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These Aussie schools are leading the way with design and content

As any school knows, forging a deep and meaningful connection with parents takes daily care and consideration. Letters dropped in school bags no longer cut it, as modern, tech-savvy parents expect constant contact. 

To meet this need, leading schools around the country are taking their content production to a whole new level. They’re reflecting the very best their school has to offer through newsletters, annual reports, publications and digital content hubs.

The hyper-competitive schools’ market means sub-par content is no longer ‘good enough’. To shed light on what’s possible, we’ve collected some shining examples of engaging content from schools across New South Wales and Victoria. 

Magazines

School magazines are typically published monthly, bi-annually or annually and usually act as a slightly more polished version of the more regular school newsletter. Savvy schools are choosing to publish their magazines both digitally and in print to give maximum exposure.

Abbotsleigh shines in this area thanks to its monthly magazine Around Abbotsleigh. The publication is shared with current families, past parents and Old Girls electronically and in hard copy. 

Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Sydney makes full use of its magazine format with a raft of features, essays and photo series. Camphora’s regular feature ’60 Seconds’ involves concise interviews with members of school staff. The feature is a great way for parents to get to know staff who they might otherwise have only met during a brief parent-teacher interview.

Barker College in Hornsby understands the importance of an attention-grabbing front cover. Its regular magazine The Barker constantly excels in its use of photography and graphic design.

Then there’s St Catherine’s School in Melbourne’s inner south-east, which makes good use of publishing tool Issuu to create a publication that can be read on any device. As more and more internet users access the web through our phones, responsive design is a must.

Newsletters

Newsletters act as the backbone of a school’s content calendar. They’re a great way to keep in regular contact with the wider school community and keep parents engaged throughout the school year. 

To parents of prospective students, newsletters seemingly present an unembellished view of the day-to-day mechanics, culture and educational philosophy of a school, which is dynamite during the research phase. Schools with a newsletter that is easy-on-the-eye and engaging will give themselves a better chance to convert student opportunities.

So, rather than getting Ms Butterworth to write a piece about 7B’s excursion to the beanbag factory, why not profile the teacher herself? An intimate profile of an educator with 20 years’ experience, Martha Butterworth shares her teaching journey, her insights on bullying, technology in the classroom and the five daily habits of her most successful students.

Whitefriars in Melbourne is a great example of a classy newsletter. It has all the hallmarks of a professional publication, including well-written articles, professional photography and captivating design. 

Reports

Since annual reports are released yearly, schools can afford to spend even more time making sure they’re up to scratch. They’re documents that parents and the wider school community will refer back to again and again, so it’s important to get them right.

Korowa, an Anglican Girls’ School in Victoria, has an impressive content calendar. It publishes The Thread, a fortnightly digital magazine for parents; along with The Korovian, an annual community magazine. On top of all that, the schools’ annual report is slick, well-written and on-brand. Annual reports can run the risk of seeming dry and boring, but Korowa’s offering is far from it.

MLC’s annual report is a great example of how photography can really bring a report to life. Instead of endless pages of plain black text, the college’s strategic plan is tastefully broken up with photos, colourful subheadings and thoughtfully designed infographics.

It’s clear that engaging and beautiful content isn’t just a ‘nice to have’, but a critical way to communicate a school’s prestige and success to both new and current parents. Once a well-considered design has been chosen and the right resources are in place, regular content can become a rewarding and hugely beneficial marketing strategy.