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Includes a suggested social media post for every school day in June with links to stock images.

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Table of Contents

Primary School Numbers - The Maths

If, like me, you like the data you can read through this section which explains the current position and highlights the need to actively promote your school to try to maximise pupil numbers.  If, you’re not a fan of the data, feel free to jump to the next section, the takeaway headline is numbers are falling and will continue to decrease until 2030!

The reality is that times have changed and pupils no longer automatically go to their closest primary school as was the case when I went to school.  In September 2021, there were 709,911 places available in primary school and only 580,771applications received leaving a surplus of just over 18%.

Average pupil numbers are falling and are projected to continue to decrease until 20302. The average primary school is currently 277.5 pupils down from 281.9 in 2018/192.  With the average funding for a primary school aged pupil being at least £3,5003  this means schools budgets have reduced, on average, by at least £15,400 since 2018/19. 

 

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

Schools

16,766

16,769

16,784

16,791

Pupils

4,716,244

4,727,089

4,714,772

4,660,264

Average

281.3

281.9

280.9

277.5

However, if we assume the average school has the average surplus available (18%) then an average school has a capacity of 338 but will only have 278 children potentially losing over £200,000 a year in missed pupil funding.   The percentage of primary schools at or above capacity is currently only 17%, less than one in five, this is down from 23% in 2016/17.  This is the lowest number of the past decade. Of these, 480 (3%) are operating at but not in excess of  capacity; 1,560 (9%) exceed by fewer than 10 pupils; and 750 (4%) exceed by 10or more pupils4.

 

Benefits of Marketing

Increase Pupil Numbers

Improve Local Reputation

Improve Internet Presence

Social Media Marketing - Why?

We live in a world where the majority of people are active on social media (over 80% of the UK) so this can provide a really good (free) platform to actively market your school reaching current and prospective parents. 

Being active on social media can have a number of benefits for your school with minimal effort.  Firstly, you can potentially increase pupil numbers with a strategic plan running up to the Reception admission date posting positive images & stories from your EYFS phase.  This give parents a good insight to your school and they may consider coming to look round even if you are further away if you are selling yourself with positive content from EYFS.  

Secondly, you can increase your reputation locally by regularly sharing positive images, stories, comments and engaging with your local community.  This could be as simple as tagging local groups in your posts or sharing the work that you have been doing with members of your local community.  

Finally, you will improve your internet presence and what I mean by that is, you will improve your organic ranking in search engines so when someone types “primary school [place name]” or “primary school near me” you are much more likely to be top of the list if you are active on social media so will get more views and potentially more children. 

This doesn’t need to be time consuming necessarily and doesn’t need to be done by one person so it is important to have a plan.  What are you going to post & when (events, topic or theme activities, celebration assemblies etc)?  What do you need from school staff (e.g. pictures in a shared area by x date for your to share on social media)?  I bought a cheap tablet when I was a Head so that I could use this to take pictures and immediately post to social media so this only took a few minutes and made life much easier. 

One thing I would just like to add here is, although you can use professional stock images, parents would prefer to see pictures of actual pupils from your school even if the quality of the image isn’t as good.  This also helps to build your brand and increase awareness in the local community when they keep seeing posts of children in your uniform, your school logo etc.  

Social Media Banner

Which Social Media Platform?

The first one that always comes to my mind is Facebook.  It has 43,000,000 users in the UK but these tend now to be older now since this platform has been around for more than 15 years now so maybe not the target audience for a primary school.  Instagram, on the other hand, has “only” 30,000,000 users but 30% of these are 25 – 34 years old and nearly 60% of Instagram users are women so Instagram would certainly be my choice when thinking about promoting the school to increase EYFS numbers.  

In all honesty, I would use several platforms at first and post the same thing, you will soon see which platform(s) your parents and community engage on and then can focus your attention on that one. 

When I became a Head Teacher, my school had a Twitter account.  I posted on it for a little bit but didn’t get much response.  I set up a Facebook account and quickly gained a few hundred followers and would get likes and shares on the vast majority of my posts.  I closed the Twitter account and not one single parent mentioned it, which showed that this particular platform wasn’t the right one for us but that didn’t mean we shouldn’t use social media because my parents clearly did engage on another platform.  

Sign up to receive your FREE June Marketing Strategy.

Includes a suggested social media post for every school day in June with links to stock images.

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