Chartership awarded to founder of Pedroza Communications

We’re delighted to announce that Anna Pedroza, founder of Pedroza Comms, has been awarded Chartered status by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. One of seven to achieve the award in Spring 2022 she now joins an elite community of 418 Chartered practitioners - just 0.44% of the estimated number of comms professionals in the UK (PRCA Census 2019).
 
Getting chartered involves a rigorous day-long assessment on ethics, strategy and leadership. Anna said of the process: “The assessment was pretty challenging but it was also enjoyable to have a day of high-level professional discussion with colleagues at the top of their game. Preparing involved lots of reading and thinking about my own professional practice, and I also had advice from some great PRs who’d been through the process.”
 
CIPR President Rachel Roberts Chart.PR, MCIPR said: “Many congratulations to this latest round of PR professionals to become Chartered and achieve the PR industry’s highest standard of professional distinction. Becoming Chartered recognises not only an individual’s PR capability, but also expertise in strategy, leadership and ethical practice.”
 
Anna is keen for other PR practitioners to become Chartered and is part of the CIPR’s Chartership Support Buddies who are all available to share their experience of becoming Chartered, offer advice and generally encourage people.
 
Anna added: “I’d love more PRs working in education to take the plunge and become Chartered so I’m keen to help with advice and support.”
 
To get in touch with Anna about Chartership email: anna@pedrozacommunications.co.uk


Bridging the gap: edtech and the struggle to level up

A new short report, produced by our client Tassomai, focuses on what needs to happen for edtech software to deliver specific benefits for disadvantaged children and young people.

Bridging the gap: edtech and the struggle to level up draws together key points from a roundtable discussion which included secondary school leaders and teachers, and other key organisations including Education Endowment Foundation, Learning with Parents, Equal Education and ImpactEd.

Chaired by Joe Hallgarten, CEO of the Centre for Education and Youth, the roundtable report highlights three key things where edtech has the potential to help:

  • Data from edtech software can help teachers and leaders to understand more about disadvantaged learners but it needs to be easy to analyse so it can inform teaching and learning decisions which will benefit disadvantaged learners
  • Edtech’s capability to personalise learning to individual students can help teachers to tailor support to individual children which has the potential to narrow the attainment gap
  • Designing edtech software for disadvantaged learners from the start can help to ensure their needs are prioritised

Tassomai is a learning app used by many teachers to provide online homework and revision, Murray Morrison, who is the founder and CEO, commented on the publication of the report saying: “Narrowing the attainment gap remains the key challenge for the education system, especially as we steer our way out of the pandemic.

“Edtech software has huge potential to support and enable effective learning, but there is fervent discussion about how it should be designed and delivered so that it benefits every learner, especially the most disadvantaged.

“This report captures the thrust of those discussions and I hope it will make a valuable contribution as we put the pandemic behind us and focus once again on one of the key challenges we can all play our part in tackling.”

To download the report visit: www.tassomai.com/edtech-and-the-attainment-gap


Maximising downloads using new research – case study

Edurio provides a survey management and data visualization platform for schools and multi academy trusts and works with over 100 trusts as well as 1500 schools. They regularly publish state of the national reports based on substantial data sets of student or staff survey information. They approached Pedroza to increase the reach of a new report called Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Amongst School Staff.

Strategy

We reviewed the results of previous launch campaigns and found that, although there was national coverage, reach in the sector media was limited. We wanted to try and secure placement in the Tes and also felt we could secure more placement in stakeholder newsletters, magazines or blogs.

Based on this, we worked with the team to identify the most news worthy findings and interviewed two MAT leaders to get their views on the findings. We drafted a press release with a clear call to action to download the report from the landing page.

Our sell in initially focused on the news story and this was followed up with offers of expert comment from our MAT leaders, the CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts, and Edurio’s own spokespeople.

Results

Campaign reach was 3.1m. We secured coverage in the Tes and Schools Week and a further 10 education sector publications, blogs and podcasts, plus coverage in the regional media. The report also prompted discussion by commentators for instance this piece in Schools Week.

Most importantly, our work drove considerable traffic to the landing page and we helped Edurio to secure their highest number of report downloads.

Feedback from Edurio

Ernest Jenavs, CEO of Edurio was delighted with Pedroza’s support and said: “Pedroza Comms brought solid PR expertise, creative thinking and enthusiasm to their work with us. They provided great support throughout the planning period and we felt they went the extra mile in developing ideas, reaching out to contacts and providing advice. Their understanding of education helped them to get to grips with our research and identify the findings which were most newsworthy.

Anna and her team secured great pick up in the sector media including the Tes and Schools Week, as well as coverage with leading education podcasts. Most importantly, Pedroza Comms helped us to secure the highest number of downloads for any of our reports.”

