Jones, Eileen (2008) Using PR strategies to enhance public relations in state secondary schools. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research study sets out to examine the nature of communication between secondary schools and their publics, or stakeholders. Why is it that multi-million pound organisations (for such are the locally-held budgets of schools) are so reticent about sharing their successes and achievements? Why, when faced with crisis situations, do schools all too often close ranks and school gates, so that suspicion and doubt - rather than clarity and understanding - are fostered?

It is a field of study to which little attention has been paid by public relations professionals or academics outside of the inner London area, except in relation to crisis management issues, which will be examined here.

The aims of this study are:

1. To examine the nature of communications between school managers and stakeholders
2. To analyse attitudes among school managers about their relationship with various stakeholders
3. To evaluate the development of a network of local schools willing to try and implement PR practices with the help of final year media students.

The intended outcome is to persuade secondary schools generally that an open and transparent relationship with the media and other external publics will work to their benefit.

It is based on initial research carried out at Calder High School in Mytholmroyd, and subsequently with a network of secondary schools, mostly in West Yorkshire, for whom undergraduates studying Public Relations have been conducting communications audits under my supervision.

It also aims to foster beneficial relationships between the University of Huddersfield and local “feeder” secondary schools and, it is hoped, to enable further study in this field with a view to creating a centre of excellence in this field at the University’s department of journalism and media.

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