I read an article the other day highlighting a schools need to develop their own brand, logo and overall digital image. The article was written by a graphic design/ media buying company so I knew straight away that it would be slightly bias in their argument for re-designing. The first line got to me straight away though, “Effective branding for a school attracts students…” My minds sub-conscious opened up and I immediately remembered an article I had read from the BBC just a month before, “One-third miss first school choice in London as numbers rise”.
Although attracting students is essential for schools, in the UK there is too much demand and not enough supply in some areas of the country, so to say that branding is essential because of this reason isn’t necessarily true. Then I remembered, these folks aren’t in the business of education. They only know what they read and what they see, so I had to cut them some slack.
As I continued to read, I started thinking about the image of a school. My old school was very proud of its logo, its motto and its crisp design. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, but looking back I can see that much time and thought was put into it. Then I started thinking about twitter, and how some schools have taken to social media to present and promote themselves.
Can a better brand lead to a better education?
This is the biggest question. If I find out a school is paying a very large portion of their budget on a ‘brand’ for their school, I would hit the roof. What about improving the computer systems, getting faster WiFi, IWBs, iPads…even spend some money on teacher development? By all means look into your school’s brand, logo, design etc, but don’t prioritise it over other, more important areas that directly lead to raising the attainment of pupils.
On the flip side promoting your school brand can have a very positive effect on your pupils and teachers. They will be proud to wear and represent such an established institution in the classroom and outside it. They will adhere to the high standards that you set and wish your pupils to achieve. All sounds very Independent Schoolish doesn’t it?
And that is where I reach my satisfactory conclusion. There is nothing wrong with developing your school brand effectively. It just shouldn’t be a priority. Budgets should be spent on direct teaching improvements first,in order to raise educational standards within schools. If you have the time or budget to build your brand after this is done, then by all means carry on – because as I have pointed out, it can bring a school closer together through the pride of association and identity.
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