TES Independent School Awards
Felsted School has won Marketing Campaign of the Year at the TES Independent School Awards 2021.
The Tes Independent School Awards celebrate the teachers and teams from independent schools across the UK that are raising the standards of education and making a positive impact on the personal and academic success of students and the wider community. This year’s awards have highlighted the extraordinary work that schools have done in spite of a most challenging year.
Judges were impressed by how Felsted School developed its digital marketing during the pandemic to win the marketing campaign of the year award. Working in a small team of three, and mainly from home in isolation, the Felsted Marketing Team delivered an impressive array of online initiatives. These included virtual open mornings, which were filmed and edited in house for online delivery. These dynamic online events were segmented to focus on particular age groups for entry and resulted in a strong uptick in attendance.
A sixth-form subject fair featured 24 subject videos, filmed in advance and promoted via a dedicated webpage, prior to a Q&A session, while a Year 7 taster day involved six different subject experiences for prospective pupils to take part in.
Judge Rachel Hadley-Leonard said Felsted’s marketing strategy was “an outstanding, totally immersive and digitally savvy campaign in response to the pandemic: a truly comprehensive approach, with significant impact on engagement from prospective families, but also benefiting families and schools in the local community”.
Sophy Walker, Director of Marketing Felsted School commented: "I feel so proud that the Felsted Marketing Team has won this prestigious award, this year of all years. We have had to completely rethink our marketing plan, gear up and deliver a collection of highly effective and exclusively digital events and resources. All whilst working from home the majority of the time, with limited resources. I commend all those in our sector who have produced some truly fantastic campaigns in this highly challenging year."
Felsted is delighted to be only one of eight schools in the UK to be shortlisted for the Boarding School of the Year Award 2020; an award that is given to a boarding school for its performance, rapid improvement or continued excellence in the 2018-19 year.
The judges looked for schools offering more than just academic achievement, but those that have demonstrated innovation, imagination and efforts to develop children in ways that go beyond the league tables.
The winner will be announced in February 2020.
While education is not about winning prizes, it is very pleasing to see this recognition of the hard work being put in by staff and pupils across the whole school. To be shortlisted as Boarding School of the Year shows the breadth of achievement and experience at Felsted and it is a real privilege to lead a School that is making a difference in so many ways.
Chris Townsend, Headmaster
Following five nominations in 2018, Felsted School was shortlisted for a further three TES (Times Educational Supplement) Independent School Awards 2019;
- Prep School of the Year
- Sports Award and
- Marketing Campaign of the Year
The awards celebrates excellent and innovative practice across the independent schools sector. For the Prep School Award, the judges wanted to see ‘alongside academic excellence and achievement, a commitment to demonstrating innovation and efforts to develop children in ways that go beyond the classroom'. Felsted Prep focuses on a growth mindset; the idea that you cannot do something ‘yet’ and through this regularly demonstrates success in all areas of the curriculum, including academic progress, sport, music, and the creative and performing arts. This is combined with a strong focus on mindfulness, wellbeing and learning outside the classroom in an onsite wellbeing centre, eco sensory and nature garden and forest school.
For the Sport Award, the judges wanted to see schools that 'demonstrate commitment to excellence and participation in school sport, and in promoting health, wellbeing and exercise among its pupils'. Felsted ranked 11th in the UK in School Sport Magazine’s Top 100 independent schools for sport 2017, as a result of regular national success in its core sports of rugby, hockey, netball, cricket and tennis, as well as claiming silverware in other disciplines such as riding, squash, athletics and golf
For the Marketing Campaign Award, judges wanted to see a school 'using a powerful strategy to promote some aspect of the school to a wider community, either on or offline'. Felsted adopts an individual approach to marketing, with personalised prospectuses, tours and timetabling to ensure that the school focuses on the individual family.
Being named as one of the top Prep Schools in the country is a wonderful testament to all that we try to do on a daily basis at Felsted Prep; whether it is in the classroom, on the stage, on the sports field or in any aspect of school life.
Head of Felsted Prep School, Mr Simon James
We received a record number of entries this year and the standard is the highest yet, so to be shortlisted is an extraordinary achievement for any school.
TES Editor Ann Mroz
In 2018 Felsted was delighted to be shortlisted in no fewer than 5 categories in the TES Independent School Awards 2018!
Up against leading independent schools from across the world, this is notable recognition of the innovative and creative work happening at Felsted.
