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FREE School Marketing Articles

Look At Your School’s Logo

Schools are full of empty logos. Lifeless crests. Soul-less brands. Look around you. What is the quality of your logo/crest? How old is it? How well does it reproduce in electronic form? How many variations exist?

A logo is a concept in graphic form that captures the spirit of your school. A strong logo reflects a distinctive brand or identity. It is the school’s signature. But without attention, your logo can become dated and poorly defined. 

In a competitive marketplace your logo must be working for you all the time, reflecting exactly what your school wants to say about itself. It must be given voice, be polished and set on a pedestal for all to see. 

Below are 10 ways to present the face of your school in a highly visual way through your crest/logo.

1 Say it in one
In the past, an organisation could spell out its philosophy in half a page. In today’s fast-paced world, you have 10 seconds! 

Your school logo needs to say it all in one. Business brands provide examples. Striking business logos are characterised by extreme simplicity. They are uncluttered and use only a few lines, colours and geometric shapes to stand out boldly. Slogans are brief.

By contrast, many school logos are cluttered with old world icons of flames, books, scrolls, shields, crosses, stars, crowns and heraldic devices that speak of a medieval past, not of a promising future.

2 Do away with poor design
Does your logo suffer any of the faults below? If so, it’s time to design a new one or modify your old look.
A logo/crest without the school’s name.
Language that most people cannot understand or remember (eg Latin).
A logo that tries to capture too many images in a small space.
A hairy-edged design that does not reproduce well in electronic form.
An image from long ago that depicts disused buildings, dated icons, obsolete colours or other long-deceased features.
Too many variations.

3 Present a professional image
There are two or three elements to a logo - the brand name, the brand mark, which is a recognised symbol or colour, and the brand slogan consisting of four to six words. To bring all these elements together it’s a good idea to invest in a professional designer.
A logo should be flexible, reproducible, enlargeable and  uncluttered.
 It should be timeless – not trendy, as fashion is quickly outdated. 
Consistency is the factor that makes logos work. 
Direct your designer to prepare your logo in colours suitable for online use, that work in 3D, that can be animated, and that will work even in a very small size on a computer screen.
Ask your designer to prepare a Crest Block that illustrates the sizing of letters and the spacing around them.

4 Let colour unify your image
Colour grabs attention. It helps us retain and recall information. The use of a consistent colour scheme in your logo and throughout your printed communication will unify the school’s corporate identity. Colours become your ‘voice’. 
A strong accent colour such as red or yellow can revitalize a drab look.

5 Add personality to your logo
Once you have a basic design for your logo don’t be afraid to adapt it creatively for different uses. 
At one school with a soldier icon, a designer crafted the logo into a playful, whimsical symbol for kindergarten awards, and on another occasion it was creatively interpreted to decorate the childrens’ ski caps for their annual ski trip. As you entered the school, the soldier appeared on school direction boards and it was used as the central image for the school’s 150th anniversary. 

6 Take your time
A new corporate image does not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process. Reaching consensus on a crest, name and slogan typically involves many hours of angst. People respond to graphic design subjectively, so plan lots of lead time. Get the foundations in place with a modern design, then as funds become available, place the new visual identity on flags, uniforms, publications and other items to create a consistent look.

7 Say it with words
A descriptive slogan adds strength to a school’s identity. Some examples that evoke sentiment in just a few words are: 
‘In the direction of our dreams’ 
‘Creating the future’ 
‘Learning for Life’ 
‘We do more than teach. We Inspire’ 
‘An indestructible school for boys’ – this is a winning combination that conjures up both timelessness and an unwavering purpose.

8 Use your logo consistently
Reiteration of brand builds awareness. Here are ideas for repeated exposure.
Put your logo boldly on everything to create a ‘together’ look - stationery, uniforms, vehicles, buildings, publications, brochures and websites.
Position it prominently on your advertising. 
When you deal with business partners and sponsors, print your logo on reports and proposals – on the cover and the footer of every page. 
Use the logo to design a suite of award certificates Position the logo as the stamp and use different coloured paper to signify levels of achievement. 
Your logo can also be made into merit stickers. 
Add it to your honour boards, sports equipment, shade marquees, school and house flags, medals, keyrings and other memorabilia. 
Mould your logo into chocolates which you can box and use as special gifts.
Get your logo out into the open. Have it in the newspapers, on books, on fridges and at every event. Make it bold and put it on a pedestal so that people recognise your visual signature at a glance.

9 Control the design
Once you have decided on the look you want, set a standard in writing. Prepare a manual called a Style Guide (reference: The School Style Guide by Linda Vining and Lynette Eggins)
In your Style Guide you can define the school’s image symbols and how they should  be used. Specify fonts, spacing, borders and the colour of inks. Indicate clearly where the logo must be positioned on stationery and how all the elements of the design fit together. Show an example of the crest block. 
Issue computer templates to every member of the school. Don’t forget the accounts department, parent organisations and your alumni groups. Insist on standardised usage. 
Computers have made it ever so easy for people to modify corporate designs so you need to keep strict control over the use of all aspects of the school’s corporate identity or it can easily revert to old copy and individualised interpretations.         
          
10 . Provide substance to backup image
A new logo cannot miraculously fix a school’s image problems. It cannot make your school into something it is not. A good product, reflected in the classroom, the front office and the principal’s domain will add substance to your visual image. Your logo is your signature and your calling card. It’s up to you to make sure the memory is positive.


About the author
Dr Linda Vining was Director and Founder of the Centre for Marketing Schools (CMS). 
For other marketing strategies see Linda’s book  'PURPLE POWER for Memorable School Marketing'.
A useful how-to-guide available from CMS is the book The School Style Guide by Linda Vining and Lynette Eggins. 
© Copyright applies – It is illegal to email this article to anyone else or to reproduce any part of it without the permission of the Centre for Marketing Schools.

Satisfaction With Kindergarten

School Satisfaction for Kindergarten Families Kindergarten is the starting point for a long and happy relationship with your school; or so you hope ! When a primary school conducted a kindergarten survey to measure parent satisfaction it unearthed a few surprises.
Suspicion that everything was not rosy in the kindergarten patch prompted the principal of a primary school to contact me about ways to measure the satisfaction level of kindergarten parents. The principal had picked up negative vibes on the grapevine and she wanted quantitative data to determine if the problems were widespread and where intervention may be needed. 

Carpark comments suggested that parents were concerned that children were not learning enough, that there was too much play and not enough substance. Some parents were saying they wanted more information on what their children were learning, more reading, and more instruction on how they could help at home. Communication between home and school seemed to be a thorny issue. 

The school had put a lot of effort into a new orientation program for both children and parents and the principal was keen to know the impact of these initiatives on parents. Was the peer support program a success? Were relationships between parents and teachers good? Did parents feel welcome at the school? Did parents want to receive information by email?  Did they use the internet? Was the newsletter relevant?

It was time to do some market research.


