Parents Voice in Government School Education

Publicity within the school

Your club can bring these principles into action by using various publicity methods. Some of these methods are school community-based.

Online

In the digital age, even small groups can take advantage of social media and other online technologies to spread their message. Some of the communication channels outlined on our Keeping in touch with members page are also useful for reaching out to a wider audience.

Videos

Video is a highly engaging way to communicate. These days, anyone with a mobile phone can record video footage. Putting it together into an accessible package is the challenge, and that’s where a new service called Filmpond comes in. Filmpond helps school communities to share stories by partnering them with graduates from Australian film schools. Schools can plan and create films for free or elect to have them professionally edited at low cost. Fortunately, the Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO) has partnered with Filmpond to help schools and Parent Clubs easily plan and create films to support family engagement.

Read more on ACSSO’s Filmpond page

Leaflets or flyers

Despite the advantages of online communications, it’s a crowded world out there in cyberspace with many messages clamouring for our attention. You might decide that something on paper, such as a leaflet or flyer, would be more effective for your target audience. A leaflet or flyer might be aimed at informing people about the club, important meetings or issues affecting the school or club. An organised group of parents distributing pamphlets can be very effective in generating interest, both in the issue raised as well as the parent group itself. It is also an effective means of ensuring all parents at the school have access to up to date information.

Purpose of the flyer

Decide what is the main purpose for your leaflet or flyer. Is it to inform? educate? inspire? entertain? unite? etc..

Knowing your main purpose, dictates 80% of the content.

Call to action

Make sure you communicate clearly what you are asking people to do. Is it to come to an event, donate money, sign a petition, join the club? Make sure that if the person reading the flyer asks, “So what should I do?”, there is a clear and prominent answer for them.

Audience

Decide who your target audience will be. Give consideration to:

  • Age category
  • Gender
  • Social environment
  • Social and economic background of reader
  • Where will your article end up? Fridge, coffee table, etc.
  • Culture and language of school community

Life of document

In planning your document, consider if it is to contain information for immediate use, or will it be applicable for a longer period, for example, 2-3 years?

Pictures, graphics and format

When designing a flyer advertising an event, information brochure, etc.:

  • Graphics A lot of information can be conveyed through a picture but be careful, overuse can result in loss of effectiveness.
  • Break up information Use sub headings. Double space for easy reading.
  • Quotes as headlines If appropriate, for example, “Let’s see action”.
  • Use punchy phrases For example, ’Get Involved’.
  • Spaces Think about how you can use the space effectively. Don’t clutter – empty spaces can be very effective.

Material to suit wide audience

When writing articles to promote your club or organisation design the material to suit a variety of applications or formats. For example – newsletter, website, facebook, brochure, promotion board, etc.

Information

Don’t say too much on a leaflet.

  • What is the main purpose for providing information?
  • Try to stick to one message per pamphlet. Short frequently appearing pamphlets are more effective than long ‘one-offs’. A good campaign around a school issue can be built up with a series of leaflets starting with a hard hitting leaflet on the basic issue and then the development of this in subsequent pamphlets.
  • Put the most important parts of your message at the start and end. If using two sides of the paper it works best if you have big headings and a few simple points on one side and more detailed information on the other.
  • Always make sure that information is correct (i.e. phone numbers, dates etc.)
  • Always include the name of your organisation and how you can be contacted, on the leaflet.

Responses

Give opportunity for readers to respond and where to go for further information e.g. a return slip, contact details.

Newsletters

Newsletters differ from leaflets in that they are usually bigger and appear regularly. A good tactic for parent clubs is to obtain a regular newsletter space in the school bulletin.

Content

Short snippets and articles tend to get read more than long ones so it’s a good idea to keep the content chatty and in brief segments. Your newsletter’s usefulness lies mainly in keeping people up to date with things that are happening and alerting them to ways that they can get further information or get more involved if they want.

Format

The more interesting you make your newsletter space, the more likely it will be read. A good newsletter will use graphics and a variety of layout designs, not just straight typed pages that go on and on. It should be visually appealing. Give your newsletter space a name that is catchy and reflects your group, community or issue. Design a permanent heading or symbol that people will recognise.