- Best Use of Technology - Whole School
- Community Initiative of the Year
- Marketing Campaign of the Year
- Creativity Award
- Boarding School of the Year
Project Name: Implementation of Google Suite for Education School Wide (pupils, teachers and administrators)
- To save money by not having to continuously upscale our storage capability, through migration of all emails, files and photos to Cloud based ‘Google Education’.
- To improve teaching in the classroom providing instant feedback as documents can be viewed simultaneously.
- To provide online cloud based communication of homework and feedback, particularly for those pupils who may miss a lesson.
- To save time with sharing and updating documents simultaneously, particularly to support teachers and support staff.
- To more easily manage, share and distribute our vast database of school photography.
- To more easily manage and update meetings, agendas and policy papers.
- Mark Redding, Head of ICT Services
- Senior Leadership Teams (Prep & Senior)
- All Department Heads
At Felsted we don’t do our IT in the way that other schools do their IT. From our bespoke fibre based routed network, to our predominantly open source based server environment; we have never followed the herd; we couldn’t even find a management information system that suited our needs so we wrote our own. We were doing Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) long before it acquired an acronym and we gave our students access to email back in the 1990s. If you look carefully, you can still see parts of the Elliott 803 within one of our computing classrooms.
Whilst many schools simply hurled themselves down the attractive Apple and ipad path, at Felsted we took a more considered approach and carried out a term of research to establish what platform would have the greatest impact across the school as a whole. The result of this research and the explosion of our usage of Google Suite for Education is now in evidence across the entire school. The cost of this was ZERO!
- Over 3,404,510 MB is now stored on the Google Platform for zero cost! Expanding our existing ageing storage was not an option and purchasing sufficient performant storage was cost prohibitive (£25-30,000 in hardware alone, before even thinking about the effort, downtime, and technician time to carry out a migration). Using a Cloud based system has overcome this and the fact that Google provides this for Education providers for free is a no-brainer.
- The whole school has now adopted the Google Education Platform, with numerous documents, forms, sheets, photos etc being shared every minute of the day. Over the past year 490,191 files have been shared via Google Drive.
- The Senior School Music Department replaced all PCs in their teaching rooms with chromeboxes and subscriptions to noteflight and soundtrap.
- Years 3 and 4 teachers in the Prep school have suites of chromebooks that are permanently booked out.
- All year 7 and year 8 pupils have chromebooks for lessons, research and prep.
- Chromebits attached to large screen TVs now provide digital signage across much of the site; from general noticeboards to individualised boarding house information screens.
- The Upper Sixth Computing students wrote their project write-up using Google Docs and shared them with their teachers thus enabling the teachers to check and comment on actual progress of the student’s work.
- The Senior School Science Department have a suite of chromebooks for use within their labs to carry out research and to access online textbooks and Kerboodle resources.
- The Marketing Department now store their huge photo library on Google Drive and share them with parents and students for free via links in the weekly newsletter. This has saved £££’s in time and uploads.
- Staff and students have access to their Google email wherever they are via the gmail app on their mobile devices. No longer do they have to fire up the school webmail system, nor do they have to worry about deleting emails once they have dealt with them.
- Over 580,000 files have been uploaded
- More than 100,000 Google Docs have been created
- Over 20,000 Google Slides have been designed
- At least 10,000 Google Sheets have been set up
- 300 Google Forms have been created for input
- There are almost 500,000 shared files
- 30% of the active Google accounts own in excess of 100 files each
- 3 terabytes of Google Drive storage has being used to date
- 250 gigabytes of Google Mail storage is in use
- Throughout the Spring Term around 100 Google Classrooms were active during any given week
Peter Bennett, Director of Music: "Google Chrome has transformed the music department. Pupils can boot up the machines within seconds and start the creative process almost immediately. Noteflight for score creation has replaced prohibitively expensive alternatives and Soundtrap gives everyone access to a fully fledged Digital Audio Workstation. Our pupils are no longer held back by the technology - they can finally be creative and realise their true potential!”
Sophy Aitken, Head of Marketing: “The Google platform has transformed the way we work in Marketing. We are able to file and distribute our massive photo library with parents, agencies and printers with a shareable link. No more time wasting downloads and individual emails to send each high resolution picture.”