Design of questions

The language used to talk to kindergarten parents and the concepts to explore are quite different from surveys for older members of the school community. The CMS kindergarten questionnaire was designed by CMS and a team of early childhood educators intent on gaining data for management decisions and staff training. 

Busy parents are deterred by a long, detailed questionnaire, so this is a simple but concise survey using multiple-choice questions. A few written-response questions are included to confirm the positive aspects of the school and uncover any areas of dissatisfaction. The survey takes 10 minutes to complete. 

The questionnaire evaluates the marketing strategies used by a school to attract kindergarten enrolments. It provides respondents with a range of options as to where a parent may have heard about the kindergarten. 

Finally,  the surveys enquires if the child is going to continue at the school the following year, and, if not, the reasons for withdrawal.

The best time to do a kindergarten survey

Just as kindergarten children are new to school life, so are most of the parents. They arrive with little understanding of school culture and routines, but with very high expectations. Typically kindergarten parents are completely preoccupied with their child, they are inward looking and anxious. It takes them a term or two to adapt to the rhythm of the school and relax in the new environment.

Ideally a kindergarten survey should be administered in Term 2 or 3 when parents have settled in, made friends, developed a relationship with teachers and formed an opinion of the school. This timeframe allows a school to take remedial action if needs be and to respond to any perceived problems.

If a parent is unhappy with any aspect of the school a principal needs to know about it as soon as possible, otherwise dissatisfaction has a tendency to circulate in the carpark where it gathers momentum. If you can arrest dissatisfaction early you are more likely to build a very happy band of parents who become your best advocates through word-of-mouth promotion.  

What the survey revealed

Overall, the parents in this case study held a positive view of their school, and when respondents were asked to write down what they would say to others to describe the school, the words - caring, safe, happy, friendly and helpful teachers - came up over and over again. 

However, there was an undercurrent of dissatisfaction that confirmed the principal’s suspicions. Problems centred largely on communication between home and school, timely announcements and follow-up about parents’ concerns. 

In the free response section parents offered helpful suggestions that related to practical issues in the playground, canteen and carpark.

Alarmingly, 17% of the families indicated they would not be returning next year. This enrolment exodus was a threat, especially as the school is located in a district with plenty of educational choice where each school must work hard to maintain its market share. 

Reasons for withdrawal were identified in the responses.

The survey allowed the principal to see herself through the parents’ eyes which proved to be different from her self-perception. Parents said they would like the principal to be more approachable and accessible. The principal realised she needed to be seen more frequently in the kindergarten area, to smile more, be friendly and chat with new parents.

An unexpected discovery was that parents with more than one child at the school used the survey to comment on other classes, other teachers, other problems and policies that related to older children. This provided a clear indication that these parents wanted a voice on other issues. As a result, the principal is planning to undertake a CMS Parent Survey across the whole school.

Effectiveness of marketing strategies for kindergarten enrolments

At the beginning of the year the school had undertaken a marketing campaign to attract kindergarten enrolments. This included advertisements in local papers, new signage and a letterbox drop. The principal was keen to gauge the effectiveness of these promotional tools, so the section of the survey that determines the success of these marketing strategies was of particular interest to her and her marketing assistant.

One question gave several options as to where parents had heard about the school. Not surprisingly, word-of-mouth came out on top. All responses were graphed so the school could see where it was getting a good response for its promotional effort. 


Putting the findings to work

The findings from this survey turn raw data into useful intelligence and provide valuable information that can be used in a number of ways to show:

Areas for improvement 
Feedback can be a catalyst for the school to question how things are being done, if needs are being satisfied, if service delivery could be better, and if the school’s outcomes are as desirable as the school would wish. 

A window into the respondent’s mind 
Parents are likely to be vocal ‘authorities’ about their school, so it is imperative to know their opinions– the good and the bad; what they want from the school and what they will say about the school to the outside world.

The pulling power of your competition
Information provided about other schools that students will be attending (in preference to yours) and their reasons for leaving, provides data on your competitors.  

Benchmark for further research
Market research should prompt change. Ongoing research from year to year can indicate a changing pattern of perceptions which can be an effective method of evaluation to see if the changes that have been introduced are having the desired effect.

Survey availability

The Centre for Marketing Schools Kindergarten Survey is available for sale as a package that contains a questionnaire, data entry, analysis and a report. 
Centre for Marketing Schools has a menu of affordable surveys designed especially for schools so you can examine the satisfaction levels of different sectors of the school community - parents, students and staff.

About the author
Dr Linda Vining was Director and Founder of the Centre for Marketing Schools (CMS). 
For more information on marketing strategies see Linda’s book  Purple Power for memorable school marketing
© Copyright applies – It is illegal to email this article to anyone else or to reproduce any part of it without the permission of the Centre for Marketing Schools.

Marketing to the Only-Child Family

As families downsize due to economic pressures, dual working parents and the rise in children born by IVF (usually just one precious gift), the micro family is widespread. The only-child is a special market demographic. What can your school offer the parents and the offspring of this growing market? 
Lily Brownwood, a primary school teacher has noticed an increasing number of only-children in her school. “We see the trend with our younger families,” says Mrs Brownwood. “Women who establish themselves in a career before having children often find little time left on their biological clock to have more than one baby.”

The use of assisted reproductive technology is also a growing trend. A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing reveals that 3.3 percent of Australian babies are made this way. Statistically this means that an IVF child is likely to be in every classroom. 

Characteristics of the only-child 

My market research with parents of an only-child agree that a good education is an essential investment in their child. Many spoke of the self-denial they endure to enable their only-child to go to a good school and to have whatever was needed to fit in with the other kids. With just one child to raise they are willing and able to pay the price. This makes parents of only-children very attractive customers for any school.

If schools are going to cater for the micro family they need to understand the characteristics of this market segment. 

I am the mother of an only-child and married to a man with single-child status, so I have a keen interest in the characteristics of the only-child and their special needs. 

Over two decades ago I began research on this subject, interviewing parents and children from single-child families and their teachers. This lead me to conclude that the stereotypical, attention-grabbing, foot-stamping, tantrum throwing only-child is a myth. 

My research findings paint a profile of the only-child as self-assured, mature, knowledgeable, and one who knows how to get its own way. This derives largely from the closeness that only-children have with their parents and other adults. 

Generally speaking, I have found that parents of only-children raise their child thoughtfully. 

Teachers say that the only-child tends to show sensitivity at school. 

“From my experience, the only-child works hard to please their teachers and they hunger for recognition for good effort,” said Mrs Brownwood.

 “I find that only-children are intuitive and responsive because they are used to mixing with adults and they seem better able to respond to non-verbal cues, such as angry body language. They know when to disappear!”

Mrs Brownwood notices that only-children in her class have a tendency to be peer leaders. She believes that they are self-sufficient and are used to directing their own show and getting their own way from an early age.

“As young as kindergarten I see onlies skillfully manipulating the group to do what they want,” she says. 

