Our primary aim was to share information about all the great things that schools are doing around the UK, as an antidote to a lot of the negative press coverage of education that is unfortunately still with us. We also wanted to learn more about how schools were communicating and help schools learn from each other.
Over the past three months, we've shared 2,450 good news stories from over 1,000 schools and attracted almost 550 followers and some great feedback on Twitter. What have we learned in our first term?
1. Schools are doing a lot of great things. While this was never in doubt, it's been refreshing to see how schools are engaging with their students and the wider community. We've shared some great trips, enrichment days, great work in class and on the sporting field, and copious work for charity. It would be great if the experts who claim that teachers 'have low expectations' and the politicians who demonise young people could see the stories that stream through our feed (and remember we only share a few every day).
2. (Some) schools are sharing a lot of stories. A lot of schools are very good at telling what they do well. It's great to see small primary schools and special schools alongside the large comprehensives and private schools as well. Some schools have great press officers who know how to structure and write stories, but others just intuitively know what looks good and makes a great story. And they're all being very sensible about safeguarding.
3. It wouldn't have worked without Twitter... While there are other ways of getting in touch with schools and sharing stories, the sheer power of Twitter (via Tweetdeck) means that it's far more efficient and far more effective at sharing news. Twitter is free and democratic - so we can see great things from all sorts of schools. It's also a lot easier (and cheaper) than maintaining a website.
4. Teachers love dressing up. Well, not all of them. But there are an awful lot of pictures of teachers in pink (men and women...). We've not shared too many of them.
So, what does the future hold for Good News from Schools? The first decision we've made is to focus on what works (as any marketer should) and stop supporting the website to focus instead on Twitter and Facebook. We'll have another review in April, by which time we want to be sharing from 2,000 schools to over 1,000 followers.
This also means that the only way to keep in touch is via Twitter or Facebook, so apologies to those who've emailed or used the website in the past.