The Importance of a Quality School Prospectus
Be it online, or in print, the school prospectus is still a vital tool in encouraging children to attend your institution.
These days, it would be unheard of for a school not to have a website. As they are important tools in the battle to keep parents, and children, as up to date as possible. In fact, the government mandate that schools must include certain information on their websites, in order to inform their community. But even if your school has a high-tech, fancy website, that doesn't mean you should not give any less importance to the humble school prospectus.
A professionally presented and informative school prospectus, in print, offers a really great opportunity to convince prospective parents and pupils to choose your school over your competitors. They offer a window into the everyday lives of your school, and can be invaluable during open days, or perhaps in situations when visitors cannot access your website. A quality school prospectus also plays into the hands of those people who beginning to turn their back on their screens, in favour of traditional print media.
If you have been tasked with creating your school prospectus, here are some tips that will help get you on your way to creating a compelling document that will get you the results you want!
How to Produce a School Prospectus That Delivers
As a school, you are in the fortunate position that your audience are already invested in what your offering! And so, it's less like selling, and more like sharing how great you are.
Prospective parents will ultimately need to decide on a school for their child(ren), and they are browsing for a need, not a want. The challenge you face is ensuring that these parents decide to choose your school over your competitors.
Having a well-designed, expertly written, high-quality printed school prospectus will provide you with the perfect opportunity to showcase your school to potential parents and students. You can use your prospectus to combine multiple pieces of information about your school, such as your ethos and values, your curriculum, your facilities and your individual strengths. All in one concise package that you know parents are more likely to interact with. They can take this document away with them, or receive it directly to their door if your school sends them out via post, to read and digest at their leisure.
As more and more communication methods turn digital, it's important to keep a physical school prospectus, as it is still one of the most sought after open day elements that parents look to collect. This means that, as a school, you need to ensure that you have a fantastic prospectus, that sells your institution and gives parents all the info they need. Because they are investing their child’s education with you. So they need to know your school is right.
What to Consider When Creating the Perfect Prospectus
The message & tone
You must consider the way that you would like to convey your school through your new prospectus.
— Do you want to be seen as formal and traditional, or perhaps more modern and creative?
— Is there an overarching message that you'd like to send out to prospective parents?
— Why, ultimately, should they choose to send their child to your school over another?
Once you’ve chosen the message you wish to share with your school prospectus, the next thing you need to consider is the style you want to use, and how you can compliment and enhance your content.
— Do you want an info-heavy document that goes into lots of detail, or do you want a smaller, more concise document that gives a flavour of your school.
— Do you want large images and small paragraphs of text, a page of text next to an image or larger sections of text interspersed with the occasional image?
— What size do you want it to be?
— Do you want the images to be bright, and bold, or more natural and neutral?
— Landscape, or portrait?
School Prospectus Photography
I may be biased, but I do believe a picture is worth a thousand words. And If you are using photography in printed materials, then it needs to be of a high pixel density and resolution. Otherwise, it will become blurry when enlarged, or pixelated when cropped.
As a school photographer, I would always recommend having professional photography completed, to ensure that the photos you use are of the highest quality. Because not only is professional school photography much more compelling than amateur work, but it also guarantees that the overall appearance of your final prospectus is not underwhelming.
Once you have booked a professional school photographer in the UK, start jotting down the types of images you want them to collect. This becomes a lot easier if you have already written the text, and know what image needs to accompany it.
For example, if your school is well-known for it’s sporting prowess, make sure that you have lots of imagery of your pupils and staff enjoying themselves in your gym, or playing fields. If your science department is state of the art, plan some time to capture the amazement on your pupils faces as they experiment in your laboratories.
Hire a professional school photographer and plan a day to capture the photographs you need. But don’t forget to let the parents of your current pupils know this is taking place, and ask for their consent for their children’s image to be used within your prospectus!
My advice, is to book your school prospectus photography for a day in September. This way, you will have lots of fresh-faced and eager pupils in brand-new uniforms, and easy way to make more impact with your photography!
The Content Needed for Your Prospectus
You can make small tweaks and proofs to your content throughout the design process, but it's best to give your designer as full a picture as possible before they start. So get working on your content as soon as possible.
Content should be authentic, engaging and portray your school in the best possible way. An introduction from the Headteacher is always a good place to start. As it offers the chance for a personal greeting, speaking directly to the prospective parent. Along the same lines, you could also consider using quotes and testimonials throughout the school prospectus, either from existing or past parents, or from students themselves.
Make sure that all of your content flows from page to page and a consistent approach has been used throughout with regard to tone, tense, and grammar. But you're a school, so you should be pro's at that!
What to Remember
Producing a first-rate school prospectus can sound like a daunting task at first. But with clear structure, a little design work and a partnership with a great printer, it is easy to produce a prospectus that you will be really proud of.
Just be sure to:
Create a clear plan and structure of what information you are going to include
Structure your content in a way that flows well and is easy to read
Hire a professional school photographer to capture your school at its best
Design your prospectus at an appropriate size, using the correct colour profile.
Use simple clean fonts and a recognisable colour scheme
Opt for a laminated cover when printing for protection against knocks or spills — keeping your prospectus looking great for longer.
If you are looking for a professional school photographer to capture the children at your school, please feel free to get in touch via my contact page, and also browse my previous work on my education page.