Mark Stringer, Head of Years 7 & 8: “The switch to the Google Suite and Google Drive, alongside the introduction of Chromebooks in Years 7 & 8, have been a revelation in terms of working practice and learning and teaching. Staff information can be shared and worked on in a way that was not possible before and proper working documents can be accessed from anywhere allowing a freedom of information sharing that never existed before.
Project Name: Whole School Community Initiative with Charity Partner ‘Sparkle Malawi’
Project Team: Felsted Committee comprising of:
- School Chaplain
- Wider support also from Common Room, Old Felstedian Office, Marketing, Domestics, Catering, Grounds etc
To engage parents, pupils, former pupils and staff of both the Preparatory and Senior School, plus the local community, in a series of events to raise money for and the profile of The Sparkle Foundation, founded by former Felstedian, Sarah Brook. The Foundation provides education, nutritional support, medical treatment and loving care to over 150 vulnerable orphans on the outskirts of Zomba, Malawi. Sarah built the orphanage whilst she was at university, following a near fatal illness she encountered whilst travelling there in her gap year. She has now given up work to become a full time Global Philanthroper, travelling the world, giving lectures to schools, universities and businesses, with the aim to set up similar sustainable fundraising projects across the world for children in need.
Funds raised directly from Felsted pupils = £16,000
Funds raised from the whole Felsted community = £75,000
Ongoing commitment from several ‘Felsted Parent’ companies to support Sparkle including Suregreen Ltd (approx £9K pa), Cornelius PLS (approx £25-30K pa), Sanlam (£3K pa).
All the above means that the children can be fed and educated and given the medical care they require to survive to adulthood. Future projects include upgrading of the borehole so they can provide running water, a medical room with a qualified nurse, basins in the loos and a new classroom so young children can be taught separately to the older ones.
Sparkle Sevens Rugby Tournament: This day alone raised an amazing £8,000 towards the charity’s work in Malawi. Felsted hosted the 2nd Sparkle Sevens on 10th September 2017 as it has now become an integral part of the Back to School programme, welcoming new parents and pupils to the school alongside the wider school community of former pupils and the local community.
Game of Zones Whole School Charity event: This was Felsted’s first ever pupil-led charity wide game which raised over £2,800 for Sparkle Malawi and Volunteer Uganda.
An Exchange Opportunity for Patricia Witness: Part of CEO Sarah’s ambition was to give a chance for one of the children from Malawi to experience some time at Felsted. Patricia came over to England for the first time at the beginning of July 2016 to attend our International Summer School. At the beginning of the Autumn term she joined Stocks's House, in Year 9,. When she returned to Malawi, Patricia and her family were able to move into a house and she settled well into a new school, even starting a netball club with 15 girls!
Harvest Festival Service: Donations were made at the Prep School Harvest Festival Chapel Service for Sparkle Malawi. Over £3,000 was raised in the service collection as well as gifts, which will go towards helping orphans in Malawi and other charity projects connected to Felsted.
Shipment to Malawi: Much excitement was to be had by the pupils when a large container arrived at Felsted to transport bicycles, electrical, clothing and writing donations to Malawi for the Sparkle Orphanage. Pupils and parents were encouraged to donate redundant electrical devices, including ipads, phones and laptops to teach teenage children in Malawi 21st century life skills which will help them get jobs when they leave their education. They also donated part used notebooks, drawing books and craft sets for the children to use.
Romeo and Juliet Silent Auction: Running alongside the Senior School’s Production of Romeo and Juliet, a parent of the cast offered up a three night stay in Verona for silent auction, with all proceeds going to Sparkle Malawi and Volunteer Uganda.
Year 3 and 4 Charity Stalls: Felsted Preparatory School held two charity days, where the children ran stalls selling various items from cakes to toys. The Year 4s did a brilliant job at running the Sparkle Malawi stall and raised over £340 for the charity.
Christmas Gift: All parents supported the Christmas gift initiative, which was aimed at everybody making a small contribution in their Xmas Bill, which made a huge difference to Sparkle during the Christmas period.
Felsted’s X-Charitable Links Brings a Sustained Partnership between two African causes close to our hearts: Last summer Felsted pupils raised money through various school events for CEO Sarah from Sparkle to accompany them to visit another of Felsted’s charity partner schools in Uganda. Sarah was able to meet the Trustee’s and Founder, Hamlet Mbabazi, and discuss ways of partnership throughout Africa. As Sarah left Great Lakes High School, the pupils, many of them orphans themselves, presented her with a gift of $100 that they had raised for Malawi. The Ugandans spoke of ‘Ehweera’, a powerful symbolic gift that enables friendship to a fellow traveller.
