Category Archives: Marketing Advice

10 free metrics tools for actionable analytics

By | Course Handouts, Example Policies, Marketing Advice, Mustard Training, School Training, Social Media in Schools | No Comments

This excellent cheat sheet, created by Socialbrite, provides a quick (one page of A4 summary) of the various free/cheap social media analytics tools available for download. It describes EdgeRank Checker, Rowfeeder, Facebook Insights, YouTube Insight, SEMRush, Twtrland, how to estimate your competitor’s traffic, Google Analytics, Klout and Woopra. Please feel free to download, read, copy and pass on…

10 FREE metrics tools for actionable analytics

An example of a Photographic Consent Form for parents

By | Course Handouts, Example Policies, Marketing Advice, Mustard Training, School Training, Social Media in Schools | No Comments

Here is an example of a Photographic Consent Form for parents. This is ideal for use by schools wanting to use Social Media to communicate with parents. It is valid for one year (best practice is to do your consent forms at least every 12 months), and includes the phrase : “Please inform us immediately if you (or your child’s) personal circumstances change and you want to alter this consent form.” Please feel free to download it, pass it on, and give credit to Mustard Training Ltd.

Example Photographic Consent Form

Crisis? What crisis?

By | Marketing Advice, Mustard Training, School Marketing, School Training | No Comments

I was really pleased to meet someone on the Manchester course who had bought my book on school reputation management. Never a week goes by without a school hitting the headlines – often for the wrong reasons. It happened to one of my regular clients – Sir John Cass’s Foundation and Red Coat Church of England Secondary School – last year. You will have read about it in your daily newspaper and seen it on national TV.

Most schools take the attitude that it “will never happen to us.” But, of course, it does. Nearly a third of my book is devoted to dealing with threats to a school’s reputation:

  • Where to get support in a PR crisis;
  • How to prepare for managing a PR crisis;
  • What to communicate, to whom and how;
  • How to rehearse who does what.

There are lots of practical tools and templates to help you:

  • Write a press release;
  • Manage a crisis one step at a time;
  • Put together a crisis statement.

Find more information about my book here


How to use Inset Days to get to Primary School pupils

By | Marketing Advice, School Training | No Comments

One of my favourite clients is a large secondary school in Kent. I’ve been working with the school for a few years now. Their Head came on one of my marketing courses in Maidstone in 2012. Since then I’ve delivered a marketing audit for them, and helped with their branding, prospectus and website.

The school wants to be the 1st choice for parents in the area, and they have become really “savvy” at pupil recruitment. One of the most successful elements of their marketing campaign has been their work with half a dozen core feeder primaries within easy travel distance. They reckon the best way to show their school to prospective pupils and parents is to get them through the doors at the age of 7, 8, 9 and 10. In September last year they identified the dates for all of their core feeder primary school Inset Days. Inset Days are a real pain in the neck for working primary school parents because they have to take a day off work, or organise childcare. My client has created special Activity Days aimed at primary school pupils to coincide with those Inset Days. They have held a “Dance Day” and a “Textiles Day” so far.

These activity days have proved to be the most successful events they have ever created for prospective pupils. More popular in fact than their Open Day! Attendance has been astonishingly high, and parental feedback has been very positive. Whether this translates into 1st Choices in due course remains to be seen, but the theory is sound. You have a much greater chance of recruiting a pupil who has been through your doors a couple of times than someone who has never visited you.

Still a great teaching blog

By | Marketing Advice, Mustard Training, School Training | No Comments

I was really pleased to read that Kristian Still had been appointed Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning at The Wellington Academy, near Tidworth. I went to school there for five years in the 1970s, when it was plain old Tidworth Down Secondary Modern School. The school has now been re-built and looks – from the outside at least – amazing!

Kristian’s weekly teaching blog ( is one of the best I’ve read. I first met him when he was Assistant Principal at Hamble Community Sports College. In 2011 Kristian attended one of my school marketing courses in Southampton . Afterwards he put his thoughts into words on his blog. You can still read what he learned

Thanks for the kind words Kristian, and keep on doing what you’re doing!

You can prove anything with statistics!

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Senior leaders love statistics! Don’t I know it? Whenever I put good statistics into a presentation, I always get great feedback. Course delegates really rate my analysis of why parents choose schools. The research is freely available to the public – but very few decision-makers seem to have read it. You can find it on the website of a little-known organisation called Research and Information on State Education (RISE). “What parents think of schools”, by Caroline Roberts, summarises what is currently known about what parents think of their children’s school. It reviews the most recent quantitative and qualitative research.

Key points and conclusions are:
-Despite the emphasis placed on academic results by policy makers, the research contains much evidence to suggest that they are not as important to most parents as is often assumed. Parents frequently say that they value factors such as good discipline, the happiness of their child and good communication between school and home more than exam results.

-Ease of communication with the school and the provision of clear, accessible and regular information about their child’s progress is a priority for many parents. A shift towards parents wanting more regular updates electronically is evident in recent surveys. Opportunities for informal, face to face communication are welcomed, particularly among parents of primary school children.

You can read Caroline’s excellent paper at the Rise Trust website (, or better still, download a copy