Marketing to Education in the 2023-24 Academic Year: Find out what’s happening in schools

Topics: Education Insights
Jen Murphy
Jen Murphy Copywriter & Sustainability Lead 1 September 2023

From new funding announcements and ongoing education recovery plans to government cabinet reshuffles and the rising cost-of-living – there have been lots of key updates, changes and challenges in the education sector over the past 12 months.

To help you brush up on your education knowledge, get up to speed on all the latest plans for the 2023-24 academic year, I’ve been keeping a close eye on all the important education updates that might impact your marketing to education strategy.

I’ve pulled together all the key info below along with lots of ideas on how you can coordinate your marketing and support schools as they return this autumn. Here’s a quick snapshot of the topics to come:

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

Key challenges

Here’s a breakdown of some of the key challenges schools are facing and how you can support them in the new school year:

Education recovery and the attainment gap

If you’re wondering whether schools are still feeling the impact of the pandemic, the answer unfortunately is yes.

Despite this summer’s exam results (specifically top grades and standard passes) being back to pre-pandemic levels, many young people are still struggling with the effects of lost education.

In fact, the Public Accounts Committee stated in June 2023 that if the Department for Education (DfE) do not take faster action to support education recovery, it could take another decade for the attainment gap to return to what it was before the pandemic.

Inside Insight: According to our 2023 School Surveys, 34% of teachers view education recovery as one of their biggest priorities for the 2023-24 academic year.

Government support:

The government has allocated £4.9 billion in funding so far to support education recovery. This included the National Tutoring Programme in 2020 which provides primary and secondary schools with subsidised tuition and mentoring to help pupils catch up.

This funding also supported schools with the catch-up premium (per-pupil funding for schools) which was then later replaced with the recovery premium (funding allocated to schools based on how many disadvantaged pupils they have). But despite these efforts, the impact of lost learning on pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils, is one of the main challenges schools are continuing to struggle with.

How you can help:

Can you support schools with any of the below to help narrow the attainment gap?

  • CPD courses: Staff training and development courses increase the quality of teaching and can educate staff on how to best support their disadvantaged pupils.
  • Tutoring: One-to-one tuition is a highly effective method for narrowing the attainment gap and is recommended by the Education Endowment Foundation’s Toolkit.
  • Early years teaching support : Addressing gaps in learning early can significantly improve a child’s prospects.
  • Extra-curricular activities: Breakfast clubs and after-school clubs can further students’ skills and knowledge and provide extra learning support, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.
  • Oral language interventions: According to the Education Endowment Foundation’s Toolkit (EEF), speaking and listening interventions such as reading aloud and book discussion can help students make an additional 6 months’ progress – or more! That’s why reading clubs and similar activities are a great way to support and accelerate students’ learning.

If you can support schools with education recovery, let them know!

The rising cost of living means schools are having to make their budgets stretch further and reduce spending in certain areas.

Inside Insight: Our 2023 Schools Survey revealed that 56% of head teachers and business managers viewed rising costs as the biggest financial challenge for their school in the 2022-23 academic year. And staffing costs came up as the main area where schools were reducing their spending.

Government support:

To help reduce the impact of rising costs, the government set up the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which was available to support eligible businesses and organisations (including schools) from October 2022 to March 2023.

According to a DfE survey, only 1 in 5 teachers and leaders said this scheme helped their school manage the increase in costs, and only 1% said it significantly helped. However, the scheme did help some schools as they were able to keep the heating on longer.

This scheme has now been replaced by the Energy Bills Discount Scheme which will run until March 2024. The financial support available through this scheme is significantly less than before and fewer schools will be eligible as only those paying the highest amounts will benefit.

How you can help:

Can you help schools cut down on costs?

  • Discounted products and services: To help schools make their budgets go further, if you can, run offers and small discounts on your products and services and provide free samples where possible too. You could also offer bundles to help schools get greater value for money.
  • If you can offer competitive rates on your products and services and schools could save money by partnering with you, make sure you promote your brand and the savings they could make.
  • Including offers in your campaigns can double your engagement rates so they’re definitely worth adding in!

Think you can help schools cut down costs? Get in touch!

Pupil absence rates are still an area of concern for teachers and education staff, with absence rates continuing to be higher than before the pandemic. According to the government stats, 22.3% of pupils missed 10% or more of available sessions in the 2022-23 academic year.

Inside Insight: 44% of teachers view attendance levels as one of their biggest priorities for the 2023-24 academic year according to our 2023 School Surveys.

Government support:

The government have developed a new data visualisation tool to help teachers easily analyse attendance. They have also formed an Attendance Action Alliance, a group of national education and care leaders who are collaborating to tackle the causes of poor attendance rates.

They are also expanding their Attendance Hubs programme where different schools share their resources and best practice to boost attendance across the board. The Attendance Mentors programme has also been expanded – a programme delivered by Barnardo’s where trained mentors work directly with children (and their families) who are frequently absent.

How you can help:

Can your products and services help schools to boost attendance rates?