CEO Sparkle Malawi, Sarah Brook (former Felstedian);
“Felsted has been instrumental in growing the Sparkle organisation; the Felsted community has fed hundreds of children, put dozens of children back into school, funded the building of accommodation for volunteers, a pick-up truck for the day to day running of the orphanage, which also acts as an ambulance for our most vulnerable children; ultimately they have saved hundreds of lives. The Prep School pupils alone raised over £10,000 to build an electric water pump, the first in the surrounding area not just supporting the orphanage but the whole local community. If it had not been for Felsted the Foundation would not be in the position it is today and the vulnerable children of Malawi would not have the bright future they now have ahead of them.”
John Warner, Felsted Parent and Trustee of Sparkle Malawi;
“It has been truly amazing to see the positive impact that Felsted School has made in changing the lives of children on the ground in Malawi. Parents, staff and pupils have directly organised events that have made a real difference. Sparkle’s profile has been raised through our connection and involvement with the School and this in turn has led to the wider community of Felsted, namely parents and their respective businesses, to get involved. This has had a hugely positive impact on our ability to improve the capacity and the quality of our nutritional, health and education programs to 200 orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi.”
Nigel Little, Felsted School Chaplain and Master in Charge of Charitable Giving:
“In a very short time, Sparkle Malawi has come extremely close to the hearts of pupils, staff and parents. It is a privilege that we can make such a dramatic difference to the lives and futures of some of the poorest children in the world. Despite the impressive monetary commitment from the whole school community, we are all gaining so much more from this partnership as we see the children in Malawi prosper and thrive. This is the true meaning of global partnership and a fantastic example of how giving and making a difference is something our children are privileged to be able to achieve across the world.”
Project Name: Creative Reception and Sixth Form Recruitment Campaigns.
Marketing an all through school from ages 4 to 18 is challenging from a marketing perspective as you need to appeal to a extremely wide audience, with parents looking for differing things for their children.
We decided to approach our 2016/17 marketing with an adjusted strategy to segment our campaigns by our main entry points.
To increase enquiry and conversion levels by segmenting our communications to maximise the potential of each campaign. In particular, we focussed on two key entry segments, Reception and Sixth Form entry.
1. Reception Recruitment Marketing Campaign
Our Reception entry campaign had video marketing at the heart of it, with associated PPC (Pay per Click) campaigns and a mixture of offline and online marketing activity.
Our aim was to boost the enquiry level at Reception entry but also paying close attention to years 1 and 2, then rolling out a number of new ‘keep in touch’ initiatives to keep the prospective leads warm with the aim to convert them for September entry.
Video: Little Voices Big Thoughts: This video campaign gave us the chance to put the Reception children in the spotlight, asking for their views (some extremely funny) on life at Felsted School.
The video itself was produced completely in-house at no cost, demonstrating the vast array of skills in Felsted’s Marketing Department. However, the real stars were the children themselves. Each child was asked a series of carefully crafted questions with the aim that the answers would reflect our USPs. The result was a mix of completely unscripted, well spoken, confident, delightful and charming young Felstedians giving their expert insight into Pre Preparatory life at Felsted School.
Once the video was shot, edited, audio mixed and approved for publishing, we were then able to use this in the full marketing campaign prior to Open Day. The video was rolled out across all of Felsted’s social media channels with clear call to actions associated with it, directing traffic back to our bespoke website landing page to register for the upcoming Reception Open Morning. A PPC (Pay per Click) boost was also applied to the social post, attracting more targeted traffic that we had previously identified when segmenting the market.
Video statistics via Facebook (Campaign Month May 2017)
Total views: 7,080
Total reach: 14,315 (triple the average of any other post in the past month)
- Facebook referrals contributed to 54% of Unique page views to our Reception Open Morning webpage on the day the video campaign launched.
- The video campaign more than tripled the amount of web traffic on the day of launch (see table below)
- Although the campaign was only launched in May, we have already seen a 7% increase in enquiry levels for 2017 entry and beyond, successfully achieving its aims.
2. Sixth Form Recruitment Marketing Campaign
We noticed that our conversion levels between enquiry and visiting was not as good as it could be at Sixth Form Entry level. To support our conversion strategy, we decided to create a new ‘next steps’ leaflet focussed specifically on this entry point to aid admissions in their communications with families post enquiry. We would promote this with some targeted online and offline campaigns.
