EVENTS

Crisis communications for schools Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Senior executives and leaders from across the schools system gathered at Vintner’s Hall in London for the eighth Lee Bolton Monier-Williams Annual Schools Conference on 2 October.  The overarching theme of the day was “Safe schools, Strong schools, Successful schools,” so DRD took the opportunity to provide strategic and practical advice to attendees at a breakfast seminar on crisis communications.

Starting with a discussion on the numerous risks that schools face, DRD partner Kate Miller used the analogy of a fire triangle to explain how crises are triggered, enabled and magnified:

  • Internal events, individual incidents and external shocks are the sparks that can ignite a problem, with examples ranging from physical accidents to safeguarding concerns.
  • External public concerns or internal lack of preparation and poor communication can provide the oxygen that enables the fire take hold; and
  • Pressure from parents, pupils, staff, media, regulators and others can provide the fuel to fan a flame into a bonfire.

There was a useful discussion on the extensive list of stakeholders that schools need to engage and recognition of the pressure that this can exert on internal resource.  The group shared experiences and learnings, recognising the importance of having an effective crisis plan in place and ensuring the right tone, spokesperson and channels for communications.