Maree Avoca grew up as an only-child in a dysfunctional family. As a child she remembers that she clung to her teachers. “I’m gregarious by nature and I longed to be close to my teachers because I didn’t have anyone else. I craved their attention and approval. School provided great relief for me from the hurt of rejection I received at home.”

Tuning into the needs of the only-child 

Only-children are quick to point out the advantages of growing up without siblings. But parents are concerned about shortcomings that schools need to recognise and discuss when developing strategies to attract the single-child family.

Many parents are painfully aware of the stereotype of the over-indulged, self-centred brat. They know the dangers of being over-protective, or too fussy, or too wrapped up in their child. 

Concerns about child abductions and lack of neighbourhood spirit dictates that only-children are often confined to the indoors and tend to have an electronic ‘friend’ to wile away their leisure hours. This worries parents who often express the desire for their child to be part of an active school community with its focus on team endeavour, creative initiative, discipline and responsibility for one’s actions.

So what can schools offer this niche market? 

It may not be necessary to change the school’s provision in any way to appeal to this market, but you will undoubtedly need to assess the needs of the only-child and empathise with this market in a sensitive way, placing emphasis on the activities and values from your wide school menu that fit the needs of this particular group.

A good place to start is to address the emotional concerns of parents about loneliness. 

By providing a variety of clubs and extra curricula activities that keep students busy, a school can offer a healthy way of coping with loneliness and onliness. 

School-initiated opportunities for the only-child to foster meaningful relationships with other students and develop a sense of belonging to a community are an attractive proposition for this target market.  See “Ten Things Your School Can Offer The Only-Child” below.

In terms of pastoral care and discipline, a school would do well to emphasise the school’s philosophy regarding tolerance for others, friendly competitiveness, team spirit and caring for others through service-based- activities, such as reading programs, peer support schemes and community assistance.

While a generalised picture of the only-child can be helpful in understanding this niche market, it is important that a school explores the individual characteristics of each only-child and the parents’ perceived needs. For example, the idea of co-operative learning may be attractive to some only-children, but it is equally likely that onlies will prefer solitary pursuits such as computer-based activities, photography, reading and be less interested in group activities and team sports.

It is up to the school to find out about each child and match the school’s features to the needs of the individual. This is the essence of good marketing.


Ten Things Your School Can Offer The Only-Child

A wide range of activities such as clubs and hobbies where the only-child spends leisure time productively and meets other children and staff
Provision of extra subjects and coaching, such as music, drama, art lessons
Sporting activities that involve the only-child in team sports
Programs that provide leadership opportunities and teach delegation and sharing of responsibility
Debating & public speaking where the general knowledge of an only-child is an asset
Holiday and after school activities that keep the only-child occupied out-of-school hours
Pastoral care and discipline that fosters school and community spirit and effectively deals with bullying and teasing. School
School initiated opportunities to develop relationships with other like-minded students that might relate to cultural background, intellectual ability, sporting prowess
You may be able to offer weekly boarding or casual boarding to suit the only-child
Parent seminars that cover managing peer relationships, coping with conflict and living with an adolescent. Parents of an only-child often ask, “What is ‘normal behaviour’ because they do not have past experience to draw upon


About the author

Dr Linda Vining was the Director of Marketing Schools 

Copyright applies – It is illegal to reproduce any part of this article without the permission of the Centre for Marketing Schools

PR for Student Hosts

Train School Students Hosts | Important PR Skills For School Students Students can make excellent hosts and guides at school functions, but, if you are going to use them as image ambassador you need to train them in the social arts. They will be confident school representatives if they understand the role of the host and the basic social rules of mixing and mingling.
Meet ‘n’ Greet functions abound at schools. I attend many where I often observe students who lack the social skills to cope with the occasion. There they stand, clumped together for personal security, unsure of their role, unskilled at socialising with a group of strangers, holding plates of food that are going cold because they do not know how to break through the invisible screen that surrounds chatting adults. 

At one school function, prefects were simply told to show up for an orientation day for prospective scholarship holders. The only instruction they received was to “look smart”. When visiting parents started to ask questions about scholarships and the academic standards of the school, the students lacked factual information. They were unaware of the focus of the event or to whom to refer parents. One boy confided to me afterwards that he felt so inept he quietly slipped to the periphery of the group hoping nobody would engage him in further conversation. 

Social skills are learned. If your school claims it teaches life-skills, leadership skills and communication skills, a social function is an opportunity to demonstrate these skills in action. The following tips will help equip your students with the public relations tools needed for impressive social engagement.

Brief the school students

It’s not enough to draw up a list of gregarious students and tell them, “Just greet visitors and show them around”. Students will be more confident if they know who will be present, why the school is holding the function and the part they are expected to play.


Explain the job of the school student host

Students fortunate to grow up in a sociable family will see their parents acting as hosts and using interpersonal skills. Unfortunately, many young people miss out on this experience at home, but their school can teach them these valuable relationship skills. So what does a host do? A host makes others feel at ease. A host circulates amongst the group and chats in a friendly way. A host remembers names and introduces people to each other. A host looks out for peoples’ needs, such as giving directions, finding a seat, providing something to eat or drink or someone to talk to. A host supplies relevant information such as a fact sheet, a map, a program. . . .


Prepare a self-introduction

Most visitors suffer high levels of social anxiety when they enter a scene full of strangers and move out of their comfort zone. Tell your students to look out isolated couples and singles who greatly welcome conversation with a friendly member of the school. The art for your students is to know how to start the conversation. 

A sure fire approach is for a student to go up to visitors with a smile on his/her face and a ready introduction which can be followed by a question, such as: “Hello, I’m Peter Brown. Is this your first visit to our school?”

While this may sound simple, shy students need practice before the event so they feel secure about their method of approach, their voice and their body language. 

Penetrating large groups is more challenging. A huddle of adults engaged in a lively conversation is difficult to enter, but there are techniques that enable one to move into conversation with a group. For example, when the group is talking, a student can approach gently and position himself close to the edge. He should use facial contact to show that he is interested in the chat, and when he feels himself included, either by eye contact or verbal acknowledgement, he can make a comment and join in the conversation.


Initiate small talk

Conversation is a two way process and students need to learn how to pass the conversation back and forth. 

Small talk is a perfectly acceptable way of warming up a conversation. Common topics include the weather, comments on a speech just heard, observations about a new building, or the results of a sporting match. 

Students need to arrive at a function with a few conversation starters in mind. For example, “How did you enjoy the swimming carnival on Saturday, the jazz night, the . . .”

Other openers include non-intrusive questions such as: “Are you a former student of the school? What class is your son/daughter in? Do you live close to the school? 

These simple questions help people find common ground and reflect on similar experiences. 

Remind students that their negative comments or putdowns, even in jest, are not appropriate at such functions as they may be misinterpreted by visitors who do not understand the culture of the school or the humour of the student.

