Case studies

Whitelands Academy: An Admissions Achievement


Securing over 100 admissions for a new secondary school in just two months.

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The Client

Whitelands Academy


Eduprise worked with Whitelands Academy to successfully attract the sufficient number of admissions for a new secondary school to open in a full project length of two months.

The Challenge

The Challenge

The town of Bicester in Oxfordshire is a thriving area experiencing rapid growth as millions of pounds are invested in its infrastructure. As a result, their population is soaring, and with many families moving to the area, the need for a new secondary school quickly became apparent.

To increase the available secondary school places in Bicester, and provide people in the area with a greater choice, The White Horse Federation multi-academy trust announced its intention to build Whitelands Academy. This brand-new, state-of-the-art secondary school is to open its doors in September 2020, but first, they needed students.

When the application period began for secondary schools, on 1st September 2019, Whitelands Academy was not an option for parents applying through the Oxfordshire County Council online portal. Instead, parents were required to apply directly through the Whitelands Academy website. This meant it was crucial to raise awareness of the school and remind parents to follow an additional procedure.

Whitelands Academy needed more than 110 applications in order to justify a year 7 intake and opening its doors in September. To make sure that was possible, The White Horse Federation requested the support of Eduprise to raise awareness, increase the school’s exposure, reach new audiences, and drive admission applications.

The Solution


The Eduprise team understood the gravity of the situation they faced. If the target of 110 applications wasn’t met, Whitelands Academy, which had cost millions to build, would go unopened and unused for a full year.

There were two key elements to achieving that goal. The first was to make as many parents with children in year 6 as possible aware of Whitelands Academy, its fantastic facilities, and the opportunities it offered to students. The second was for the communications to persuade parents to complete a school-specific admissions application as well as applying for other schools through the council’s online portal.

So, with the tasks of raising awareness and initiating a desired action in mind, the Eduprise team got to work.

The Process


Eduprise got to work on establishing a marketing and communications campaign that would appeal to the target audience — parents with children aged between 10 and 11. With this criteria in mind, the vast majority of the audience would be between the ages of 30 and 45.

Research shows that, in 2018, 92% of 25 to 34 year olds and 87% of 35 to 44 year olds had social media profiles. It was therefore clear that social media was going to be an important channel in this campaign.

The team focused the admissions drive through social media, releasing daily organic posts across Facebook and Twitter. They also launched three paid ad campaigns — two on Facebook, one on Twitter — targeting parents in the school’s catchment area with children who would be leaving primary school in 2020. This focus on social media was accompanied by an email to contacts who had previously expressed their interest in securing a place at the school.

While these campaigns ran on social media they would drive admissions and raise awareness of Whitelands Academy. But there was still more work to be done for the school to become a well-known household name in Bicester. Eduprise contacted the Kingsmere Front Runner — a small but popular community magazine that covered events taking place on the Kingsmere Estate, where Whitelands was being built — and encouraged them to place an article about the construction progress taking place at the school. While the Front Runner’s readership may not be the same demographic the team was targeting, it reached out to a different audience and helped raise general awareness of the school in the area.

The Outcome


As a result of this multi-channel campaign, Whitelands Academy received a total of 112 applications, surpassing the number they needed in order to open in September with a full year 7 intake.

The social media campaigns proved crucial in the success of this admissions drive. The two Facebook campaigns drew extremely high levels of engagement:

Total Impressions

93,603

Total Reach

12,909

Link Clicks

378

Unique Link Clicks

313

Cost per Result

Around £1.10 on Average

The Twitter campaign also captured the imagination:

Impressions

33,169

Link Clicks

89

Cost per Result

£1.69

Total Engagements

436


Through a combination of paid-for, targeted social media advertising — a channel rarely used by schools — and wider marketing that increased overall awareness of the school and its fantastic offering, the Eduprise team filled an entire year group of a new school in just two months.

What They Said


Lucy Sullivan, Business Services Manager at The White Horse Federation, said: “The social media campaign with Eduprise was pivotal in allowing us to embrace our local Community and for them to put their trust in applying for Whitelands Academy.”

“We were able to use this platform to maximise our reach to both students and parents. We uploaded virtual videos and used the Meet the Teacher crowd casts to show Whitelands Academy to everyone. By using Eduprise we were also able to capture registered interest details for those who wanted to stay in touch, leading up to and beyond Whitelands Academy opening.”

Everyone at Eduprise is delighted that Whitelands Academy will be able to open in September as planned. The amount of time, money, and resources invested in the school has shown the commitment of The White Horse Federation and the Whitelands Academy senior leaders to establish the school as a centre of excellence for secondary education in Bicester, and we were happy to play our part.

If your trust is opening a new school and needs admissions applications fast, or you simply need to fill empty spaces before an upcoming deadline, get in touch with the Eduprise team today.

“The social media campaign with Eduprise was pivotal in allowing us to embrace our local Community and for them to put their trust in applying for Whitelands Academy."

- Lucy Sullivan, Business Services Manager at The White Horse Federation
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