Ignite are experts in providing specialist PR and community engagement support to schools. In days gone by, PR wasn't automatically at the forefront of headteachers' and governors' minds. But now a school’s reputation is high on the agenda, and so the local community is vital to its success. Peter worked with Bexhill High, now Bexhill Academy, for three years to boost its presence and profile.
Ignite's Peter Lindsey said: "Mike Conn was the Principal at Bexhill High when he came to me for support. The school was in the process of moving into a new £40 million site and at the time senior management was under pressure in a number of areas. I worked with the school, concentrating primarily on community engagement. We introduced a weekly newsletter focused on the positives. We talked about individual achievements, changes to the curriculum, and support for students with autism. It was a very wide range."
Crucially, the newsletter went further than just the parents and carers, staff and the governors. "It was a vital way of engaging with the wider community, including councillors, our MP, the business community and other interested parties. Community engagement was key, hence the introduction of regular meetings with parents and carers." Peter, the principal and other staff members listened and made change when appropriate.
This level of community engagement was praised by Ofsted during one of its visits and featured in a later report. Needless to say, the PR included weekly spreads in the local press and on social media. The TV cameras also came along when the then Education Secretary Michael Gove paid a visit.
Principal Mike Conn said: "Peter made a huge difference. He's been a teacher, he chairs a Multi Academy Trust and he understood from the start exactly what we needed. The outcomes were absolutely first class."