Be aware of body language

Students need a few pointers about body language so that they appear relaxed, yet confident. They may need to practice standing firmly on two feet with their legs slightly apart and their arms loosely at their side. Make sure students know that the pillars are there to hold up buildings, not nervous students! And no hiding behind the shrubbery or in the shadows. 

When in conversation, eye contact, nodding and smiling will aid the flow of casual talk.


Disengage gracefully

Many people feel uncomfortable ending a conversation and moving away. Give your students the license to do so by explaining that social occasions are designed for people to circulate. The idea is NOT to engage in deep conversation with one group for the duration of the event. Equip them with the conversational phrases to disengage politely. 

The simplest way is to finish a sentence and say, “It’s been nice talking to you.” Smile and move away. Another line is, “I see Mrs Jones over there and I must say hello”, or “I’d better keep moving and serve drinks to the other guests.” 


Remember names

Using a person’s name is an important social skill. 

Teach students to focus on name badges and give them some tips clues for remembering names. One way to do this is to say the name aloud a couple of times to reinforce the sound. “Hello Mr Howe.” And a little later, “What did you think of the netball match on the weekend Mr Howe?” 

Connecting a name with a physical characteristic helps link the name with the face. For example, Mrs Greenacre with the green colour of her dress. Or a personal characteristic; Mr Howe will show you Howe to get things done!

And after the function it’s a real bonus if students can remember the names of adults they met and use them next time they see the person.

Know the facts

School students who are guides, (for example on open days or tours) need factual information. A pre-function briefing should tell them the purpose of the function and the nature of the audience. 
Students should be familiar with the school’s history, the number of students enrolled, subjects offered, scholarships ,upcoming events, internet access etc. They need to know where to send parents for more detailed information. 

They also need practice at introducing parents to staff using eye contact and correct protocol. For example, “Mr and Mrs Jones, this is our principal, Ms Jackson.”

Know how to respond to rejection

Most social situations at schools are pleasant functions because guests are supportive of young people, but youngsters or teenagers who are extending themselves to others are vulnerable to rudeness, mockery, disinterest or humour that hurts. Your students should be prepared for this. The best advice to give your students is to say nothing and move away. 

Similarly, students, particularly girls, need to know how to act and what to say if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation with a stranger.


Serve food confidently

Serving food is an art in itself, somewhat different from the role of a general host or tour guide. 

Often a platter-bearer needs to push into and withdraw from a socially tight group. Assertiveness is linked with the job and students need to know that they can interrupt to deliver refreshments.

Hovering in the background waiting for an opening can be ineffectual. Equally, they need to gauge when people have had enough to eat and withdraw.

Students serving food should be polite but not get caught up in conversation. Their job is to circulate widely and to distribute the food evenly and quickly. 

Short simple words are sufficient “Would you like a drink?” said with a smile. 

Serving students should not be eating or drinking themselves or touching the food.(If possible, it’s a good idea to feed the students a sample of the food before the event). Their fingernails and hands should be clean, uniforms spotless and long hair tied back.

A school student briefing before a function is a valuable investment of time for an image conscious school and also a practical learning experience for a student.

About the author
Dr Linda Vining was the Director of the Centre for Marketing Schools (CMS).  For other marketing strategies see Linda’s book PURPLE POWER for memorable school marketing.
© Copyright applies – It is illegal to email this article to anyone else or to reproduce any part of it without the permission of the Centre for Marketing Schools

The Courage to Appraise the Principal

School Principal Survey Appraisal | Professional School Principal Review While some school principals may feel threatened when required to undergo the rigours of performance appraisal, the process can invariably prove beneficial for a school leader. 
Progressive schools will realise that accountability and transparency of the principal’s actions are an essential feature of good management. As a result, governing boards a resetting requirements for the principal’s performance, and these they seek to measure objectively.

When Robyn Kronenberg took up the position of Principal at St Michael’s Collegiate School in Hobart her contract stated that, within six months of commencing the job, a process for performance appraisal was to be agreed upon, implemented and completed within18 months of her appointment. 

The appraisal would be used to identify areas for professional development, set future goals and review salary.

It’s a courageous thing to appraise oneself,’ says Dr Vining. Too often in the past, a performance appraisal consisted of the chairman of the board having a casual chat with the principal over lunch.

 This approach fails to review past performance systematically and to set specific objectives for the following year.’

Principals are under enormous pressure to perform, especially those new to a post. It takes open-minded principals to submit to appraisal and to admit that they are not an expert on everything.

Briefly, performance appraisal is the last thing a new principal wants to think about, but when Robyn Kronenberg accepted the leadership position at St Michael’s Collegiate School in Hobart, part of her contract was an appraisal process that was to be determined and implemented in her first eighteen months.Robyn contacted Dr Linda Vining at the Centre for Marketing Schools.Dr Vining had designed many market research instruments specifically for schools and together they developed a unique appraisal instrument which is now available to other school leaders.

Indeed, a good appraisal will reveal areas where principals may need to concentrate effort, or undertake professional training to improve their skills,’ she said. 

While some principals may feel threatened by the call to greater accountability, Robyn Kronenberg said she was keen to conduct a peer review and to learn what the board and the senior management team thought of her as an educational leader. 

I am very much in favour of formative appraisal processes that can guide improvement in practice, style and leadership,’ she said.


Pressure to perform

Governing school boards, parents, staff and students expect the principal to be a perfect manager of people ,learning, staff, operations and budgets. But principals are not perfect and it is of great assistance to know where we can improve our  performance,’ said  Robyn. 

She was aware of three main pressures in her first year.

Firstly, she was following in the steps of a long-standing head. Being new, she had to establish personal and working relationships with many different segments of the school community and earn their confidence. 

I wanted to be accepted by as many people as I could and to give them a chance to get to know me. But this takes time.’

Secondly, she arrived in June and was expected to introduce change by the following year – so she had only six months to get a feeling for the school and set up changes in the management structure.

Thirdly, there was the pressure she put upon herself.  There was so much she wanted to do, but establishing the processes for change takes time. 

Robyn felt she was managing the pressures competently but she wanted assurance that others felt so too. She looked to the appraisal to provide objective feedback. 

St Michael’s Collegiate School had used Centre for Marketing Schools surveys before to measure the perceptions of their final year students Year 12 Survey and the perceptions of their parents Parent Survey. From this experience it was obvious that a professionally designed questionnaire that was succinct but probing, and with an attractive layout, would achieve a high response rate.

There were also other criteria that needed to be met. In any evaluation of a principal by the staff and governors, the respondents must be absolutely sure of their anonymity or they will not speak openly. Robyn recognised that quality responses that were meaningful and sincere were most likely to be obtained by using a market researcher who was independent of the school and who guaranteed confidentiality. 

Delivery of findings was another consideration. In the past, Centre for Marketing Schools had delivered the findings in a report that was statistically sound but short, to-the-point, and easy to interpret. Robyn sought a similar reporting process that was easy for all to understand.

