Transforming the image of a private school.

Marketing strategy, Web Design, Photography

Hampshire Collegiate School (HCS) is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 2 to 18, nestled on the edge of the New Forest, Hampshire.

Working with parents, staff and pupils to develop guidelines for change.

Rooster spent time with a selection of people associated with HCS, including the marketing team, admissions, parents, teachers, pupils and the senior leadership team. Our aim was to discover what perceptions were held about the school, where it was succeeding and areas of concern. These insights formed a guideline report, for both Rooster and HCS to follow.

We discovered that the majority of those interviewed perceived HCS as a 3-star school, although the offering was actually 5 star and the marketing needed to reflect this. Their current website didn’t showcase HCS’s character and personality, neither did it show off how they create well-rounded pupils who have succeeded later in life. Parents were also frustrated with the current communication channels and requested a portal they could access for information as the site previously only catered for prospective parents.

Capturing the vibrant and inclusive atmosphere of the school.

Rooster planned the photo shoot around imagery required for the website to put the focus on HCS’s unique character and the pupils that attend. We faced the challenge of shooting during the summer, which meant there was a limited number of pupils available compared to term time. Our photographers worked around this challenge by using various focal points and background features to draw away from capturing the same set of pupils repeatedly.

Creating a website that captures HCS, its rich history and inclusive approach to education.

We utilised all the feedback we received during our audience and outcomes sessions during the planning, development and hosting of the new website. Rooster worked to develop a beautiful new site that not only enticed prospective parents but also catered for current parents looking for information plus the pupils themselves. Our research uncovered that it wasn’t clear that HCS was a through school, offering education from Nursery to Sixth Form. Because of this, we built a home page that made it immediately clear. This affected the navigation, home page header and even the tone of voice. Each school has their own individual landing pages with links to specific year-related content. Each step you take tries to push the user along the educational journey, for example, if you’re looking at secondary science you’ll be prompted to view sixth form science to see how you can progress further.

HCS is proud of their inclusive status, allowing admissions from children at any education level. Their website needed to reflect the benefits of this outside of the traditional education curriculum alongside convincing both prospective parents and equally their children to attend. So we created sections that focused on extracurricular activities, which not only shows the schools character but also works to interest potential pupils whose focus isn’t on curriculum or fees. It was important that the imagery supported this with inclusive group shots, candid moments and most importantly pupils enjoying themselves.

Phase two of the website is being rolled out currently and focuses on two additional portals. The first is a large learning portal for the pupils, which will be updated regularly by teachers from the CMS. The portal will contain homework, additional reading materials and informal blogs that allow teachers to engage directly with their pupils. The second is a parents portal, where they can log in to see important information, upcoming dates and events. It’s a one-stop shop for all information a parent may need, something the parents desperately wanted from the audience and outcomes exercise. Both of these portals mimic the design of the main site to ensure user journeys aren’t interrupted and the style is continued throughout all areas of the site.

Website support and training for staff.

Rooster fully tested the website prior to going live, ensuring it was completely responsive and user-friendly. Our next task was to train members of the HCS team on how to use the CMS, including how to create new pages, menus, upload images and much more. During this time we offered support for any website questions they had, making us an invaluable asset. Our work with Hampshire Collegiate School is far from over, with phase two being rolled out as we speak!

The future…

Our work with HCS has continued since launching the website, with continued support when needed. We’re also in process of working towards a new design project with them, which is under wraps for now!