Download the report here.

Read the launch press release here.


Less than half of school staff feel their workplace is diverse

Largest study amongst school staff on equality, diversity and inclusion

Today we’re helping to launch new research, produced by our client Edurio, a leading provider of stakeholder feedback solutions to schools and multi-academy trusts, which shows that less than half of school staff (43 per cent) feel their workplace is diverse. The report, titled Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Among School Staff, is the largest review of EDI amongst school and academy trust staff in England involving more than 16,500 staff from 381 schools. It found that less than three-quarters of Minority Ethnic staff (69 per cent) feel that their workplace is committed to promoting EDI compared to 83 per cent of White British/Irish staff.

The study discovered that leadership teams are perceived to be less diverse than the wider staff body.  Less than a third (28 per cent) believe its leadership team to be diverse. Almost nine out of ten (88 per cent) of those in a leadership position are confident that all staff are treated equally. However, this compares to just two-thirds (70 per cent) of those that do not hold a leadership position.

Furthermore, only a third of staff (36 per cent) consider the diversity of their school’s staff body to be representative of their student population. Almost half (47 per cent) of respondents in urban areas, most notably London and the West Midlands, believe their school to be diverse. This compares to a quarter (24 per cent) of those in rural areas.

The report by Edurio highlighted key differences between those who identify as male compared to those who identify as female. A higher proportion (65 per cent) of men feel confident that decisions around promotion are made without bias at their school. This fell to just over half (57 per cent) of women. Furthermore, two-thirds (64 per cent) of men are confident that their career is advancing in alignment with their personal needs and responsibilities compared to only 58 per cent of women.

Ernest Jenavs, CEO of Edurio said: "The last year has highlighted the magnitude of global challenges around EDI. The diverse backgrounds and identities of employees in education should have no adverse effect on their experience but we still have some way to go to get there. Many school and trust leaders have stepped up to better understand the challenges. We have looked deeper into EDI among school staff across England than has ever been done before. Edurio would like to thank every individual who has shared their experiences. This report is only the first of a number of publications shedding light on how the education sector can become more inclusive for all school staff."

Other notable findings from the research include:

  • 68 per cent of women and 70 per cent of men from a Minority Ethnic background are confident that all staff are treated equally in school. This compares to 75 per cent of White women and 81 per cent of White men.
  • Respondents viewed opportunities for advancement differently. Four in 10 staff (43 per cent) are not confident that decisions on promotions are made without bias. Between non-disabled and disabled staff there was a significant difference: just 45 per cent of disabled staff felt confident that decisions around promotion are made without bias compared to
    60 per cent of non-disabled staff.
  • Religion also played a significant role in how valued staff feel at their school. It found that 65 per cent of respondents who selected a religion other than Christianity, said they feel very or quite valued in their workplace. This is lower than those who selected Christianity (73 per cent) and those who identify as agnostic or atheist (71 per cent).

Evelyn Forde MBE, Headteacher of Copthall School, said: “I was very impressed with the content of the questions used in the EDI review. I felt they were specific and the focus on being able to capture how ED&I is woven throughout a school (or not) was expertly done. This is an important piece of research and I would encourage all school leaders to engage with its findings."

Leora Cruddas, CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts, said: “Edurio’s latest research is a fascinating snapshot of EDI in schools today. Although we have all made great strides towards building an inclusive workspace, it is clear we have more work to do. I urge all school leaders and their staff to continue to listen and evolve.”

To download the full report visit here.


PrimarySite Case Study

PrimarySite works with schools and trusts to build websites and provide advice on brand and strategic comms. They asked Pedroza Comms to help them to build their profile with multi academy trusts (MATs). 

Our strategy combined new research with listening to MAT leaders and working with stakeholders. It was designed build brand awareness and enable PrimarySite to make a useful contribution to discussions about MATs and forge new relationships.

Starting with the research, we spoke to MAT leaders and key influencers and identified that sustainable growth of a MAT was a key priority and focused the research on this topic. 

Using our network, and PrimarySite’s contacts, we appointed a Steering Group of MAT leaders and experts.  We undertook a literature review, interviews and a survey to gather insight and consulted regularly with the steering group on the findings and drafting of the report. 

We launched the report in June 2020. We needed to reach a very targeted audience of MAT leaders and influencers so, as well as coverage in the Tes and Schools Week, we worked with  the Association of School and College Leaders, the Institute of School Business Leaders, and the National Governance Association who shared the research findings in their member magazines and newsletters. 

This secured a 1.74 million reach for the campaign. The report was downloaded more than 250 times in the first week and there was positive feedback from MAT leaders.  Our work also resulted in PrimarySite building closer relationships with ISBL and ASCL, and further interviews and speaking opportunities about the research.

