Guernsey’s independent, fee-paying day schools – Blanchelande College, Elizabeth College and The Ladies’ College – have historically received annual funding from the States of Guernsey to provide 52 “special place holder” scholarships. This funding came under review following the States’ decision to abolish the 11+ system in Guernsey from September 2019. In 2017 ‘The Three Colleges’ came together as a group, and with Orchard’s support, lobbied the island’s politicians to retain funding for the colleges after Education, Sport and Culture proposed an unacceptably low offer of future funding.
The main issue was one of perception. As fee paying schools, there was a question among States members and their constituents as to why ‘The Three Colleges’ require tax-payer funding. The communications strategy needed to place this question at the very heart of its campaign and answer it by explaining the colleges’ model of funding and the significant positive benefits the colleges offer Guernsey.
Orchard interviewed stakeholders at each of the colleges and identified the campaign’s key messages as “value, capacity and choice”. Working with Two Degrees North the team then created a brand identity for “The Three Colleges” intertwining each of the school’s colours, visually depicting the unification of the three organisations behind the campaign.
A microsite was built for ‘The Three Colleges’ to host on their individual websites, the centrepiece of which was an animation, produced by Spike Productions, which gained nearly 2,000 views. A suite of infographics was created to explain the complex topic and create content which was shareable on social media channels.
Orchard created an ambassador programme, identifying key spokespeople and encouraging third party endorsements, which resulted in wider media engagement.
The campaign media relations strategy resulted in 14 print, six digital and 14 broadcast interviews.
87% of politicians attended a presentation organised by Orchard and this presentation was shared with staff and parents across ‘The Three Colleges’.
An amendment was passed securing funding of the colleges, above the level that ESC had proposed, until 2026.