No magic formula : marketing a marginal school
This thesis describes an action research enquiry into the marketing of a small independent girls, school in the West Midlands, of which the author was the headteacher. Chapter One outlines the research situation. In Chapter Two, literary perspectives are presented on the issues of educational marketing, independent education (with particular reference to girls), and the problems of marketing a contracting school. Chapter Three covers methodological issues. In the first spiral of the enquiry, the school's provision was analysed and new initiatives were undertaken to improve it. These are described in Chapter Four. Next, the views of parents were sought, to assist the school's management team to evaluate the success of these initiatives, and to acquire firmer knowledge about sources of students. Outcomes are presented in Chapter Five. Preparatory school headteachers were identified as important 'gatekeepers, in the process of transfer into secondary independent schooling. A series of interviews with prep school heads established their views on, and involvement in, the transfer process. These interviews are analysed in Chapter Six. Concerns expressed by the prep heads about their relationships with secondary heads, particularly of girls' schools, prompted the final cycle of this study: to compare the views of heads of independent girls' schools with those of the prep heads. These findings are outlined in Chapter Seven. Chapter Eight presents a summary of marketing problems revealed by the research findings, suggests further areas of research, and indicates the final outcomes for the author and her school.