Once these considerations were affirmed, the principal’s appraisal began to take shape and the survey was arranged in three sections under the headings: About the Principal, About the School, and About You.

It was important for the board to determine that the principal was competent at managing the operations, as well as the teaching and the learning functions of the school. So the section titled About the Principal explored views on the principal as an educational leader, relationships, professional capabilities, strategic planning, financial management, leadership of staff, the care of students, communication skills, implementation of marketing strategies and effectiveness as a change manager. 

The questionnaire was distributed to all 10 board members, the 12 staff members on the senior management team (SMT), and to the principal herself. 

Robyn filled in a survey to compare her perceptions of herself with other people’s perceptions, in particular comparing what the governing board and the SMT collectively had to say.  Robyn’s responses were graphed alongside the other responses using a colour code to display variations. Written comments were collated so that patterns could be discerned between similar positive responses and similar negative comments.

The findings were delivered to the principal plus a committee of three, composed of the chairman of the board and two other board members. This ensured that the results were confidential and contained.


Putting the School Principal Review findings to work

A performance appraisal provides a school with a firm basis for salary negotiation. It signals transparency of operations. It confirms the strengths of the principal and identifies any weakness in skills that can guide the principal towards professional development. 

Robyn said the findings reminded her of the need to be careful of people’s sensitivities and how she deals with them, the need for active listening, actions to ensure that staff feel valued, and the need to manage the pace of change. 

She said the process helped the board crystallize a set of realistic and improved goals for the future.

As an immediate outcome, Robyn was motivated to write down her goals for the following year in the areas of leadership, teaching and learning, pastoral care, communication, and goals for herself, which incorporated time to reflect, and ways to manage her time more carefully. 

But one of the greatest benefits of the whole exercise,’ she said, was that the board and the senior management team put a lot of thinking into the appraisal process, which made them more aware of the complex nature of the principal’s role’.


About the author
Robyn Kronenberg is Principal of St Michael Collegiate School in Hobart. Prior to taking up this appointment in 2003 Robyn was Deputy Principal at Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School in Victoria.   Dr Linda Vining was the Director of the Centre for Marketing Schools.  She has designed a range of surveys to assist schools.
THE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATIONAL LEADER 2 - 2005 

The Rule of 3

The Rule Of 3 In School Marketing | Keep Your Marketing Simple When I was a child and my mother sent me to the local shop for groceries she would ask me to remember three items. If she wanted more than three things she would write me a list. That’s because she understood the rule of three. 
The human brain can remember three things easily. It’s why good speeches are peppered with lists of three items: William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar called ‘Friends, Romans, and Countrymen’.

 George W Bush used three ‘F’ words in his election campaign – ‘Family, Faith and Flag’. In fact, he used it in nearly all of his speeches, because it is so easy to remember. 

Winston Churchill in his famous speech said, ‘I can promise you Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears’. Yes, that’s actually a list of four, but because we remember three things best, it is usually quoted as ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’.

From politics to nursery rhymes we see the rule of three in action. Think of childhood stories - Three little pigs, Three blind mice, Goldilocks and the three bears. And have you heard the joke: ‘There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman ...’

Religion refers to Father, Son and Holy Spirit and then again to Faith, Hope and Love. 

Put simply, no matter what you’re calling it, if you want to get across a message, the best way to deliver it is in a run of three. Here are three ways to apply the rule of three to school marketing. 

Presentations  1. 

If you’re going to get up and talk about your school, odds are that people will only remember three things from your presentation, so before you even start, plan your three key messages. Next time you give a talk ask yourself – if there are only three points I’d like my audience to take away, what are they? Once you have these in mind, structure your talk around the three key messages and illustrate each point. 

I recently attended an oration where the guest speaker – a Principal - covered so much ground and gave so many quotes and policy statements that I came away completely bamboozled. After her talk, as I mingled with the audience over drinks, and I asked different people to comment on the most important points they would take away. Not one person could give me three points. It seems that very little synthesis of ideas took place in the minds of the audience. There was just too much to absorb. If only the speaker had known about the rule of three. 

Just as you can identify three main messages you want to leave in an audience’s mind so you should have three distinct parts to your presentation – the beginning, the middle and the end. The beginning is the hook or the icebreaker. The middle expands and illustrates your three key points, and the end is the wrap up that should summarise your three points and leave the audience feeling inspired and/or challenged. As the speech experts say: Tell the audience what you are going to say, then say it, then tell them what you said. There it is again – the rule of three. 


Advertising  2. 

Lists of three are particularly useful in advertising. Think of some memorable jingles: ‘A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play’ or the very effective sunscreen slogan: ‘Slip, Slap, Slop’.

When preparing your ads list three benefits – no more – and when taking promotional photographs limit the composition to three people per picture. If you are using bullet points stick to the magic number. It’s easy for the eye to take in and easy for the brain to recall.

Image Objectives  3. 

When I run staff workshops on improving customer relations I guide staff members to come up with their own customer relations creed that they can all live by. A good example of the rule of three comes from the school who formulated the creed: We will pull together through communication, co-ordination and co-operation - a simple and memorable statement that’s easy for everyone to remember and practice.

It’s the same when you are setting your image objectives. Work on three things you want to plant in the minds of your marketplace. For example, from Emmanuel College Warrnambool in Victoria: ‘We encourage a sense of identity, a sense of faith and a sense of enjoyment.’

So many schools I work with have such complex mission statements, with multiple ideals expressed in long sentences, that staff cannot repeat them back to me. A smart school marketer will translate these complex statements into three clear marketing objectives and narrow them down so that everyone can remember the school’s mission in everything they do. For example, the King’s School in Sydney clearly states repeatedly that it specialises in boys’ education, residential care, leadership training. 

The rule of three makes it easy to express your ideas in a memorable way. Mind you it isn’t always rosy. It didn’t help Guy Fawkes; he was hung, drawn and quartered!

About the author
Dr Linda Vining was the Director of Marketing Schools
Source:  Official Journal of The Australian Council for Educational Leaders

Community Relations: using volunteers to stretch your resources

Using School Volunteers To Build Community Relations Who organises special events? Who runs the alumni association? Who updates the website? Who prepares your Open Day? Is it you?
If so, you are probably overworked and trying to juggle too many balls.

You need some help.  A good place to start is with a band of volunteers in the marketing office. If managed the right way, volunteer parents will contribute endless hours in unpaid work
To keep a team of volunteers returning week after week by choice, is not done by chance, You have to understand the dynamics of the volunteer workforce.

As a research project, I talked to more than 160 school volunteers - parents and non-parents, working in government and non-government schools, representing all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, aged from early 20s to 80s.

I asked them what turned volunteers on and what turned them off, what degree of satisfaction they felt and what must schools do to get the best out of the volunteer’s gift of time. 

The message was clear. Volunteers are eager to improve the outcomes of the school but they are turned off when they arrive to find doors locked, poor information on what they should do, broken equipment, unproductive meetings, lack of coordination and too much standing around.

