BY Caroline Wood
Head of Strategy, Marketing & Research
Never before has understanding the views of customers or stakeholders been so vital in shaping the future of schools.
The powerful marketing role played by word of mouth advocacy is already widely acknowledged within the sector. However, over the past 2-3 years, increasing numbers of schools are also recognising the value of stakeholder feedback in shaping strategy.
The concept of the stakeholder was first coined in 1963, by the Stanford Research Institute and is now globally accepted within the business world. Stanford defined stakeholders as:
“those groups without whose support the organisation would cease to exist.”
Looking to the education sector, this encompasses a broad range of constituents and, since its launch, over 300 schools have used RSAcademics’ market-leading SchoolPulse® attitude and perception surveys to explore in detail what parents, staff, pupils and alumni think about their school. Our parent surveys are well-known across the sector, but the fact we also offer staff and pupil surveys is perhaps less so. Last year, we added an alumni survey to our survey suite, enabling schools to develop their alumni engagement and fundraising strategies.
Our SchoolPulse® surveys have a core set of questions, but each one is tailored to meet the specific research needs of a school. Our approach is not prescriptive. We work with you to maximise your response rates and to ensure that the survey content is relevant to your school, your stakeholders and your particular research objectives. Invariably research with current stakeholders provides the richest vein of information and, in actively consulting with parents, staff, alumni or pupils this allows schools to:
- track perceptions, attitudes and expectations
- identify trends and emerging challenges
- solicit feedback or input into planned developments
- understand the positioning of the school as seen by others and thus market the school more effectively
- form the basis for stronger future engagement and collaboration.
This type of in-depth consultation, the feedback it provides and the understanding of stakeholder priorities gained, can be vital to the effective allocation of resources, the success of planned developments, proposed enhancements or changes to the educational provision, and the long-term success of the school.
In addition to the core questions, each survey generates hundreds of open written comments from participants, all of which are analysed in depth by our research experts and our team of strategy consultants to add depth, nuance and colour to the detailed statistical analysis.
We would be pleased to discuss how SchoolPulse or our wider Strategy, Marketing and Research services can help your school.
+ 44 (0)1858 467449
“The SchoolPulse survey was excellent value, not just in terms of cost but also in terms of the insight it has provided to St George’s Junior School and College. The RSAcademics team has worked with us to guide our senior leadership discussions, to feedback the results to staff and to help us consider our action plans as a result of the findings. I would recommend them to anyone considering a similar project.”
Jo Lander, Head of Human Resources, St George’s College Weybridge, UK