The Sixth Form admissions process is a complex and quite intense few months of testing, subject fairs, scholarships and open days. With a fresh modern approach, and an emphasis on infographics and eye catching data, a 4 page leaflet was created, specifically designed to appeal to the student, rather than the parent. This was also reflected in the copy and choice of imagery (see below).
This was sent to all our prospective families who had already expressed an interest for Felsted Sixth Form in addition to any new enquiries at our recruitment events.
The information from the leaflet was also replicated on dedicated web pages and a specific advert was also created to promote a Sixth Form only Open Day. We applied a PPC (Pay per Click) boost to a Facebook advert, attracting targeted traffic up to a 60 mile radius to attract both boarders and day students alike.
Our conversion levels for this entry point are the highest they have ever been.
- A 19% increase in enquiries were received as a result of this targeted campaign.
- Sixth Form entry will be the highest it has ever been, with 144 students joining the Lower Sixth in September 2017
The extra effort made in segmenting our marketing has had an extremely positive effect on our overall recruitment targets. In particular, our website this year has performed better than previous years and is now averaging over 19,000 site visits per month (3% increase). Our bounce rate is continuing to drop and since January has fallen below 50% every month. During our main campaign months of March to May, (leading up to Open Day and conversion events), we attracted over 59,000 site visits.
Our website and use of digital media has been recognised this year by the Essex Digital Business Awards. Felsted was proud to have won the Gold Award for the Best Website of any School, Education or Charity in Essex.
Ruth Wyganowski, Head of UK Admissions comments; “These specific campaigns have had dramatic results for our enquiry levels. However, the conversion sixth form campaign in particular has really helped the admissions team. Simplifying the complex recruitment process for our families has saved hours on the telephone explaining it all to parents.”
Mrs Helen Dean, Parent: “We were able to shortlist your school based on your thorough website with easy to use navigation. I could find all the information I needed to make an informed choice.”
Project Name: Creativity in the Curriculum
Project Leader: Mrs Jacqueline Atkins, Head of Stewart House, Felsted’s Pre-Preparatory School for ages 4 to 7
Project Example: “Are we there yet?” - A topic exploring different modes of transport, how things move, holiday destinations and keeping safe on journeys.
Questions such as “Where in the world would you like to go?” “How would you travel there?” “What will you see, taste, experience?” were explored through an imaginative inquiry based topic this Summer Term
Our creative delivery of this curriculum topic followed the principles of ‘Possibility Thinking’, a research study led by Professor Anna Craft, which fosters children’s opportunities to learn through:
- Posing questions
- Being imaginative
- Self-determination and risk taking
This is an example of an Imaginative Learning Project for our Reception class children, based on Specific Early Learning Goals: Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design, Literacy and Mathematics. In addition to this the Prime areas were explored through: Listening and Attention, Understanding and Speaking, Moving and Handling, Health and Self Care, Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness, Managing Feelings and Behaviour and Making Relationships.
By engaging in a ‘dramatic-inquiry’ based approach to learning, the children demonstrated behaviours as if they were experts, a teaching and learning approach advocated by Professor Dorothy Heathcote called ‘ The Mantle of the Expert’.
In this project, creativity is seen as exploration, imagination and problem solving.
Step 1: The introduction to the topic began with a trip to Stansted Airport’s Aerozone on the first day of the Summer Term. The teachers were aware that not all children’s experiences would be the same and that some concepts could be abstract for the children in their class. Therefore, this first hand experience launched the learning and gave the children a point of reference to all subsequent learning opportunities.
Step 2: Following this experience the teachers planned a day where the children and adults would be ‘in role’ and imagine they were going on a trip to Italy. A letter was sent to parents outlining the ‘trip’ and requested that their child came dressed in Italian themed clothes of their choice. This alone sparked conversations and research into a variety of costumes and ideas.
Step 3: Homework was set in preparation for the day as the children were asked to make their own passports at home. Discussions about why passports are needed and what information is included on a passport formed part of that learning experience.
Step 4: On the day of the Italy ‘trip’ the children arrived with their luggage and passport. They all assembled in one classroom whilst another classroom was set up as passport control with the teachers and teaching assistants taking on the various job roles found at an airport. The children went through ‘passport checks’ and their luggage was weighed. All the children were given boarding passes.
