In summer 2019, Plymouth City Council forecast a demographic dip in numbers across Plymouth primary schools, including the 5 schools in Connect Academy Trust. Each child is worth nearly £3k in funding per year, so the impact on the schools and the Trust would be drastic. The Trust asked Hedgerow Marketing to work with the schools and the Trust to drive growth in pupil numbers and to raise the profile of the Trust and the schools.

Having assessed the situation and done the market research, we initiated the following:

  • PR and Marketing Plan for Sept 2019 – Jan 2020
  • Half-day social media training workshop for Heads, Deputies and Trust staff
  • Set up and managed the Facebook accounts for the schools
  • Ran Facebook adverts to raise awareness of the school open days and recruitment drives
  • Developed relationships with local media, used local radio, Plymouth Chronicle and Plymouth Herald to get lots of media attention for charity events, visit from Johnny Mercer MP, a ‘get fit’ campaign, carol concert with the deaf unit and many other things.
  • Promoted a new ‘Ocean Conservation Curriculum’ with partners Ocean Conservation Trust and National Marine Aquarium which launches in Sept 2020

The results were exceptional. 3 of the 5 schools are over-subscribed. Numbers for Sept 2020 are 51 over the predicted number and there are only 14 places in Reception empty across the Trust. The additional revenue is £150,00 per year which gives the schools so many more choices for resourcing and investment.

Connect retained Hedgerow Marketing throughout 2020 and we are now organising an Ocean Conservation Conference for October 2020.