How to create happy parent communities and market your school for free


Headteachers, registrars and school marketing teams looking to increase pupil recruitment and retention rates should not overlook the power of their parent community - especially in these (almost) post-pandemic times.

It's widely recognised that word of mouth marketing is the most effective way to convert prospective parents. When your parent community is happy and thriving, you'll reap the rewards in your admissions numbers. But the fracturing effect of the pandemic on some parent communities is having a detrimental impact on school marketing.

Free guide to creating thriving parent communities

Classlist is a free school parent community app that’s used by more than 1,000 top schools and by 300,000 parents for communications and fundraising. We’ve analysed our data to work out how to create thriving parent communities that exist virtually and in real life. Our free guide is for school leaders and parent associations wanting to bring their school communities back to life.

In just 21 days you can transform your parent community from a disparate collection of small groups (did anyone say cliques?!) into a thriving, united parent body that will do your work of spreading the word about your fantastic school to the next wave of incomers.

Andrew Nott, Chairman of IAPS, knows how important it is to make the customer journey easy for new parents. 

He says: “When you have a happy, thriving parent community you have access to positive word-of-mouth marketing, which is widely regarded as the most successful form of promotion that schools can leverage. Supportive, positive parents will provide a reassuring perspective for prospective parents and the wider community, helping to enhance a school’s reputation. There is no doubt that such marketing is far more effective than paid for advertising.”

Our analysis of thousands of school groups on Classlist shows that building a dynamic online community that unites a parent body isn’t complicated. It just takes 21 days and a structured approach. Download the free guide now to find out how.

In our free downloadable guide to creating helpful parent communities, we take you through the six steps of Strategy - Set-up - Seed - Launch - Sustain - Monetise. We give you timelines for progress over the 21-day period, and suggested wording for posts in the app that we know will motivate your parents. Once the initial work is done, your parents will find the community so helpful that they’ll rely on it for information sharing and events management. It will keep on growing!

Parents want to be involved in school

There are conflicting forces at play in 2022. Lockdowns led to the pausing or complete closure of some parent associations, with no ‘PTA handover’ as one group of parents left and another joined. The gender balance is shifting too. In the UK, 73% of families have both parents in work so there are fewer parents physically at the school gates. But the pendulum swings the other way too - more fathers are working from home and so are more likely to do the school run. The positive impact of this is that we’re noticing an increase in the number of fathers wanting to be involved in, or at least more aware of, their child’s life at school.

Parent power helps children and school

Dixie Stafford, Chair of the St Albans High School for Girls Parent Association says the power of the parent community is immeasurable for children and the school: 

“In the early years of school, a good parent network helps children develop their school friendships outside of school through play dates and helps to easily resolve queries about issues such as homework. For parents with older children – who start venturing further afield to parties and concerts – being able to contact other children’s parents when needed can be very reassuring for safeguarding. 

“When parents feel connected to each other and new parents are warmly welcomed into the group, they will tend, over time, to put more into the school; helping to run mock interviews for sixth formers; managing lost property; organising second-hand school uniform sales and supporting fundraising initiatives.”

  • Book a demo with co-founder Clare Wright to find out how Classlist can build a free online parent community for your school.

Are you on Classlist yet?

Classlist's award-winning parent communications app is the safer alternative to public social networks. It's easy to set up! Be amongst more than 400,000 parents using Classlist in 30+ countries. Get started today!

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