  • Extra-curricular activities: Tasking students with responsibilities in extra-curricular clubs can lead to improved attendance rates.
  • Technology and software: IT systems and software can help schools to better track and monitor their pupil attendance rates and help schools identify where support is needed.
  • Parent-child workshops: Getting parents involved in their children’s learning is proven to be a really effective way to accelerate progress according to the EE toolkit.
  • SEND and mental health support: Helping schools to develop a whole school approach to mental health and enhancing their SEND provision can create a more supportive learning environment and help to promote positive mental well-being.

Want to help schools boost their attendance rates? Reach out with a marketing campaign.

Supporting the mental health of young people and education staff is a top priority for schools. To do this, schools can adopt a whole school approach to mental health where they have a designated lead who develops and oversees the school’s well-being strategy. They can also make sure staff have access to mental-health training and resources.

Inside Insight: Our 2023 School Survey revealed that 76% of the teachers we asked said children’s mental health, or student and staff well-being are a top priority for the 2023-24 academic year.

Government support:

The government has made £1,200 available in funding for every eligible state school and college in England to train a senior mental health lead. These members of staff are responsible for developing and implementing a whole school approach to mental health. A total of 13,800 schools have accessed the grant since it first became available in October 2021.

The government are also developing an online hub to provide mental health leads with evidence-informed resources and a toolkit with information on how to better support students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.

In 2018, the government introduced Mental Health Support teams (MHSTs) to help both primary and secondary schools and further education establishments further enhance their existing pastoral care and mental wellbeing support. By April 2024, there are estimated to be around 500 teams in place.

How you can help:

Do your products and services directly or indirectly support students’ well-being?

  • Mental health resources: Learning materials and resources such as booklets, videos, newsletters and posters can help to educate students, staff and parents on protecting their mental well-being.
  • Workshops and webinars: Workshops on mindfulness, stress-management and anti-bullying can help to support students and staff, and reduce stress-levels both inside and outside of school.
  • Counselling and therapy: Mental health training for staff can equip them with the knowledge needed to better support students, and counselling such as CBT can help students navigate and improve their emotional well-being.
  • Improved learning spaces: Enhancing classrooms and the playground environment can help to create a positive learning space for both students and staff.
  • Sports activities and events: Exercise and fitness can significantly boost health and well-being.

Can you help to protect and support young people’s mental health? Get in touch!

Schools are continuing to struggle with staff shortages and recruitment, particularly for teachers of STEM subjects and modern foreign languages.

A report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in 2022 highlighted that nearly 50% of secondary schools have used non-specialist teachers to deliver some maths lessons throughout this difficult ongoing recruitment period.

Inside Insight: 86% of head teachers and business managers view staffing as one of their biggest challenges in the 2022-23 school year.

Government support:

The government has outlined new plans to help encourage more people to join the teaching profession and encourage existing teachers to stay. These plans include the Early Career Framework, a framework that supports teachers’ continued professional development by providing them with training and support during the first 2 years of teaching. The government have also created new resources to support with teacher workloads (e.g. the school workload reduction toolkit) and well-being, as well as resources on introducing flexible working practices to help improve teacher retention.

How you can help:

  • Technology and software: Data systems and software that streamline processes can help to reduce teacher workloads and provide them with more time to focus on their learners.
  • Well-being resources and workshops: Materials, events and activities that promote positive mental wellbeing can help teachers to better protect their mental health and reduce stress.
  • Teacher CPD courses: Supporting teachers with their career development and helping them to advance their skills, progress in their roles and plan their future career pathway.

Key government updates

In October 2022, Rishi Sunak was appointed the new Prime Minister following Liz Truss’ resignation.

During his time in leadership so far, Rishi Sunak has announced a couple of key plans for the education sector, with ‘Maths to 18’ as one of his main focuses. Despite some of the confusion, students won’t need to take Maths A Level, but will have more opportunities and better access to high-quality maths education after they leave school.

This may be through new maths qualifications, revised apprenticeship schemes and career opportunities that further develop students’ maths skills.

There are plans for a new Expert Advisory Group to be set up who will offer advice on this strategy so far.

Gillian Keegan became the 5th Education Secretary in the position in 4 months. There have been a few significant changes during Keegan’s time as Education Secretary including the scrapping of the Schools Bill which included the government’s plan to make all schools either in or joining a multi-academy trust (MAT) by 2030.

Plans for councils to be able to set up their own trusts have also been scrapped.

Buzz’s Top Tip: Although the plans to make all schools in or joining an academy are no longer in motion, we still highly recommend targeting academy schools as many schools are still transitioning to become academies. There are 10,254 academy schools in England and as of April 2023, there are a further 479 schools in the process of becoming academies. If you’re interested in targeting academies, make sure to chat to our team about our special academy schools packages.

Disputes over teacher pay and working conditions led many schools in England to close during the 2022-23 academic year. 

However, all 4 teaching unions accepted a 6.5% pay rise offered by the government on 31st July 2023, so all future strike action has now been called off.

The pay dispute in Scotland has also been resolved, and there are no further teacher strikes planned in Wales or Northern Ireland.

