3 steps to writing your school prospectus

Published - Friday, July 24, 2015

If you have been tasked with writing the content for your school prospectus then these simple steps may help.


1. Ask lots of questions

Your new prospectus will be read by parents who may know nothing about how your school runs.  When writing your content you should approach this in mind.  Every prospective parent or student will be reading your prospectus because they have questions about what you can offer so it is important that you take time to understand what these questions are so that you can address them.   Knowing what you offer as a school is an important part of this.  What is it that makes you stand out?  What extra opportunities will a student gain by attending your school?  You may want to talk to existing staff, students and parents to discover what these are or it may already be well-defined.  Consider questions such as:

  • How do you ensure that new students fit in?
  • What subjects will be taught in Year 7?
  • How strict is the school?
  • How do you engage with parents?
  • How are you different from school X down the road?
  • How do you communicate with parents?
  • What do you expect of your teaching staff?
  • How successful are your sports teams?
  • How do you ensure high standards?
  • What cultural experiences can we expect to be on offer?
  • How do you develop the whole person?
  • How is behaviour dealt with?
  • What examples can you show that support the above?
  • What do your current students/parents say about the the school?

 

Once you know which questions need to be addressed in your prospectus (remember that these may change every year) you can set about putting them into some order and use this to give you an overall flow to your document before you write the detailed content. Approaching your content in this way may help you not to write content that appeals only to your SLT, or that misses key questions that parents are asking.

 

2. Break it down

Once you know what you should be writing about you can create your first draft, and this can be the most daunting stage.  When writing it is useful to break up your message into different categories, which will aid the writing process and also help your page layouts become more interesting.  You may not need all of these for every page.

Page/section titles – for maximum impact try to keep these to no more than 3 words.

Call-outs – these are short summaries of your page content.  These will draw a reader to continue reading.  Keep these to one or two sentences; they should be punchy and sum up your body text so that even if a reader stops there they will have digested your main points.

Body text – keep this as short as possible and jargon-free.  If you need to discuss several points then using smaller chunks of text with clear subtitles will keep your reader more engaged than a long, single block of text.  

Quotes – these would usually be a combination of ofsted, student and parent quotations.  Consider how each quote relates to the content on each page and ask if it is adding something extra.  Quotes should be snappy so keep them to one or two sentences.  Longer quotes can be broken up and used across multiple pages if required..  

Statistics – often a well-presented infographic can say more than words ever can.  If you have some great stats then add them in, they will add interest and authenticity to your content.  

 

3. Know when to stop

Once you start you will find that you can add detail about every aspect of the school from how the day is structured to uniform policies and curriculum content.  When considering what to include and what to leave out remember that your school website is a valuable tool that can be used to present all of the day-to-day details for the school.  This leaves you free to set a more welcoming and exciting tone with your school prospectus.  Some schools choose to create a separate booklet that contains all of this detail, which can be included with your prospectus, or sent out once a student has a place at your school.  However you choose to communicate this you should resist the urge to cram it all into your prospectus as it will dilute or stifle your core message.

 

Quality counts

Once you have your content written you will need to work on the design and production of your prospectus.  We know that parents still prefer to take a printed document home with them after a school visit or open event so the production quality is extremely important.  The Media Collective have a proven track record of delivering school prospectuses, from the most cost-effective to the highest possible quality and can guide you through every step of the process.  Call us today on 0845 208 6788 to start a discussion about your new prospectus.