In my eBook on “How to choose the school” I described how one should reason to choose the right school for one’s child, keeping in mind their values and comparing the characteristics of the different schools.
In the past, I wrote a post in which I explained to parents the nature and functioning of an open day.
This year I wrote another in which I mentioned what to ask open day, when a parent is looking for the “right place” for his child.
Well, this time I decided to put myself in the shoes of those who are on the other side, that is who an open day has to organize it, because it is the head teacher or because it is one of the teachers called to talk about their school (which is a school of ‘ childhood, a primary or secondary school does not matter, the suggestions are good for everyone).
In short, teachers and school leaders to me: if I ever dream of teaching you your work (which I could not do), I can reveal to you what a parent would like to know during an open day.
How to organize an open day in the way that is most profitable for everyone?
Here, below, my parent’s advice, based on the many days of orientation I have been. I hope they are useful to someone. If they are, let me know. If, however, you do not consider them valid, I would like to know the reasons (in both cases, I hope to read some comments at the end of this ‘post’).
1. Plan ahead of time
The open day does not go improvised. It is the moment when the school presents itself to the community of residents, so a school is much better organized if it plans its own open day or rather the open days since the beginning of the year, during the first Institute Council that maybe brings together around October. Since the enrollments are now in January / February each year (for the following school year), ideally a school should hold three open days : one in December for early birds , one in January and one in February, for late parents . The ideal would be to provide the same day of the month: 10 December, 10 January, 10 February, but this is not always possible for calendar reasons.
2. Advertise yourself
Do private people do it because they are not public schools? Advertising is not immoral: it means making yourself known. Mount posters outside the school by announcing open days (s). Prepare the news, accompanied by photos, for the school’s Facebook page (do not have a Facebook page? Maybe it’s time to take action …). Put the news of the open day and the email to register on the homepage, easily accessible. Avoid posters in pdf format: they are complicated to open on tablets and, above all, on mobile phones. Today many people surf the web from mobile, not from computers, so you prefer ads written in html (I say this for the school’s webmaster!)
3. Collect reservations by mail (and phone)
An open day, kind of a school that collects a large catchment area, works best if you collect reservations, so you can plan that all parents and students who intervene find a seat, especially if the great hall is small. On the other hand, collecting reservations will allow you to cancel an open day if parents are too few or to warn parents in case of very special events.
4. Involve students
I went to a presentation of a state school on a Saturday morning where I was greeted by the boys already at the door, on the road. There was clearly a dress code for boys and girls: they were all in jeans and a white shirt. Clean faces, cheerful air, and a climate of great fun. Maybe those guys were the best in every class and maybe they laughed, commenting on their parents, but certainly behind them there was the direction of an intelligent headmaster.
5. Prepare the documentation
Prepare the documentation. Just a sheet written on the back with the training offer and additional activities. But print it well, not for crooked. Do not forget to indicate the hourly scan of the day. The documentation must be printed in many more copies than the number of parents expected: it is convenient to have spare. If the funds of the institute do not even allow photocopies, organize the fundraising by using (for the secondary) of the students, by collecting the funds between parents and former pupils of the school.
Alison Newton, an expert in research writing and working in well-known assignment writing company in UK since couple of years, Alison published many articles on different magazines and blogs, Follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.