SCHOOL MARKETING DAY | THURSDAY 29 OCTOBER

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  • UK Independent Schools
St Dunstan’s College Award Winning Website
Finalsite

Translated as “Adorn the White,” Albam Exorna, the St Dunstan’s College motto is as relevant today as it was at the time of their foundation in 1888. The blank canvas of the white school crest represents the as-yet-unwritten story of each St Dunstan’s pupil. 

St Dunstan’s College’s marketing team have embraced the present-day context of digital storytelling. The proof is in a visually stunning, technically-robust website that celebrates past, present and future, and promotes the school’s values: courage, confidence, creativity, compassion and curiosity. This extraordinary website is now receiving the recognition it deserves as it has just been awarded a 2019 Silver Davey Award for its status as a ‘best in class’ school website, and the College has now been nominated for Marketing Campaign of the Year at the upcoming TES Independent School Awards.

St Dunstan’s Head of Marketing, Jordon-Lee Squibb explains the College’s decision in working with Finalsite.

Winner of the Silver Davey Award 2019, Best in Class School Site
Shortlisted for the TES Independent School Awards 2020, Marketing Campaign of the Year

The decision to move to a new provider

“The old website didn’t fit where the school was heading,” says Jordon-Lee, “and the previous content management system (CMS) was clunky.” A lack of responsiveness, static and repetitive design and limited flexibility stood in the way of the school’s marketing and admissions goals; too many obstacles thwarted attempts to engage the school community and increase admissions enquiries via the website. “The school is quickly moving forward and we wanted a website that reflected this, as well as a CMS that could keep up with the fast-paced demands of the multiple departments that use the site,” says Jordon-Lee.

The benefits of a robust content management system

  1. Having a website that HR, admissions, marketing and enterprises teams, can manage independently.

“The way content is laid out is a huge benefit and we love having a video on the homepage. It helps that the back end of the website is much more user-friendly.” -  Jordon-Lee Squibb. 

In many schools, the website is left in its entirety to the marketing department to manage, but in this instance, it’s not only the marketing department that the website serves. The admissions and HR teams also have ownership of their relevant pages on the website. Additionally, the enterprises team have recently launched their very own website, which is a separate branch of the main college website. Jordon-Lee highlights the convenience of having multiple administrators with different accesses and permissions, “Our HR team is uploading job advertisements to the website by themselves. Our bursar takes responsibility for keeping policies updated and the admissions team are able to maintain their own event forms, add new events to the website calendar and continue processing admissions using the iSAMS management information system (MIS).”

  1. A new and efficient method of data collection and forms

“Forms Manager has saved us a lot of time.”

Admissions enquiry forms and event registrations are much easier to use and the team receives email notifications with the information they need at a glance, as well as having a central place where they can look at all the collated information.

  1. An improvement in home-to-school communications   

“There are more parents reading the latest news than ever before. It’s become one of the most popular areas of our site. We used to have a few hundred visits on our news page and now we have thousands. Prospective parents even mentioned it at one of our recent open events.”

 

When schools move to Composer, the amount of possibility and capability can feel somewhat overwhelming with the number of modules and a plethora of marketing and communications tools to choose from. However, standard modules like Forms Manager and Posts, (Finalsite’s tool for blogs and news), can create significant time savings and improve the quality and presentation of news and blogs. “My favourite module is Posts,” says Jordon-Lee who shares his delight in experiencing his vision come to fruition. “I had a vision of how I wanted the school’s news to look and using the posts module I was able to bring it to life!” 

  1. Saving time on administration and improving the online admissions process

Alongside the technical time-saving benefits that come from using Finalsite’s tools, the team at St Dunstan’s have also experienced a healthy decrease in queries about how to apply because they are now quickly and simply answered on the website. “The number of prospective parents asking how-to questions has declined as a result of the intuitive user journey, parents can now find everything that they need on the website,” says Jordon-Lee. “This has reduced the time spent answering queries during the admissions process” 

Enquiry forms are easy for prospective parents to find and fill out.

The new St Dunstan’s College website launched in 2019, followed soon after by an equally successful launch of the St Dunstan’s Enterprises website. 

The websites may have launched but for the team at St Dunstan’s, the work has just begun as they continue to put their new school website to the test and relish the flexibility and scope of Finalsite’s content management system, Composer. 

They were able to utilise Composers adaptability recently when they responded quickly to their win at the 2019 Davey Awards by adding a news post thanking the organisers. They said: “We are delighted with the award, and would like to thank the judges at the Davey Awards for honouring the College website with this recognition. We would also like to say thank you to the fantastic team at Finalsite UK for working with us to create such a special website. There has been a great reception from prospective and current parents, staff and pupils.”

 

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