Marketing to schools during Covid-19: An update

Topics: Education Insights
Michael McVerry
Michael McVerry Managing Director 13 May 2020

The situation with Covid-19 is constantly changing and so is the impact it’s having on schools and marketing to schools. 

In fact, just today (13th May 2020) the government has announced a potential return to schools in June for some year groups if certain criteria is met.

I’ve been hearing a lot of confusion and concern from our clients and education suppliers over the last few months about what’s happening in schools right now, and how best to approach marketing to schools during the Covid-19 pandemic.  And I realised I can help.

As the founder of Buzz Education and a current Chair of Governors, I can give you a unique insight into the situation in schools right now and advise you how to manage your marketing to schools and position your business over the coming months. 

In this blog post you’ll find some key insights from schools since lockdown started, discover what’s really happening in schools right now and what will happen going forward.

Michael McVerry Managing Director

Schools are open

Schools are currently only open to children of key workers and vulnerable children. The government advised that schools could be at a maximum of 20% capacity. However, I’ve discovered that some schools are actually taking much less than this. For example, I know of one school that’s only looking after 5 pupils a day at the moment.

Therefore, schools are open but working on a much smaller scale than usual.  Teachers are going into school on a rota basis, some day by day or week by week and others are working from home.

The important facts to remember here are that schools are open, they still need supplies, they still need to keep functioning and teachers are still going in.

Teachers are working

This applies to all teachers, not just the ones going into school to teach children of key worker and vulnerable children.

Whether they are setting work for children in the morning and then being available for parents and pupils in the afternoon or using conferencing tools to teach “normal” lessons throughout the day, teachers are working. Their duties may vary day by day compared with normal school life, but teachers are available, working and accessing their emails.

Marketing engagement is up

In this unusual time marketing to schools has changed. The usual marketing to schools trends are out of the window for now. We’ve analysed the marketing campaigns we’ve run for our clients since the pandemic started and schools closed, and have discovered that engagement rates are up on every day, and at all times, compared with the trends we’d usually see.

What we also know is that the amount of marketing going into schools has considerably reduced. This means that staff and teachers have more time to engage with the marketing they are receiving and so click-through rates and open rates are up.

Schools are planning for September

All the discussions I’ve had with school leaders are about them talking with their senior leadership teams and planning how their schools will need to prepare for the next academic year starting in September.

The new academic year is approaching quickly so schools and education staff are planning what they’ll need to put in place in order to hopefully safely reopen and support their pupils before that time arrives.

Schools have more money

With the start of the new financial year coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s easy to forget that the 2020-21 education budget provided schools access to £91.8 billion.

However, the normal things a school would need to purchase such as pens, pencils, and books for the children, are not necessary during the closures.

Schools are saving money at the moment, which means in the near future they’ll be looking to invest this money into preparing to reopen their school, and the education recovery of their pupils.

Find all you need to know about the 2020-21 education budget in our Schools Finances Snapshot.

Schools will reopen in phases

The government has just announced that schools will be able to reopen in June under certain criteria. However, it won’t be a full school reopening to start with, it will be a phased approach.

This means that certain year groups will be allowed back in stages and classes will be split for a time before everything can return to normal.

So, when marketing to schools during Covid-19, make sure you are thinking about how you can best support this process; with some children at school and some still learning at home.

For some businesses this is absolutely the right time to market to schools, for others it may be worth waiting. It all really depends on what product or service you’re offering, and what support you can provide to schools during this difficult time.

If you’re unsure please contact us and we’ll have an honest conversation with you about the best way to approach the situation.

Thanks for reading and stay safe everybody.