School newsletters that work

Use Education Week as the catalyst to evaluate your school newsletter's effectiveness as a communication tool.

This year’s Education Week theme, Learning together, provides a perfect platform to rethink how you communicate with your school community. Research shows that parents think school newsletters are the most important form of communication after personal contact.

Why not use the lead-up to Education Week to evaluate how effective your newsletter really is? Here are some key points to keep in mind.

Positive communication techniques

An effective newsletter

  • Develops positive school and parent relationships
  • Provides important, timely and interesting content that informs and educates
  • Presents a positive school image and corrects false perceptions

A well-written and designed newsletter can be an inexpensive and effective communication and engagement resource for your school.

While the essential aim is to keep parents up-to-date with school activities and policies, newsletters should be written and presented in a way that is of interest to the broader community. Your newsletter will have wider readership appeal if you include interesting and fun material such as student contributions, opinion pieces, interesting facts and figures as well as local news.

As an important school promotional resource, your newsletter should carry the school’s key messages throughout the content, reinforcing the image and reputation you are building.

When writing your newsletter always put yourself in your audience's shoes - current parents, prospective parents, staff, students and wider community. Always remember that your newsletter is in the public domain and creates powerful perceptions about your school.

Design suggestions

Aim for a clear, well laid out design that is consistent with the overall look of your communications resources. The masthead should clearly brand your newsletter as belonging to your school

  • An eye-catching masthead will establish an identity with strong visual impact.
  • Reinforce your visual identity by making sure that the colours and graphical look of your newsletter reflect your other school publications.
  • Set up guidelines for text and graphics in your template
  • For a clear uncluttered layout avoid too many fonts and overusing underlining, italics or special font effects.
  • Make sure you proofread the newsletter for spelling and grammatical errors. Nothing looks worse than a school that can’t spell!
  • If you have a regular feature in each issue, such as calendar dates, devise a “look” that belongs to that particular feature.
  • Some suggestions for regular features and other occasional content are:
    • diary dates
    • principal’s update
    • P&C news
    • special achievements
    • student reports on excursions
    • school performances
    • debating and public speaking competitions and
    • advertisements from local businesses to help offset your costs.
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