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Welcome to the first Elephant Creative Education Wrap, a whirlwind tour of some of the best industry news stories and comment that caught our eye from the Further and Higher Education sectors over the last month.

Plus links to further advice and comment on marketing and business development for FE and HE sectors.

Schools use ‘dirty tricks’ in battle to win sixth-form places

The headline on this one couldn’t fail to attract our eye, although in way we’re not surprised by the theme of the content.

Secondary schools are desperate to keep hold of post-16 students in their own sixth-forms, just as colleges are desperate to lure them away to their more ‘grown-up’ campuses.

But the report, which sites the AoC as its source, stated that some schools, desperate for pupils to stay on for sixth-form, have been binning brochures sent by post-16 colleges, arranging school outings to coincide with open days at rival institutions and offering incomplete careers advice.

One college principal said a school in the south-west arranged an ice-skating trip for pupils on the date of the local college’s open day, and also failed to give out copies of its brochures until after the deadline for applications to its own sixth-form.

Our view? This is all unsurprising giving the huge competition out there for Further Education now, and the pressure to get top students signed up to your courses. But what both sixth-forms and colleges need to do, is not narrow down student options – but to give them real choice. What suits one child will not suit another, and sixth-forms and colleges both have very different things to offer. It’s about demonstrating those differences (small, safe environment of sixth-form VS bustling, grown-up campus facilities at college, for instance) and allowing the students to choose.

…This leads us nicely on to our next pick of the month, an article by one of our FE marketing experts on the Elepahant Creative blog

College Admissions is a 12-month-process

With all this competition going on for post-16 students, those sixth-forms and colleges that simply view the admissions process as a short campaign, consisting of mainly an annual open day, advertising and enrolment, are ultimately going to miss out. As the article explains, prospective students and parents are forming views of your institution way before open days, possibly a year or two in advance, and so your PR and communications campaign needs to be a 12-month process.

….And whilst we are on the subject of PR and communications campaigns, did you see the coverage of the Guardian University Awards? Here we take a look at the fantastic University of East Anglia AshTag campaign and also the University of Loughborough Eat Your Campus initiative, both of which are great examples we can take ideas from for communication planning.


University Minister wants more Higher Education courses at colleges

This news was broadly welcomed last week by the Further Education industry, with minister David Willetts calling for more HE courses to be offered by colleges in ‘cold spots’ around the country where this is missing (for instance Yeovil and East Anglia). It continues a trend across the industry for HE courses to be provided at a local level by colleges, allowing cheaper and more convenient study for over 18s and adults who do not wish to go to university.

And in the same week…


What has happened to 14-19 vocational education?

Questions were raised over whether the Wolf Report, on the future of vocational education for 14-19 year old, written three years ago, was being carried out fully by FE institutions.

It raised questions on the funding of vocational training and apprenticeships and how this affected the ability of colleges to offer this training. This report by FE Week took an in-depth look at the pros and cons of the Wolf recommendations.


And lastly…..

Monthly marketing tips: Thinking about your college alumni? Get some tips for how and why you should run an alumni association here.

#EducationTOTW: Have you seen our Education Tweeter of the Week Awards and do you think you’re worthy of the prize? If so get in touch @ElephantCreate or email


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