‘What our school learnt from business about marketing’

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Business in the Community Ireland

Nagle Community College Principal Jim O’Sullivan uses his new school sign for a presentation ceremony with Olympian Rob Heffernan


Sharing skills is one of the easiest ways to make an impact on your community, which is exactly why we run the Management Excellence for Principals seminar series every year. Through it, business leaders present to post-primary principals around the country, on topics including leadership, performance management and marketing.

Jim O’Sullivan, principal of Nagle Community College in Cork, attended our series last year and found that the PR and marketing insight he gained from Doreen O’Mahony, Digital Brand Manager at Laya Healthcare and the other seminars has since made an enormous impact on his school.

The changes below show just how influential the sharing of skills can be:

“Thanks to the seminar on PR and marketing, we are more positive and proactive in presenting the school across our communication platforms,” shares Jim.

“Celebrating success, no matter how small, is vitally important, in that it improves the atmosphere around the school and encourages students to achieve. We have found positive assemblies (pre-Covid) to be a very effective means to acknowledge and reward effort and achievement. In the current circumstances, we regularly use the school intercom to acknowledge student effort and achievement.”

“We have designed new school stationery and promotional brochures and reviewed all external communication mechanisms. We reviewed our school website and are currently constructing a new one and the learning from the course is being applied throughout the process. We are also looking at other school’s websites and seeing what works best.”

“We are researching, surveying and fact-finding through various means including: parent surveys, staff consultations, Board of Management consultations, student voice, and feedback from the wider community.”

“We have revisited our Critical Incident Policy and looked at how to deal with the media in the event of a critical incident in the school.”

“The vital importance of mapping a course was emphasised throughout the course and a vision for the school has been worded and all stakeholders are now feeding into it.”

“The course taught me that the school building and grounds must be presented in a positive light, so school signage is very important and we have erected four new school signs to do this.”

“And finally, but significantly, we have changed how we communicate. We realise communication with parents needs to be regular, honest, clear and, as much as possible, to be positive and upbeat. Texts, Facebook, Website, VSWare, various apps, letters and postcards are all good means of communication. We are reminded ‘Never underestimate the power of a phone call’.”

As you can see, one seminar has dramatically changed the way this school communicates its message to the community. For more information on how you can be part of this valuable series, please check out our website.