The starting salary for teachers in England has now increased to £30,000 from £28,000, with higher salaries for teachers in the London area.

As schools tend to spend most of their budgets on staffing costs, the DfE will provide schools with £1.4bn in additional payments across the 2023-24 and 2024-25 financial years to partially cover the 6.5% pay rise. Schools dealing with the biggest financial challenges will have access to a hardship fund of up to £40 million.

In June 2023, Ofsted announced they will be changing the way their inspections are carried out from September 2023. These changes aim to reduce the stress teachers and school leaders experience both before and after their visits. Here are some of the new changes being made:

  • For schools whose safeguarding is graded inadequate, Ofsted will now return quicker within 3 months of the inspection report.
  • There are also plans to revise the complaints procedure so that it’s more efficient and complaints can be resolved quicker.
  • Schools will also receive more information about the timings (specifically the year) of Ofsted’s next visit.

Some schools with a specific type of concrete (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete – RAAC) had to shut their buildings, delay the start of term or implement remote learning due to them being unsafe and at high risk of collapse. The government made the announcement on the 30th August 2023, days before the start of the new term, causing a lot of frustration amongst teachers’ unions.

A total of 174 schools have been affected so far. Although this number has increased since the announcement was first made, more schools are now back delivering full-time, face-face education. Here’s a more detailed breakdown: 1 school is providing fully remote learning and 23 are offering both face-to-face and remote learning.

We’ll keep an eye on any further information released around this.

Schools are behind with putting in place their climate change action plans with only 10% of schools having a plan in place (as of March 2023).

From December 2023, the government will be rolling out a programme to support schools with developing a climate change action plan and providing carbon literacy training. These plans are set to be in place by 2025.

How you can help:

  • Sustainable supplies: Eco-friendly resources and products can help schools to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Climate change curriculum resources: Teachers will be interested to discover new resources and learning materials that support with lessons around climate change.
  • Climate change awareness: Educating teachers and education staff on how they can reduce their environmental impact can help schools to create an effective climate change action plan.
  • Food: Gardens and vegetable patches where children can grow and nurture plants is a great way for learners to develop their understanding of how we can protect our planet. It’s also a great way to boost well-being.

New funding and programmes

The government has announced new funding for the 2023-24 academic year. Below is a summary of some of the key funding schools and students may be able to benefit from as well as some key subject specific updates:

Music Hubs are set to receive £25 million from September 2024 to help provide a wide range of instruments, including traditional instruments and adapted instruments (designed to support SEND learners) for children and young people.

Over the next 3 years, as part of a contract worth £14.9 million, the University of London’s Institute of Education (IOE) will run its Language Hubs programme in both primary and secondary schools. The programme aims to boost the number of pupils studying languages at GCSE level and post-16 study.

In November 2022, the Education Secretary announced plans to invest £21 million into training 400 more educational psychologists to provide more support for children with SEND.

There are also plans to extend a training programme for teachers on how to use assistive technology to 150 more schools.

From September 2023, schools will be rewarded for delivering equal opportunities for girls and boys in sport. This initiative, spurred on by the success of the Lionesses at the 2022 Euros, will help to lessen the equality gap in sport and ensure girls have opportunities to succeed in sport.

Alongside this work, Ofsted will be publishing a report into PE in the coming months, which will inform future inspections and set out what they believe is possible in terms of offering high quality PE and equal access to sports.

For more information on school funding, check out our resource here.

New courses and apprenticeships

  • NHS Doctor Apprenticeship: Applications for the pilot scheme are due to open in September 2024
  • Degree Apprenticeship in Space Systems: Applications open in September 2023 for courses starting in September 2024.

  • British Sign Language GCSE: on track to be available from 2025.
  • New Natural History GCSE: due to be introduced by 2025.

  • Agriculture and Farming

There are plans for more T Levels to become available over the next few years.

Your 2023-24 marketing to education strategy

With new government plans pending and lots of upcoming opportunities to support schools, you might be wondering how best to approach schools with your products and services.

To help you successfully support schools throughout the academic year, we recommend developing a long-term marketing to education strategy that includes 3 or more marketing campaigns.

Trust can’t be built overnight, so long-term marketing is a great way to strengthen your connections with education staff over time and demonstrate how your products and services can benefit their teaching. Here are some further top tips:

  • Include testimonials from other teachers and schools to build trust.
  • Make sure you’re only targeting relevant education staff.
  • Make sure your website is in tip-top shape. Teachers will click through to investigate what you can offer so make sure to keep your website content fresh, appealing and informative.

For lots of helpful tips on how to generate leads in the education sector and increase your brand awareness throughout the academic year, be sure to check out our blog and resources. We’re continually refreshing our resources with the latest education updates so make sure to keep an eye out! Our expert team share advice on everything from email marketing top tips to the best times to market to education.

And if you need any support with your marketing, don’t be afraid to reach out! We’re here to help you create and deliver a lead-generating marketing to education strategy that effectively helps you support schools with your products and services.

Let’s make a difference in education together.

All information and statistics sourced from: Buzz Education 2023 Schools Surveys,;;;;;;