Most of all, volunteers want to know that their efforts are appreciated. Some volunteers told me they never see the principal. Others said, “Staff don’t seem to realise that a thank you and a pat on the back are powerful motivators.”

Most schools have no idea of the valuable resource they have in their unpaid workforce. Schools rarely keep a register of volunteers or the number of hours they work.

When marketing manager David Durante developed a volunteer register for his small school of 285 students he calculated that 75 families gave a total of 140 volunteer hours a week. That added up to a staggering 5,600 hours per school year. If you calculate a helper’s time at say $20 per hour the volunteer contribution worked out at a notional value of $112,000 per year.

But dollars alone cannot measure the volunteers’ contribution. At one school, a widely acclaimed artist and parent painted a mural on a school wall to celebrate Book Week. Her efforts encouraged other talented parents to paint murals on other walls, and now the foyers and corridors of the school are resplendent with characters from books and other imaginings.

The myth that the volunteer is a bored middle-class housewife is out dated. More recently, volunteers comes from the ranks of the fully employed or part-time employed. 

In years gone by parents had little involvement with schools. They only went when summonsed by the principal to discuss their child’s misdemeanours. By contrast, today’s parents feel a strong sense of responsibility for raising funds to provide resources for their child’s school. 

Another trend relates to collaborative decision making. Today’s parents believe that policy making should be shared within the community. Where parents are bypassed, a feeling of resentment surfaces. Good community relations requires that parents are engaged with the school at many different levels.

Different parents are suited to different jobs. In the marketing office, you have an array of tasks to offer, from a simple job like cutting clippings about the school from the newspapers, to running a major function, such as an art show which draws the community together in a big way.

A volunteer committee of former students could run an association of former students. and be engaged  in tasks such as managing a database, writing a newsletter and arranging functions. 

Then there are parents who may be suited to fundraising, career guidance and running parenting seminars.

A marketing manager who knows the occupations of the parent body can often find a parent to make a banner, produce memorabilia, design publications and provide other assistance.

Parent volunteers can be particularly helpful at expos. A roster of helpers will relive you of answering constant enquiries. It can save the school a huge amount in terms of staff on duty. Volunteers can also help you transport gear and provide assistance for the setup.

The trick is to find the right job for each volunteer job. 

Volunteers who work in instructional roles say it helps them understand the education system and keep in touch with teachers.

David Fry who runs a Learning Together Program at his school has developed a volunteer program to assist his students with learning disabilities. David has a loyal troop of about 20 volunteers. He says that students who suffer learning difficulties commonly lack a positive home life so the volunteers are priceless, not only as reading tutors, but as caring role models.

“Giving feedback to volunteers is vitally important to keep them motivated. So too are written instructions and a handbook,” he believes. 

Volunteers agree. Eighty six per cent of volunteers in my survey said they would like to see schools use a more business like approach to the management of their unpaid workforce. They voted for job descriptions that state the hours the school requires their help, better instructions, training for helpers and a school coordinator to turn to if there’s a problem.

A parent who co-ordinates the canteen at her school said that many people will not volunteer to help because they think the task is beyond them and they are afraid of failing or looking stupid, particularly when they have to add up money quickly in the school’s canteen and give the correct change. 

People can also find the time demands of voluntary work too long and difficult to fit into a busy working life. 

When a school asks a parent to work from 10 am to 2 pm, the school takes most of the day. Shorter shifts are needed and a clear outline of expectations.

Professional people who cannot help during working hours will often be available to speak at a careers evening or give time to a weekend function. 

The promise of doing something meaningful for a school is an attractive use of a volunteer’s time.

There are lots of jobs for volunteers at a school, and there are lots of parents willing to give up their precious time, but there needs to be management structures in place to retain and motivate a volunteer workforce.

About the author
Dr Linda Vining was the Director of the Centre for Marketing Schools (CMS).  For more advice on managing volunteers get a copy of her book Working With Volunteers In Schools

Why a School Family Quits

Why Do Families Leave A School? Family Exit Surveys Can Help Why does a family quit your school? Is it something you have done; or not done? Is there some dissatisfaction that you should know about? Has another school won them over? A family exit survey can uncover honest answers.
A school makes a huge investment in each student over a number of years so it comes as a disappointment - even a shock, when a family tells you they are leaving. Apart from the emotional loss, a departure diminishes your market share, impacts on class size, can affect staff allocation, and, for fee-paying schools, reduces income.

Therefore, it is essential to find out why a family decides to leave; but often it is difficult to get honest answers. Some parents are too polite to tell you the real reason. Others may not wish to disclose personal information or make accusations. 

A well-constructed survey provides an effective marketing tool to gather data that will help you understand the reasons behind a family’s decision to withdraw. 

A School exodus crisis

Some years ago, towards the close of Term 4, I received a distressed phone call from an enrolment officer announcing a crisis that faces many schools at the end of the year when they count up the number of families who have handed in their resignations. 

The school had tallied the non-returning families and the enrolment picture was frightening. The School Council was calling for an explanation for the haemorrhage. Everybody was ducking for cover, denying they were to blame. The Council was questioning why classroom teachers had not alerted the school to parents’ complaints. Why had discontent been covered up until now when it was too late to take remedial action? 

The Council was demanding hard data, but measurement tools and statistical analysis were non-existent. In its place were guesses to account for the exodus, opinions and supposition. 

The school needed to rapidly undertake market research, so we set about designing an instrument to gather accurate feedback. 


Exit Survey - Why Families Leave

There are always a variety of reasons a family leaves a school.  They can include but are not limited to:

Pulling power of other schools 
Misunderstanding 
Poor results 
Discipline problems 
Subject choices 
Financial 
Leaving area 
Complaints 
Bullying 

Developing a measurement tool

It can be awkward to ask a family a series of confronting questions at the time they hand in a resignation. Usually the family wants to depart with a minimum of fuss, so you need to broach the subject with sensitivity. Also, you don’t want ugly criticism from a disgruntled parent to threaten other members of the school, or the school’s reputation, yet you need factual data on which to base management decisions. 

These were some of the considerations that guided me in the design of a sensitive yet searching instrument to measure reasons for departure. 

An exit survey was developed that contained 35 easy multiple-choice questions, some short answer questions and a section of questions with a range of options on possible reasons why a family may decide to withdraw from a school. 

The survey is short and succinct and designed to be completed in 10 minutes. 

From a marketing perspective, it is also insightful to know the new school the family has selected, and to look at patterns about school choice, so data gathering of this nature is sought. Is another school targeting your population? 


Administering the School Exit survey

It can be difficult to obtain information from a family who is leaving as they have lost their commitment to the institution and often do not want to invest more time; therefore a well worded letter and a simple, short survey that is easy to administer and retrieve works best. 

Anonymity and confidentiality encourage a much higher response rate and more honest answers. 

Families leave at any time of the year and it is wise to have an exit survey in your top drawer that can be sent to them as soon as you receive their notice. 