With one of the teaching assistants in role as a flight attendant, the children then boarded the plane by seat order. This was followed by the inflight safety video and a video of a plane taking off as seen from the cockpit. In flight snacks and film (CBeebies ‘Go Jetters visit the Colosseum’) were presented to the children. The plane then ‘landed’ in Rome with a video of a plane landing on a runway.
On arrival in Rome children visualised their classrooms and outside area as various locations in Italy. They had an Italian lesson from Signora Andrews (a member of staff) and engaged in a number of planned adult and child led activities. These included:
- Looking at the work of Modigliani and Leonardo Da Vinci and creating their own paintings
- A child initiated discussion about Pompeii.
- Italian flag making.
- Throwing coins in their own Trevi Fountain and making wishes.
- Challenge - Rebuilding the Leaning Tower of Pisa using construction blocks outside.
- Making Venetian masks.
- Threading necklaces with pre coloured pasta red/green/white - focus on mathematics and repeating patterns.
- Challenge - Spaghetti and marshmallow towers - which would be the tallest?
- Painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - paper stuck to the underside of tables so children had to lie on the floor to paint.
- Making and eating pizza.
- Gelato time!
The trip concluded with a flight back to England complete with landing and take off videos.
Step 5: Following this day a letter arrived for the children from Signor Macaroni asking for the children's help to design a new menu for him. This engaged the children in a discussion about Italian food and influenced the snack for the day which turned out to be tomato pasta and cheese!
Impact and Evidence of Success
All 45 children were fully engaged with the experience. Behaviour and attitudes to learning were excellent and all children demonstrated a growth mindset towards tasks. Teachers were able to observe the children in adult directed and child led play activities, therefore the children demonstrated their understanding through play. Cross curricular skills were evident and contributed to connections made in learning.
With this approach to learning, the children were unaware of individual curriculum areas whilst engaged in purposeful learning opportunities. This approach has influenced planning, teaching and learning into Key Stage One. The teachers skillfully ensure opportunities for subject skills are taught and explored through the questions posed and activities planned. This results in a curriculum which is meaningful to the children, with learning that connects thinking rather than separated into abstract concepts.
Parent comment: “Thank you so much to you and all your lovely teachers who made today such a special day for the Reception children. Ellie had a fantastic day and it is clearly one that she will remember for a long time. Thank you for helping to fill her childhood with such magical memories.
I'm sure there was lots of planning and an awful lot of work from everyone and I just wanted you to know it truly is appreciated. By the way, the ideas for the Trevi fountain and painting the Sistine chapel were inspired!”
Quotes from children: “Today has been my happiest day. I want to make my pizza look happy like me!”
Staff Quote: “This approach to learning has been so successful. The children were in role and engaged from the moment they came into class. They even took finding the correct seat on the ‘plane’ seriously! One child started to talk about volcanoes when they looked at a map of Italy, which then turned into a conversation about Vesuvius! Completely child led learning which demonstrated how the children were making connections throughout the experience and beyond.”
References: Cremin, T., Burnard, P. and Craft, A. (2006) Pedagogy and possibility thinking in the early years. International
Journal of Thinking Skills and Creativity.
Mantle of the Expert, www.mantleoftheexpert.com/about-moe/introduction/what-is-moe
Project Name: Making Modern Boarding Successful
In response to a tough economic environment, Felsted recognised the need to adapt its boarding provision to make it more accessible to the needs of modern family life. Following some extensive market research in Parent Perception, Satisfaction and Market Analyses, alongside desk research of ISC data etc, Felsted devised a contemporary boarding model that is proving extremely popular with families in the region.
Contemporary boarding options
Offering a 3, 5, 7 night boarding model has allowed local families to access an excellent boarding experience (rather than just flexible options of just 1 or 2 nights). Through the introduction of a weekly 5 night model, it has allowed us to widen our regional recruitment net to pick up families from London and Cambridge, two markets that are experiencing an undersupply of good schools. By marketing a weekly boarding option, we have seen our enquiry levels lift quite dramatically from our ‘30-50 mile radius’ market. This has not affected our 7 night option, which is still popular with our 20% international pupil body, mixed in with several UK national boarders.
As a result of this change, the boarding experience in the houses is as strong as it has ever been, with full boarding houses for at least 3 nights per week. By the Sixth Form, most boarding pupils are choosing the 5 night weekly boarding option as they realise the benefits of being at school for both study and pursuing our leading co-curricular provision;
“You won’t find many schools with a longer list of extracurricular options…”
Good Schools Guide
Weekend Activity Programme
We have also spent a considerable amount of time reviving our weekend programme for full boarders so that they have flexible options to suit them, whatever their age and experience.
