Campaign: Public sector - Teaching sold as the career of choice

Campaign: TDA national teacher recruitment campaign
Client: Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA)
PR team: Munro & Forster
Timescale: May 2008-September 2009
Budget: More than £100,000

The TDA wanted Munro & Forster to help encourage high-quality graduates to apply for a teaching post.

OBJECTIVES

- To increase enquiries to the teacher information line by 15 per cent

- To increase the volume of media coverage by 15 per cent

- To focus on hard-to-recruit subject areas, in particular maths and science.

STRATEGY AND PLAN

The strategy aimed to highlight the positive realities of modern teaching, and position teaching within key debates around societal issues.

One of the key challenges was the fact that there was no obvious news hook for the campaign. Teacher recruitment is a continuous cycle and it was essential to keep momentum going through all media channels.

The campaign was structured around crucial career decision-making times of the year and capitalised on the everyday issues and events affecting career decisions.

The PR team picked out a set of key challenges around the image of teaching as a profession and designed a campaign to counter this by showcasing the highlights of teaching today.

The team put together a bank of compelling and engaging case studies to work as ambassadors in order to show how great a career teaching could be; for example, the team recruited former City workers who are now teachers to tell their stories about moving from the City to the classroom.

In September 2009 the PR team picked up on a huge increase in the number of enquiries about teacher training in the wake of the recession.

Working with the TDA's press team the PR team put together a narrative about how former City workers were great candidates for the classroom. This became one of the biggest positive news stories around the recession.

A stunt involving an electrical current being passed through a line of children to illuminate the words 'Train to Teach' was carried out in three major cities.

The PR team invited regional journalists and broadcasters to become teachers for the day. Teachers from across the country submitted clips of their favourite science experiments, which were then put on YouTube.

MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION

In total the campaign generated 185 national print and online pieces of coverage, 20 national TV pieces, and 626 regional pieces across print, online and broadcast media.

RESULTS

There was a 50 per cent increase in the number of enquiries into teaching over the campaign period and this resulted in a ten per cent increase in applications to teacher training.

More than 8,000 people attended the events. The campaign was shortlisted in the public sector category of the PRWeek Awards 2009.

SECOND OPINION - Patrick Barrett, Business development director, Limelight Public Relations

There is a lot to like about this campaign: a socially responsible goal, some great ideas, and very impressive results that have been clearly driven by the TDA's business objectives.

Good PR is about timing, context and, increasingly, transparency. Dealing with the realities of teaching head on, considering the cyclical nature of the recruitment calendar and using an integrated comms mix to promote teaching recruitment as a societal issue demonstrates all of these have been included.

It's absolutely crucial when planning or running these large-scale campaigns to monitor the public mood. The creation of a narrative around how former City workers, who were losing jobs left, right and centre, were great candidates for the classroom was a very smart move.

I particularly liked the creative concept of a 'human light bulb' roadshow - where an electrical current was passed through a line of children to illuminate the words 'Train to Teach'. This notion of 'electrifying kids' is very powerful. The success of the TDA's first move into web 2.0, with teachers from across the country submitting videos of their favourite science experiments, and the resultant coverage on national media websites proves what we have believed for some time. For any nationwide or global campaign, a compelling digital proposition and a communications mix that encourages participation is now a must.

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