd, a school prospectus is an extension of your branding. Developing and projecting the right image to prospective parents and your local community has never been more important.

A professionally produced school prospectus plays a key role in showcasing the true essence of your school. It should impress not only parents and students, but also the community as a whole, as well as potential new teachers.

What makes a good school prospectus? We ask the parents

We have conducted a great deal of market research to dive deeper – to understand exactly what parents are looking for in a school prospectus. This is just a small selection of the insights we have gathered.

A school prospectus usually acts as a take away for parents once they have been to an open day. The prospectus is also viewed by the students as much (if not more) than the parents – so we need to ensure that the content is appealing to a younger audience while providing parents with the factual content that they want to see.

For many parents, the school website will still be the first thing they look at when considering a school. The prospectus needs to be an extension of the website and any other communication that has been used up to this point, in order to maintain consistency.

Parents have suggested to us that they are in favour of a well-designed and creative prospectus, but usually not anything overly flashy – so the layout needs to be simple but stylish.

Expensive prospectus examples have often generated negative comments from some parents from some of the schools we have worked with.

There is often a general feeling that if a school has spent a lot on their prospectus, then the money isn’t going towards their child’s education. There’s a fine line between high quality and extravagance.

In terms of content, our research often suggests that pastoral care is an area of priority for parents, along with exam results and academic excellence. Our findings show that parents are passionate when discussing the different sports and activities available at a school.

In our experience, a parents number one priority for their child is their happiness. However, a very happy child with poor exam results is not accepted by the majority of parents!

If a school offers a range of sports and activities, they need to be listed in the prospectus to make parents aware of what is on offer. Many schools are known for a certain sport but this can be a negative as well as a positive for some parents so the content needs to equal unless you want to specialise.

One of the more surprising insights has been the indifference to testimonials and quotes (from both students and teachers). It has been noted on several market research exercises that this sort of content is not believed to be factual, and could have been fabricated for marketing purposes. Keep quotes credible or better still – back them up with facts.

Imagery should be natural and not look forced. Parents favour realistic and importantly, up to date images, that show off the school facilities and some familiar faces of the students, parents, support staff and teachers.

Our research suggests that quality of a school prospectus is paramount over being environmentally friendly. However, there is no reason the prospectus can’t be both. If you are claiming a prospectus is environmentally friendly then you better make sure it is! There are many levels of recycled materials available and some are not as friendly as they may seem so make sure you do your research.

Designing a school prospectus – Rooster Marketings approach

Each school prospectus needs to be unique, emphasising the school’s values and making it stand out from the crowd. Through in-depth market research and our experience working with a wide range of schools, we will know what will appeal to parents and students.

Everything in your prospectus has to work together, to make a convincing case that your school is the right one. It all comes down to the design and the copy.

At Rooster, we provide a complete prospectus service – including school photography, copywriting, design and printing. As a full-service agency, we can provide everything you need to sell your brand. From the website to the logo – we have it covered.

Next time you’re considering how to increase your school’s appeal, remember: a high-quality prospectus can make all the difference. So make something for your school to be proud of. For your next school prospectus why not consider Rooster, get in touch for more information. Take a look at our market research on schools we carried out.

See some of our recent work for schools

Some of our recent work for schools includes:
Clayesmore School, Blandford Forum – Web Design / Video Production
LVS Ascot – Graphic Design / Photography / Copywriting & Content
Saint Bede’s, Stafford – Market Research / Marketing Strategy
Downside School, Somerset – Brand Identity / Web Development

Posted by Helen Thompson on 09 Apr 2018