This exciting programme includes a number of indoor, outdoor, physical, recreational and cultural activities. Shopping and cinema trips to Braintree, Chelmsford and Cambridge are a regular Felsted favourite along with evening meals out to local restaurants and outings to Theme Parks and tourist attractions. All houses have games consoles and subscriptions to film libraries and sports channels so there is a lot to do in the comfort of the boarding houses too. Each Sunday there is brunch followed by coffee club, plus a choice of an outing or an indoor activity such as dodgeball, baking, chess, water polo and craft making… the list goes on!
As well as these planned Sunday outings, the Activities Team offer a range of alternatives for Felsted students to enjoy on a Sunday;
“We all know Sundays are a day for relaxing or catching up on the sorts of things we have not had the chance to do in the week, whether that be cramming in the last four episodes of our favourite Netflix series, or blowing the cobwebs off the long forgotten trainers and having a good run around outside. Starting with Coffee Club on a Sunday morning in our Aroma Cafe, students can socialise and chat to their friends or get stuck into the Sunday newspaper or latest magazine (from various countries) and just shut the world away for an hour.
After we have all had our fair share of relaxation/socialising it is time to roll out the fun. In the afternoon we offer a range of activities, from dodgeball to crafts (cake baking, card making), from Felsted Monopoly (an interactive game, where students have to complete a range of tasks around the local area in order to win that part of the board) to movie Sundays, or my personal favourite, the Sunday quiz. Whatever the activity, our aim is to make it fun and rewarding for our boarders!”
Impact & Evidence
- Pupil Roll bigger than ever before: 5% increase for 2017 entry across Prep and Senior School - 1075 students registered for 2017 of which there are 49 boarders in the Prep School and 439 in the Senior School (79%).
- Parent Satisfaction at highest levels
"Over 80% of parents were completely or very satisfied with Felsted and would definitely recommend it to others.” Source: RSAcademics SchoolPulse 2017
- Pupil Happiness: 95% of parents said that their child was happy at Felsted
"My boys started this year and it is the happiest they have ever been at school. They take every opportunity to stay as long as they can!”
Parent Source: RSAcademics SchoolPulse 2017
- Effective leadership team
“98% of parents rated leadership of the school good or very good. 30% above the benchmark of 31 other senior boarding schools”
Source: RSAcademics SchoolPulse 2017
- Market Penetration levels: “Felsted is penetrating its markets exceptionally well”
Source: MTM Market and Catchment Analysis Sep 2016
- 100% Excellent ISI Report: Felsted met every criteria in its recent ISI Inspection.
‘Excellent’ in every aspect, say Inspectors Felsted is proud to have a glowing Integrated Inspection Report, incorporating both Felsted Senior and Prep School’s academic offering and pastoral care. Felsted has been judged to be ‘excellent’ in all fourteen areas of inspection, including academic achievement, teaching, governance, co-curriculum, attitudes to learning and quality of boarding. This is a judgement against an overall standard for independent schools and a statement of where Felsted stands in comparison to others.
- Communications throughout the school better than ever through adoption of Google Education (see Best Use of Technology Award entry)
Our adoption of Google Education has transformed the way we all work and teach here at Felsted. It truly is a 21st Century method of working which has saved both time and money.” Chris Townsend, Headmaster
- Pupils making a difference around the world (see Whole School Community Initiative Award entry, and State / Independent School Award entry)
- Superb marketing team (see Marketing Campaign Award entry)
Winners of Essex Digital Awards 2017
Parent: “It is a fantastic, family, co-educational, holistic school!”
Parent: “I think it is a fantastic environment in which my child is thriving and I am truly grateful for the opportunity he has”
The Good Schools Guide: “Felsted produced self-starting, entrepreneurial and independent spirits…. characteristics that are immediately evident among the ambitious, self-motivated and self-aware pupils, who have some of the healthiest can-do attitudes we’ve seen. ”
The Good Schools Guide: “There’s always a waiting list - the boarders are really happy,’ said a parent. ‘They love the camaraderie and really enjoy the relationships with the houseparents, matron and the ladies who help with cleaning and ironing. There’s a real sense of community, a great atmosphere and they form strong bonds,’ said another.”