Wednesday, October 04, 2006

School PR - watch the social media as well

TWO Sheffield secondary schools have become the first state schools in the city to employ a professional public relations firm to improve their image.
The Sheffield Star reports that
Myers Grove and Fir Vale are paying Sheffield agency Pickard Communications which also works with fee-paying independent schools in the city.
The firm's director Chris Pickard said he thinks it is money well spent - although he acknowledges some parents will wonder why a portion of the schools' budget will be spent on his services rather than paying for more teachers, books or equipment.
"Schools are increasingly becoming a focal point for their local communities, offering services far beyond classroom teaching. It is therefore ever more important that schools communicate effectively with local people," he said.

There is also a good case for monitoring and working with social media when dealing with schools. Over half of students will have a presence on channels such as MySpace or Bebo and almost all students will be suing Instant Messaging very heavily. This is both a PR opportunity and a threat.