Given the importance of word of mouth to your school’s reputation, here are a few ideas for the day… – please add more or disagree!
1. Provide a place for families to wind down and meet each other: The vast majority of teachers would far prefer it if parents and carers left their classroom as soon as possible on the first day. But parents and carers are just as emotionally involved in the process. Some will be new in the area and looking for new contacts and friends. Perhaps you could let them have a cup of tea or coffee in another part of the school and get some parents of older children to introduce them to the opportunities that exist for supporting the school (including helping with marketing!).
2. Give them up to date marketing material: Parents will probably spend a bit longer at school on the first day. It’s an opportunity to let them know of changes over the summer, how Results Day went and so on. It’s also the time when their friends with younger children will be asking about the start of school – give them something recent to pass on.
3. Push your social media channels: The start of year is a good time to make sure that parents are signed up to services such as Twitter and Facebook (or email newsletters). Make sure you then use them to show the positive activities that take place at the start of the year!
4. Start to record student and carer feelings: One of the biggest worries for parents and carers is how children settle in to a new school. You could ask them to blog, video or write about their experiences as term starts. You can use this information for next year’s parents and prospective students.
And that’s probably about it – lessons are ready to start…(but other ideas are very welcome!)