Penwortham Priory, a secondary academy in Preston, Lancashire, is an excellent example of an outward-facing school that engages communities and businesses really well. The school makes the most of its lettings potential with an online booking portal – priory.lancs.sch.uk/facility-hire-at-priory. Good quality images, clear descriptions of each facility and easy-to-follow navigation allow users to quickly search, book and pay for the facilities they’ve hired. The link is clearly shown on the school website home page. Further opportunities are offered to suppliers and local businesses for commercial sponsorship, including advertising boards around the synthetic pitch and courts. The school recognises the role, and the value, all visitors may have, even those who come for an evening a week to play football or netball.
This year, Priory Penwortham reaches its 70th anniversary, and is planning to celebrate with pupils and their families, the community and former pupils. These occasions are often very public and offer a wonderful chance for the school to invite in local media and showcase some of the work it is doing. An event such as this also provides an opportunity to re-engage with alumni and reach beyond the traditional stakeholder base.
According to the charity Future First, which helps schools build alumni networks, state secondary schools could be raising an estimated £100m each year from alumni engagement. Research suggests that a significant proportion of alumni (over 30%) would give something back to their former school(s) if asked, whether that be volunteer time, sponsorship or legacy funding, donations, aspirational talks to students etc.
- Use your school website to make lettings hire simple and cost effective
- Invest time in taking high quality photos of your facilities
- Give thought to future celebrations or anniversaries as they offer you an opportunity to reach beyond your normal sphere of influence
- Be creative with fundraising as this increases the likelihood of capturing the imagination of donors. For example, engraved brick slips or paving that acknowledges those who pledge a certain amount. Or perhaps consider offering each metre or square of your hockey court for virtual sponsorship
- Put some thought into a catchy name for your campaign. At Priory we’re launching ‘70 at 70’, raising £70,000 for the 70th anniversary.
- King Athelstan Primary School’s Big Outdoors project
- Successful fundraising and income-generation
- Time to celebrate