Schools naturally have to communicate with several stakeholders – they have a prominent place in the local community, must follow legal guidelines, and at a fundamental level, have information to give to students and their parents. However, this communication can take a lot of time and lead to confusion and misunderstandings if not done correctly. Here are some ways to ensure your school communicates as effectively as possible.
It is important to remember that different forms of information will require different communication channels. It would be worth forming a communication policy (or updating it) to set down what types of information you expect to share, who to (security and privacy restrictions), and how. When it comes to communicating, every person within the school must have some training, even if this is simply on the communication policy.
Remember that information might be helpful across a few channels – keep all up-to-date, preferably with relevant links between the channels for ease of use.
Every school should have a website and be viewed as your public face. It will be the first place many people go when they want to find information relevant to your school. You should strongly consider investing in a school website design company to ensure it is up to scratch. If it is dated or difficult to use, you are likely to put parents off from choosing your school in the first place. Basic information like term dates, school rules, and guidelines should be easy to find. There is also nothing more frustrating than trying to find information on a website and being taken in a circle of broken links – spend time to go through your website regularly and check the information provided and the links.
Generally, a website is a formal method of communication. This can be softened with a blog which you could have teachers, administrative staff, parents, and students all contribute to. It might cover sports days, rules changes, exam information, revision tips, and so on.
These are growing in popularity for schools as they can provide information quickly and directly to those that need it. An app is also easier to use on a more informal basis than the school website, so updating parents on class projects and sending pictures of sports days or celebration parties is much easier.
As it will be directly on a parent’s phone, it is also a straightforward way of sending out alerts or notifications. Of course, these should be backed up by email, but it’s a quick way to reach those needed.
The style and tone of an email should be carefully considered. If it is a large group email, it should be carefully proofed and written out at least a day before sending so that information can be checked. Sending multiple follow-up corrective emails is not a good image and can be confusing. If there are types of emails regularly sent, then consider drafting up responses that are altered on a case-by-case basis. This will ensure that communication remains consistent.
You should consider the social media platforms you use carefully; they each have a different purpose and will not always be suitable. However, social media is a great way to connect with the broader community and demonstrate what your school is like and the projects that it gets involved with. This may lead to local businesses or charities reaching out and forming long-term relationships.
However, images that identify any of the students should never be used unless you have written permission.