School – PR crisis management case study

The issue

A school in the North West of England was expecting a terrible Ofsted report. Under the stewardship of the previous headteacher the standards had gradually deteriorated and although the new head was changing things around the school’s reputation was still poor: mud sticks.

The impending Ofsted report wasn’t going to help matters.

What we did

The new headteacher was particularly concerned about local press coverage which had  not been supportive of the various positive initiatives which he had implemented since taking over the school. Despite sending press releases and trying to engage the journalists, the paper only seemed interested in bad news from the area where the school was based.

We went in and prepared the head and his senior leadership team for a potentially aggressive interview from a reporter on the assumption that the local tv and radio reporters would follow-up on the negative newspaper coverage.

In the event when the story did eventually appear in the paper the others didn’t follow up on the story but the school team felt they were prepared for that eventuality and gained much confidence about their message and how to handle the media as a result.

We also ensured that the external and internal comms were fit for purpose prior to the story being made public so that the parents were prepared.

We also supported the headmaster in his response to the newspaper enquiries particularly emphasizing the positive moves the school had made during the current stewardship.

In the event the negative coverage was kept to a minimum and the SLT now feel much better equipped for any future press inquiries.

The school has built on its contact with the local paper -thankfully relations are improving and damage to the school’s reputation was kept to a mimimum.

Now the new regime can build on this and continue to improve school standards and reputation.

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