P is for Progress -the missing marketing message in school performance

Schools of all levels, sixth form colleges and universities have risen to the demand that we as parents put upon them, namely to satisfy the thirst for knowledge that helps us determine which seat of learning is the best one for our kids.

We are awash with facts and figures from league tables and examination results that help to confirm the choice of school we would like to put at the top of our list.

Because, let’s face it, we all want to be in a position to get the best for our kids.

Schools have had to accept they need to run themselves more like businesses, meaning increased competition, particularly in secondary and Further Education. It’s clear to see why more marketing spend is appearing on their accounting pages.

Having spent some time as a Chair of Governors at a school, I can’t help think that the one-dimensional message of achievement by virtue of league tables and results does not give parents a true representation of the skills and quality of teaching that exists in their school.

It’s fair to say that if a school delivers students from point of entry to leaving with exceptional grades, we are rightly impressed by their performance based on this achievement. In truth, they have simply delivered to expectation.

We should also be looking at another important dimension…..Progress. Not all schools are in a position to start with expected Grade A or Grade 9 students, some may have a sizable intake of pupils with learning difficulties, some in need of varying degrees of SEN provision. Here the true marker of performance may not be achievement results alone, but a combined view with equal attention being paid to the progress made.

In other words, when a child enters school with certain achievement levels expected of him or her, but then through sheer hard work and the skill of the teaching staff – often in a more challenging environment – that child is helped to progress further; to exceed their expected potential even though that may not result in a Grade A or Grade 9.

I would like the educational powers that be; parents, schools, colleges and universities, to bring their progress results out of the bottom drawer as this will give an added performance dimension – arguably a more powerful one – that all stakeholders should see more visibly than they do now.

And we marketers working in education should be 100% helping them to do this, because progress is the missing message in schools’ performance right now.

Posted: 15/11/2019

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