Educating all ages on a single campus makes sense for schools, not just operationally, but also in terms of giving pupils opportunities to mix and to share facilities and resources. No wonder then that this was the vision of the new Principal at The Grammar School at Leeds, whose Director of External Relations engaged MTM to provide market research intelligence to inform a strategy to help fill the new Primary School.
Created through the merger of Leeds Grammar School and Leeds Girls’ High School in 2008, The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) is an all- through independent day school for around 2,100 boys and girls, which is particularly well known for its impressive academic results and extensive enrichment programme. Once amalgamated, the two original schools immediately shared the same name, but they did not share the same site, with pupils aged 7- 18 taught in Alwoodley in north Leeds, and nursery and pre-prep children five miles away at Rose Court in Headingley.
When Sue Woodroofe was appointed as GSAL’s new Principal in 2016, a key part of her vision was to relocate Rose Court to Alwoodley to bring together all of the school’s pupils in one place. However, Sue was very keen that the Rose Court site should still be used for an educational purpose and agreed for Leeds City Council to purchase it for the creation of a new special educational needs school to meet the growing demand in the city. Proceeds from the sale enabled GSAL to transform its former Junior School into a new Primary School for nursery to year 6 pupils in Alwoodley.
‘This was a significant investment for the school,’ explains Helen Clapham, GSAL’s Director of External Relations, ‘so it was of course vital to ensure that the project was a success and we were able to achieve the pupil number targets in our business plan by retaining existing Rose Court families and recruiting new families to the primary school in Alwoodley.’
Using this intelligence as the basis of a marketing strategy, Helen and her team ensured that 99% of existing GSAL families transferred to the new primary school in Alwoodley when it opened in September 2020. On top of that, the school’s enrolments increased by over 40%
Helen knew it would be particularly challenging to recruit families in advance of the completion of the new Primary School building in August 2020.
‘We had to creatively engage parents and children and excite them about the vision for the new school without being able to visit,’ she explains. ‘We also had to convince existing parents to transfer their children to the new school, many of whom were very fond of the Rose Court site.’
To inform GSAL’s marketing strategy to increase the school’s market share of potential independent school pupils in the catchment area, MTM was commissioned to carry out an MTM 3-60 full demand and supply analysis, to:
- Understand the locations and travel times of current families
Understand the lifestyles of current families
- Define realistic catchment areas
Assess the market size for target age children within the catchments in the relevant age groups (boys and girls 3-10, 11-15 and 16-17)
Estimate the market size of the target age children within each Neighbourhood and Postcode Sector within each catchment Project the population change of the target markets within each catchment to 2029
Analyse the roll trends and influence of competitors
MTM 3-60 research showed that GSAL’s pupils lived closer to the school than would usually be expected. Mapping pupils’ home locations demonstrated that most pupils had a journey to school of 20 minutes or less. Interestingly, it became apparent that there were opportunities to increase the school’s market share within its catchment area and by moving Rose Court to Alwoodley, this would enable more families to access the school more easily.
Using this intelligence as the basis of a marketing strategy, Helen and her team ensured that 99% of existing GSAL families transferred to the new primary school in Alwoodley when it opened in September 2020. On top of that, the school’s enrolments increased by over 40%, including an impressive near 80% increase from target postcodes. The Rose Court relocation was also a factor in GSAL being named ‘Sunday Times North Ind- ependent Secondary School of the Decade’. ‘Thanks to MTM’s analysis. we were able to create and deliver a highly effective marketing strategy, which exceeded even our best expectations,’ reports Helen.
‘The market research was crucial in ensuring that we knew which areas to target, with what messages, and the best channels to use to engage prospective parents. The MTM team were great – knowledgeable, professional and approachable – and I have been grateful for their ongoing support and advice.’
Find out how MTM can help your school to achieve its goals – just get in touch with the friendly MTM team.