Why school families leave

Centre for Marketing Schools has conducted many exit surveys for a range of schools and can detect a pattern as to why parents withdraw from a school. 

Frequently I see that the findings from the surveys do not match the assumed reasons given by the school for the exodus they are experiencing. 

For example, a common assumption/ excuse for withdrawal given by schools is that the families who are leaving the school are leaving the district. 

Results indicate that relocation is not a dominant reason. School performance holds a much stronger position. 

Fee-paying schools commonly equate a withdrawal with a failure in the financial capacity of the departing family to pay the fees. 

In Centre for Marketing Schools surveys this does not appear to be a dominant reason, as parents frequently reveal that their newly selected school demands equal or higher financial contributions. The feedback does show that financial considerations are clearly on the minds of discerning parents who shop around and compare schools. 


So what are the most frequent reasons for leaving? 

The three that come out on top are: 
* Staff don’t understand and appreciate my child’s best qualities
* Our concerns/ complaints have not been properly addressed
* The school has not lived up to our expectations. 

Other reasons of lesser statistical significance relate to academic rigour, lax discipline, bullying and subject choices. 

In the written-response section parents are able to add further comments, and here it is possible to pick up on personal issues that apply to a particular family, and deep feelings that have led them to a decision to move. 

Putting the survey findings to work

The findings from this survey provide valuable data that can be used to show: 

Areas for improvement
Feedback can be a catalyst for the school to question how things are being done, if needs are being satisfied, if service delivery could be better, and if the outcomes are as desirable as the school would wish. 

A window into the respondent’s mind
Departing parents are likely to be vocal ‘authorities’ about your school, so it is imperative to know their opinion of your school’s performance – the good and the bad; what they wanted from the school and what they will say about the school to the outside world. 

The pulling power of your competition
Information provided about the schools that students will be attending once they leave your school gives important data for your Competitor Analysis. 

Benchmark for further research
Market research should prompt change. Ongoing research from year to year can indicate a changing pattern of perceptions which can be an effective method of evaluation to see if the changes that have been introduced are having the desired effect. 



About the author 
Dr Linda Vining was the founder of the Centre for Marketing School (CMS). The Family Exit Survey is available from the Centre for Marketing Schools, in both an online or paper format. It is suitable to give to a departing family at any stage of the education process, in any English speaking school.
A complete menu of CMS Surveys, designed especially for schools, can be seen at www.centreformarketingschools.com.au
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We recommend the following affiliates:

School Website Design with CIMarketing

CIMarketing is a school web design specialist, offering you a complete online marketing solution. Let us help you!

As a marketing consultant and Director of the Centre for Marketing Schools I visit a lot of school websites. It's a hobby and a passion. There are some great ones. There are many ordinary ones. Some … well… need major work.

The Centre for Marketing Schools do not build websites… but we certainly know people who do.

Some web designers are graphic designers, others are web marketers. I would recommend the second. Covenant Christian School’s website was created by  former student Mark Barrett of CIMarketing. I have since used Mark and his team personally for several other client websites. They have also built several websites for people who asked for my recommendation.

Mark’s personal knowledge of the school did help the process. Yet it was his experience and expertise as a online marketer which was most important.

The CIMarketing team come up with ideas. They see what's working. They are passionate. They have gone beyond my brief and created, and continued to create, websites that work. Web 2.0 is all about two way interaction rather than a one way presentation of information. CIMarketing build on the Business Catalyst platform owned by Adobe. The platform makes it so much easier to expand and develop. It is worth finding a good platform as otherwise it can really limit your options.

I endorse and recommend the CIMarketing team. They have made this website as well. If you are wanting a website then include them in the discussions. I have been glad we did.

Neil Pierson
Storyteller - Centre for Marketing Schools


Cut the Cost of your School Electricity Lighting

Smart schools are discovering ways to cut costs and at the same time improve the environment. How would your school like to save A$24,000 per year on electricity costs? 

Would that saving put a smile on your Business Manager's face and give you a chance to increase your marketing budget? That is what Covenant Christian School on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is expecting.

Covenant has over 800 students. That means a lot of classrooms and a lot of light bulbs. Actually there were 1,390 fluorescent light tubes. One day a team of technicians explored the school. They were counting light tubes and armed with light meters to record how much light was being generated. Some rooms were brighter than they needed to be. Others were darker. Some rooms had good light in places, but possibly not over the computer keyboards where it most counts for staff on computers.

The team was from the Carbon Reduction Institute. They are passionate about the environment and business minded. They are approved to generate Energy Savings Certificates by the NSW Government. They are proactively helping many organisations, including schools, reduce their carbon footprint - which is great, yet they also save businesses money.

Over a few days in the holidays a team of workers swept through the school changing over the fluorescent light tubes. The new ones are thinner, produce dramatically less heat and create a brighter light. Due to very generous government rebates the overall expense to the school is expected to take less than six months to recoup. From there on it is ongoing electricity savings for the school. The current rebate scheme only applies in NSW Australia. 

If you are interested to know more email Storyteller Neil Pierson > Yes tell me more about CRI

Quick facts:

  • 50% energy savings in common scenarios
  • lasts over 8 times longer than a standard fluorescent tube
  • includes a minimum 2 year warranty

Did you know? - Quick History of Light Bulbs

In 1879 Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan developed the first incandescent lamp. It reportedly lasted a remarkable 13.5 hours. Edison continued experimenting and created filaments which eventually lasted 1,200 hours. The humble lightbulb changed society. 

However in the last decade the Western World has recognised that traditional light bulbs are terribly inefficient in terms of energy use. Only four to six percent of the electrical power was used for visible light. The vast majority was wasted as heat. They literally burnt money. Fortunately many homes have now converted to the more energy efficient compact fluorescent lambs.

Yet schools and businesses don't tend to use lightbulbs. They use traditional long fluorescent lamps.  Developed in the 1930's these use less energy, waste less heat and last 10 to 20 times as long as an incandescent bulb. They were remarkable. Yet sadly little has changed in the design for over 70 years - even with rising electricity costs. Fortunately the New Generation of fluorescent lamps are thinner, use less raw materials to make, save 45% of energy consumption and last longer.

QR Stuff - Harness the power of mobile

Make it easy for the increasing numbers of people surfing the web via mobile to find you. QR Codes are those funny little squares which are popping up everywhere. 

QR stands for Quick Response. Using a smart phone camera the Code is scanned and prompts an action. With increasing number of people accessing the internet via mobile their popularity is set to grow. Scanning a QR Code could open a website, open an email, make a phone call or link direct to an online video. It is a quick and easy way of adding life and interaction to your school marketing materials.

Many websites offer QR Code generators. The Centre for Marketing Schools recommends QR Stuff. QR Stuff enable you to generate, track traffic, and EDIT the action taken. This ongoing flexibility makes it much easier for you as a school marketer. Changing where a QR Code directs the user can means the viewer can always be taken to your latest material.

