How to Design an Effective School Prospectus (22 point checklist)

small films founder, george hughes

7th November 2023

written by George Hughes

School prospectuses play a pivotal role in attracting new students and parents. They not only serve as the face of your school, providing valuable insights into your curriculum, facilities, and overall ethos, but a well-designed prospectus can be a powerful conversion tool – helping parents and students make an informed decision about your school. In this article from the Small Films team, we delve into all the key considerations when creating a school prospectus.

1. Understand Your Audience

Always the first step when creating your school prospectus is understanding your target audience. Consider who will be reading it – parents, students, or both. And then tailor your content and design to meet the needs and preferences of this audience. Parents, for instance, may be interested in academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and the school’s philosophy, while students might be more interested in courses, clubs, and the overall atmosphere.

>> See the Croydon High School Prospectus

2. Create an Eye-catching Cover

The cover of your prospectus is the first impression potential readers will have of your school. It should be visually appealing, reflecting the school’s branding and identity. Including high-quality images of the school campus or students engaged in learning or non-academic activities can be a great way to showcase your best bits. 

Banner for marketing an independent school

3. A Table of Contents

A table of contents is essential for easy navigation through your prospectus. This helps readers find the information they’re looking for quickly. Ensure that the table of contents is clear and includes page numbers.

4. A School Introduction

Start your prospectus with a warm and inviting introduction. Provide a brief history of the school, its mission and values, and a welcoming message from the school’s leadership. This section should set the tone for the entire school prospectus.

5. Highlight Academic Programmes

Detail your academic offerings, including courses, and any specialised programmes. Mention any noteworthy achievements, such as GCSE and A-Level scores, or successful alumni. Graphics, charts, or infographics can make this section more engaging and informative.

6. Extracurricular Activities

This section is critical, especially for parents who want a well-rounded education for their children. Highlight clubs, sports teams, arts programmes, and any other extracurricular activities. Include images of students participating in these activities to bring it to life. 

>> Read the St Mary’s Calne Prospectus 

7. Staff and Heads of Departments

Introduce the staff who make your school special. Mention their qualifications, experience, and their dedication to fostering a positive learning environment. Personal anecdotes or testimonials from students can be powerful additions.

8. Facilities and Resources

Showcase your school’s infrastructure, including classrooms, labs, libraries, sports facilities, and any recent renovations or additions. Include high-quality photos to provide a visual representation of the school’s resources. This helps parents and students get a sense of where they will be spending their time.

>> See the Marlborough College prospectus

9. Student Testimonials

Genuine testimonials from current or former students can be really compelling. They offer a firsthand perspective on the school experience and can influence the decision-making process. Include quotes, anecdotes, or even short video clips from students sharing their thoughts on the school.

10. Parent Testimonials

Similarly, testimonials from parents can provide assurance to prospective parents. These testimonials can discuss the school’s impact on their children’s lives, their satisfaction with the education, and any specific experiences they’d like to highlight.

11. Promotional Video

Incorporating a link to a school promotional video is an excellent idea. Videos are a dynamic way to showcase your school’s atmosphere, culture, and achievements. A well-produced video can captivate and engage prospective students and parents on an emotional level.

See the Eton College promotional video from the Small Films team

12. The Admission Process

Explain the admission process in detail, including application deadlines, requirements, and any specific guidelines for different grade levels. Make it clear and easy to understand, and provide contact information for the admissions department in case of enquiries.

13. Tuition and Financial Information

Include information about tuition fees, payment options, and any financial aid or scholarships that may be available. Transparency in this area is vital for parents who need to plan their finances.

14. The School Calendar

Provide an academic calendar outlining important dates, holidays, and special events throughout the school year. This helps parents and students plan and anticipate the school’s schedule.

Contact us about a school promotional video

15. Contact Information

Include clear contact information for the school, including phone numbers, email addresses, and the physical address. Encourage readers to get in touch for further information or to schedule a visit.

16. Call to Action

Your prospectus should have a clear and compelling call to action. After reading it, you want prospective parents and students to take a specific action. This could be scheduling a school visit, submitting an application, or getting in touch with your admissions team. Make this call to action prominent and easy to follow.

17. Design and Layout

The design and layout of your prospectus are as crucial as the content. It should be visually appealing, easy to read, and in line with your school’s branding. Use a consistent colour scheme and typography. Consider professional design software or hiring a graphic designer for a polished look.

18. Print and Digital Versions

Consider offering both print and digital versions of your prospectus. The print version is essential for in-person meetings and can be handed out at school fairs and events. The digital version can be easily shared on your school’s website and social media platforms, making it accessible to a broader audience.

19. Keep It Updated

Your school is continually evolving, so ensure that your prospectus stays up to date. Regularly review and revise the content to reflect any changes in the curriculum, faculty, facilities, or achievements.

20. Proofreading 

Before finalising your prospectus, invest time in proofreading. Typos, grammatical errors, or inconsistencies can undermine the professionalism and credibility of your school.

21. Distribution

Once your prospectus is ready, create a distribution plan. Distribute print copies to relevant local businesses and at Open Days or for online enquiries. Digitally, share it on your school’s website, social media channels, and through email campaigns.

22. Measure Its Impact

Track the effectiveness of your prospectus by monitoring website traffic, admission applications, and the number of enquiries. This will help you gauge its influence and make improvements for the future.

Creating a school prospectus is a substantial undertaking, but it’s a crucial tool for attracting prospective students and parents. A well-crafted prospectus serves as a window into your school’s culture, values, and offerings, helping families make informed decisions about their educational choices.