Rachel Panther, Managing Director, PrimarySite said:

Pedroza Comms has helped us to increase our profile with multi academy trust leaders by producing new research, building relationships with key stakeholders and securing editorial and speaking opportunities. We’ve valued their education expertise and network of senior contacts as well as their ability to contribute both strategically and tactically. We’d recommend them to any organisation wanting to strengthen their position in the education market.

Download the report here.

Read the launch press release here.


PrimarySite Research Report

COVID-19 PREDICTED TO SLOW THE EXPANSION OF MULTI ACADEMY TRUSTS New research exposes how multi-academy trusts are struggling to grow and Covid-19 adds to the challenges

Today we’re helping to launch new research, produced by PrimarySite the education branding and website company, which questions how easy it is for multi academy trusts (MATS) to grow and how Covid-19 has made expansion harder. Sustainable Growth in Multi Academy Trusts interviewed and surveyed MAT leaders and experts to get their insight on how MAT could grow. 

The research identifies five important challenges: lack of available schools wanting to join MATs, a risk averse culture, competition from other MATs, a shortage of senior leaders with the right expertise, and limited access to funding to support growth.  The research also found that managing immediate issues linked to the pandemic needed to take priority and would slow the growth of MATs plans for growth.

Rachel Panther, Managing Director, PrimarySite said: “The research shows that MAT leaders are keen to grow in a sustainable way but face numerous challenges which have now intensified due to Covid-19.  We were prompted to undertake this research ahead of Covid-19 because there is very little advice for MAT leaders on the practicalities of growth.  With the arrival of the pandemic I feel this is needed more than ever.  Our report is packed with advice from MAT leaders, and I hope that in these challenging times this will be a useful resource for MATs that have an ambition to grow.”

The research found that smaller MATs felt under pressure to grow, but options for growth were limited. One approach is for smaller MATs to merge together, or join a larger MAT. However the research found that many respondents would not consider a growth strategy based on merging with other MATs.

Stephen Morales who was a member of the research steering group and is the CEO of the Institute of School Business Leadership said: “Covid-19 is a huge disruptive challenge for the leaders of MATs and growth plans are likely to slow down. In the medium term, mergers may well increase as smaller trusts cope with the longer term impact of the crisis. However, access to the right advice and help about growth is essential. This research asks important questions and I recommend that MAT leaders, and others involved in this area of education, read it.”

The research found that MAT leaders were also cautious about managing the outcomes of rapid growth and committed to ensuring that any school joining their MAT supported its values and ethos. Mark Lacey, also a member of the research steering group and CEO of the Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust said: “It’s essential to ensure that our growth is responsible and sustainable and that’s even more important now that we’re dealing with Covid-19 as well. In the early years some MATs did grow too quickly and this led to issues. I think the whole sector has learnt from this and is now, rightly, more cautious. What’s important is that MAT leaders have a clear vision and strategy for growth which is quite specific and avoids a scatter gun, reactive approach.”

To download the free report, visit here.


What the education comms community is talking about now

In the first few days of the lockdown, we decided to host our popular #CommsED meetups on Twitter. The aim was to offer a virtual space for education comms and marketing specialists to support each other, share ideas and discuss approaches.
It was a stressful time for everyone, with the lockdown so new, so coming together was a helpful antidote to the strangeness. There was a great response and lots of lively discussions, with the lockdown taking centre stage. We talked about positive comms strategies to adopt in the current climate, tips for hosting online events and meetings, ways to stay in touch with audiences plus the best memes and jokes we'd all seen! We thought we'd share a few things that we learned.

At a time like this, finding the right tone is crucial. We discussed how we felt about companies sending marketing and sales materials to schools in the last week or so before closure with @karen_ozjones describing this activity as “tone deaf”.

https://twitter.com/karen_ozjones/status/1242816706197827586?s=20

The importance of being responsive to the needs of schools was also raised.

https://twitter.com/EdFella/status/1242817745458278401?s=20

https://twitter.com/nowpressplay/status/1242817759337160704?s=20

Tilly from Now Press Play summed this up well:

https://twitter.com/nowpressplay/status/1242820964372688898?s=20

How can we cope with lockdown and school closures ourselves? How do we stay safe and still get the work done? This is especially challenging for people who are juggling childcare, getting to grips with new technology and navigating new comms challenges all at the same time. Tilly also shared a lovely way of coping.

https://twitter.com/nowpressplay/status/1242820077080231938?s=20

Remote working was discussed a lot. Some companies, like Pobble, already had experience as Anna Whiteley explained.

https://twitter.com/_AnnaWhiteley/status/1242820619827400706?s=20

Zoom came out as the video conferencing tool of choice but there were a lot of different experiences. It was also noted that broadcasters seemed to favour Skype.

https://twitter.com/AmyatEnjoy/status/1242818561401409536?s=20

Overall the message was to be adaptable.

https://twitter.com/EYFSF/status/1242816459157442561?s=20

We all agreed that it is important to accept that how and when you work might need to change. Spending some time researching the tools that work best for you is important.

