Since their launch in 2010, academies have radically changed the educational landscape in England, now accounting for 77% of secondary schools.
If you are running an academy or Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), you will know the pressures of being a commercially focused enterprise with complex stakeholders (from sponsors to the board, parents, children, teachers and the local community), finances and governance.
If you are supplying MATs and academies with goods and services, you will know that their considerable budgets are coupled with stringent policy requirements and regulation.
You can imagine that when it comes to marketing and, in particular, copywriting for the MAT sector, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The purpose of the content could be to attract new families, showcase success, secure funding, win contracts or influence government education policy, depending on who you are writing on behalf of and which audience you are addressing.
MAT copywriting projects
I’ve been involved in many educational and MAT copywriting projects, both writing on behalf of the educational establishments targeting parents and stakeholders (some examples here) and creating marketing materials for suppliers to win their business, as well as to influence policy or thinking.
To give you a flavour of the breadth of my copywriting for MATs, here are three recent projects I’ve been involved with:
Surveyors for Education
Surveyors for Education helps academies and MATs make the most of their space, unearth funding to improve buildings and make sense of government regulations. Working with marketing agency Waypoint, I have created a series of blogs, case studies and ebooks covering topics including school estates management and academy funding.
National school leader
Working with a leading educationalist I authored a report focused on how academies promote social mobility; how independent schools can work in collaboration with academies, with each partner sharing their ideas and best practice so they can benefit from replicating what the other is doing; how simple changes can improve performance to become “levelling up” in action to reduce the North/South divide; and how bright children from difficult backgrounds can be given the same opportunities as middle-class pupils.
I spoke to headteachers, MAT chief executives and Department for Education experts. Although this was a confidential report and not in the public domain, hearing how MATs are constantly looking to bring greater equality to education I found really inspiring.
I have recently completed a submission to help a technology supplier win a national award for collaboration, based on a case study with a primary school: “A digital journey of innovation, trust and collaboration enabling a disadvantaged primary school to excel despite Covid-19.”
This was a collaboration between a state-funded multicultural school in London, with 50% of pupils receiving Pupil Premium (a measure of disadvantage), and a company supplying professional support services from EdTech to finance to HR for 3,000 schools, academies and MATs. A partnership of trust built up over six years meant that when schools closed during lockdown this primary was ahead of the game and able to provide high-quality remote learning and a laptop or iPad to every child, so there was no digital divide and no one was left behind. Staff said the result was “incredible”.
The copywriting challenge was to answer tough questions on innovation, quantify outcomes, gather testimonials from teachers and parents, and synthesise 5,000 words of fascinating background material into a succinct 1,500-word entry.
Why use Editing Edge for your academy and Multi-Academy Trust copywriting project?
It isn’t enough to be a wordsmith when writing for this sector. You need to adapt your tone of voice for each audience you deal with. (Writing for parents can be very different to writing for government bodies or commercial enterprises). You need a head for facts, an ability to conduct in-depth research and a flair for deciphering information. You need to manage many stakeholders and the politics involved. Oh, and to be able to write award-winning copy.
My background in political journalism, my years of copywriting experience – writing commercial pieces alongside thought-leadership matters – and my experience of award writing all put me in a unique position when it comes to crafting copy for the academies and MATs sector. Both on their behalf and to win them over.
If you are involved in a MAT copywriting project please get in touch to see how I can help.
Read about my other educational copywriting projects.