The key to continued success for your Academy is an effective communications strategy, making sure that you are communicating with all members of your Academy family - parents, students, staff, sponsors, and the local community. We can only value people who we know and understand, and we can only know and understand people by communicating effectively with them - and that involves both talking and listening.
Why have an audit?
A communications audit will help you to identify what you are doing well, what you need to review, and what you can change to make communication work even better. It will help you to establish good communications practices across the whole Academy, and help you to plan:
· How you engage parents and encourage them to take a fuller role in the Academy
· How to get the most from local sponsors
· How to work with the local Press
· How to ensure that vital staff communication channels are working
· How to facilitate student communication, and how to involve your students in the process
· How to schedule the production of prospectuses, reports, newsletters, bulletins, diaries, etc throughout the year
· What your website should be saying and offering
A communications audit will give you a comprehensive report of your current situation, and make suggestions for improvement. These suggestions need to be presented as solutions you can integrate into your existing working practices, and not just as bare ideas.
Who should audit?
Ideally, a communications audit should be carried out by someone familiar with the general needs of Academy schools, but who can bring a fresh viewpoint to your particular Academy. An audit is also better carried out by someone not involved in the local politics and personalities of the school. The communications auditor should offer an informed and objective view, and it is therefore better, as with any auditor, to use resources from outside the organisation.
Where can I get a communications auditor?
Most academies have access to external communications expertise through their sponsor. If your sponsor is a large organisation, they can probably provide you with the necessary expertise quite cheaply. Alternatively, you can take part in a swapping scheme with other Academies, auditing each others’ communications systems. Do not rely on a single individual, however: communications auditing is about sharing ideas and generating new and better ideas, and that can only happen if there is a regular supply of new brains to look at the procedures.
True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files, it's about encouraging communication.
Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow.
Rowan D. Williams