Lots of people involved in the chat were also rethinking and developing their offers to schools. There were lots of examples of organisations working rapidly to develop new tools or features to meet the needs of existing customers.

https://twitter.com/nowpressplay/status/1242818941266923525

https://twitter.com/EYFSF/status/1242815536016379904

Incidentally, at Pedroza Comms, we’ve found that all our clients are rethinking and developing their offers to schools too. We’ve rethought numerous PR plans, developed lots of angles and targeted new audiences.

Our advice is; don’t be afraid to put current projects on hold and change your direction temporarily. Make some time to step back and identify ways that you can adapt and develop your offer.

Join our next CommsED chat

We hope that you find these insights useful. Our next CommsED chat will take place on Twitter at 2 pm on the 6th of May. To get involved, search #CommsED on Twitter. If you need any support during this time, we'd love to chat. You can email us or tweet Anna @PedrozaComms or Susan @EdCommsPR

To find out more about our CommsED meetups, click here.


Free insight: Ed Dorrell, Head of Content at the Tes tells us three things to remember

We recently interviewed Ed Dorrell, Head of Content from the Tes at a breakfast event we co-hosted with Roxhill Media, the organisation that provides us with our very useful media database.

Ed shared lots of essential insight and advice during the session and you can access all of it in our free briefing which you can download here. To get you started, here are three things we found out:

  1. News is online – Ed explained that virtually all news content is now handled online and, overall, about two-thirds of the Tes' editorial is digital.
  2. Tes International just launched – a new biannual publication aimed at both school and group leaders and individual teachers.
  3. Podcasts just keep getting bigger – the Tes hosts more than 10 podcasts and they are incredibly popular. The latest is the Tes Technology podcast, which launched in January this year. It joins podcasts covering news, pedagogy (Tes Podagogy), maths, English, FE, behaviour and more.

Click here to download the full briefing.

If you subscribe to our newsletter, you will already have received this briefing in full. For more tips on pitching to journalists, read our article 'Education PR: what journalists really want to know.


Good Luck to our brilliant Associate Director Susan Higgins

Susan Higgins has been Associate Director at Pedroza Comms for the past five years. During this time, Susan has been involved in a huge array of projects, helping to guide, promote and develop our clients’ public profiles. She has worked with the BBC, First News and Sparx and many others, and she has been instrumental in helping to establish Pedroza Comms as a leading specialist education consultancy.

Susan has now decided to take the next step in her career and will be going in-house as Head of Communications for the Edge Foundation, an education charity promoting the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Although we are sad that we will no longer be working closely with Susan, we are delighted that she is taking on this exciting new challenge and we wish her the very best for the future!

Susan is also the co-founder of CommsED, our exclusive network for senior comms and marketing professionals in the education sector. We are very pleased that she is going to continue to lead CommsED with Anna and she will remain a valued part of our professional network. Good luck Susan!


CommsED Nov 2019

For those in comms and marketing, education is a challenging sector. It’s highly political, the workforce is fragmented and behaves more like a consumer market than a business one. Most importantly, the stakes are high – after all, we’re dealing with children’s futures.

So, although we love it, being an education comms and marketing professional can be tough.

CommsED is our way of making things easier. Everything we do is based on a belief that a problem shared is a problem halved. We run CommsED because we think it’s good to have a chat, a laugh and even a moan with people that do similar things to you.

We hosted our second CommsED event in November and it is clear that what we're doing is working. We have a growing waiting list, more people turned up than we could fit in and no-one wanted to leave. Clear signs of success!

Shelley Morgan, the driving force behind Bett 2020, described it as: “Small, intimate, and enough time to talk to people.” More than anything, people told us it made them feel special.

Andrew Carrick, comms strategy expert and fresh out of agency land, summed it up: “We’re a special niche with some lovely people who do comms AND care about their education world, so it’s nice to meet like-minded people with the same challenges who probably work on their own or in tiny teams.”

Finally, a shout out to Roxhill, the leading real-time media intelligence platform, who sponsor CommsED and kept us all hydrated. A couple of glasses of wine are always appreciated by the education comms crowd!

If you’d like to know more about CommsED, please get in touch with Anna or Susan:

anna@pedrozacommunications.co.uk or susan@pedrozacommunications.co.uk.