LogoInn School Logo Design

Need a new School Logo design? Low cost online option. Create a logo for school events, fundraising program.

School Logo Design is Important

Are you wanting a new school logo? Or do you just need a new logo to promote your After School Program? Don’t settle for a boring logo created in Microsoft Word or Publisher. The internet now gives you access to a world of designers at good prices.

A good logo can make a big difference in setting first impressions.  What do people say about your logo? Would they use any of these words:

  • Unprofessional
  • Old fashioned
  • Busy
  • Cluttered
  • Ugly
  • Confusing

If so then whatever people say about the logo they are likely to attribute the same qualities to the entire school.

Changing your main school logo is not something to be treated lightly. As well as the history connected to a logo there are practical considerations to be budgeted for. Stationery, uniform, signage and website would all need to change. I have twice been involved in changing a logo for a corporation. While I loved the process of being presented with loads of designs it was extremely time consuming. Logos are extremely subjective. Rarely will you have a logo that everyone likes – no matter what your budget!

Other Logos for Schools

Schools often have other uses for other less important logos. They are often easier to change.

Having a school fair? A concert? Launching a fundraising drive? A professional logo can often quickly lift first impressions of the school activity.

Over the years I have used the online logo design company LogoInn for four logo projects. LogoInn are based in the UK. Each time I have chosen the ‘Unlimited Package’ as it usually takes quite a few revisions before I sign off on a logo I am happy with.

Advantages of LogoInn for Logo Designs

  • very economical. Their logo design packages are extremely cheap
  • basic stationery of business card, letterhead and email footer is included. This is usually extra with designers
  • includes logo files in all the formats both your printers and staff would need
  • they can also design brochures and websites
Disadvantages
  • designs are rarely ‘outstanding’
  • stationery is basic
  • you may not feel like you deal with ‘people’ as all feedback is via a website (some would say this is an advantage as
  • although changes are made in 48 hours it does slow down the process
  • you need to have some idea of what you do and don’t want for your brief

At Covenant Christian School we wanted to promote the ‘After School Care’ Program. The existing brochure for it did the job but wasn’t very attractive. Having LogoInn design a logo for the brochure lifted its’ whole appearance.

When the school launched online Gifted & Talented / Extension & Enrichment Courses we again turned to LogoInn to create a logo. 

Both our Centre for Marketing Schools and Marketplace Answers logos were created by LogoInn.

For value for money LogoInn are hard to beat. Check them out. Mention you heard about them from Centre for Marketing Schools.

TekSkin

Customised laptop skin for student and staff notebooks. Huge range. Great prices.

Customised School Laptop Skins

Tekskin is a customised skin stuck on the cover / lid of your laptop computer. It is a simple, inexpensive and extremely effective way of branding laptop computers for your school staff and students. When I first saw a Tekskin I was impressed. I was introduced to the idea by a member of the School Marketers Network.

The range of customised designs is HUGE. Your school logo, student name and any information can be individually added to each skin.

Advantages of Tekskins for schools

  • promote your school wherever the laptop goes
  • improved personal ‘ownership’ of laptop computers if students select design
  • less mistakes with students picking up the wrong laptop
  • adds colour to the classroom

How schools choose a laptop skin design

  1. All staff and students receive a standard design – add school logo, name & code # if needed
  2. Select 10 to 20 “School Approved” designs for students and staff to select from

Personally I prefer the second option. Students already wear uniforms – their laptop can be a way to express some of their own personality. Have a class of students pick the top designs for their year group. Make sure there is a mix of males and females. Have someone on staff eliminate any inappropriate ones. Some designs while attractive to students may not be consistent with your branding! Also some may not work with your school logo design. Change some of the mix of designs each year.

Things to watch out for with laptop computer skins

a) Give the exact measurements of your laptop flat surface area. (Laptops come in so many sizes).
b) If the edges are tapered make the skin dimension smaller as you don’t want them peeling off
c) Ask for a sample and attach it to a laptop to check it works
d) Allow time between ordering for printing and adhering them before delivery to students
e) Expect to reorder some as new students come and some skins are damaged

Tip with attaching Tekskin Customised Laptop Skins…

It does take time to peel and correctly adhere the skins to a batch of laptops. It is best done by a team rather than left up to the individual staff member or student.
Steve the owner of Tekskin is easy to deal with. Let him know you heard about Tekskin from the Centre for Marketing Schools.

Ergonomic RESCUE

Improve student & staff posture. Ergonomics is vital for OHS. Many schools are embracing laptop programs yet ignoring the opportunity to train students and staff in ergonomics. Learn more...

SCHOOLS around Australia are riding a worldwide wave of providing laptop computers to both staff and students. State and Federal Governments are also committing millions of dollars to ensure students and staff have access to technology. Yet it appears most are choosing to ignore the single biggest drawback of laptop computers. Neil Pierson owns Ergonomic RESCUE. He claims laptop computers are not designed for humans but rather convenience. He warns schools that “the idea of hinging a computer screen to a keyboard and making it portable sounds ideal, yet it has taken ergonomics back to the poor posture of the 1970’s.”

“Good computer posture is fairly simple” explains Mr Pierson. “An individual needs to raise their screen to a correct height and adjust their keyboard and mouse. Laptops however hinge the screen to the keyboard so remove this essential element of good posture.” With many school students now spending between 9% and 19% of their time on computers reports are indicating an increase in neck pain or discomfort. 

Ergonomic RESCUE has been providing laptop stands to over 400 corporations for several years. The idea is simple. The most popular portable metal stands raise the laptop’s screen to a correct height. Plugging in an external keyboard and mouse retains all the power and convenience of the laptop yet allows the user to adjust everything to suit their height.

Schools are starting to realise ergonomics is a problem. Children’s bones are still being formed until they are 18 or 19 years old. Poor posture at this age can have long term consequences. Over recent years many schools have fortunately addressed the need for ergonomic backpacks. Yet most school children spend more time on a computer than they do carrying their bags. 

Teachers and parents can be the worst role models when it comes to ergonomics claims Mr Pierson. He says “schools are an ideal place to learn about the benefits of good posture yet it starts with teachers. Many adults won’t change their bad habits until their physiotherapist orders them to. If schools and teachers can both train and model good posture the next generation may be able to avoid some of the long term issues.” 

One Sydney school addressing the issue of staff ergonomics is Covenant Christian School in Belrose. When staff were issued with new laptops at the beginning of the year they were offered a portable metal laptop stand. IT Manager Dave de Horne explained “given the reliance and widespread use of laptops we see it as vital that we take care of our staff by providing effective ergonomic options. The previous laptop stands were plastic and were prone to breakage so Ergonomic RESCUE was a great solution for the school.”

The worldwide wave of laptops for businesses and schools is expected to continue. Hopefully other schools will now start taking action and ensure laptop stands are being provided to both their students and staff.

For more details contact Ergonomic RESCUE