Bunhill: School radio advertising

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LISTENERS to Classic FM last week may have noticed a new advertiser jostling for attention among the financial services groups and home security firms. Queen Ethelberga's school for girls, in Yorkshire, is using the radio waves to advertise for new recruits. A pupil, the bursar's daughter, does the hard sell in what I gather is the first national radio advertising campaign by a school.

Brian Martin, one of the governors, tells me the days when an independent school could get away with a small solitary ad in the Times once a year are long gone.

Marketing is the way ahead, he assures me. Several schools, including Roedean, already employ marketing assistants. 'I wouldn't think it would be too long before a school tries TV advertising. A school has to be a business to start with. Unless it's a successful business, it can't be a successful school,' says Martin, who is managing director of the Equine and Life insurance company.

Ethelberga's, at pounds 2,995 a term, is not your average boarding school. Every classroom is carpeted. There's one bathroom for every two bedrooms. Stabling is available for the girls' own horses. And mobile phones in the sixth form have had to be banned.

Ethelberga's doesn't stop at advertising. It has a pounds 135,000 computerised mobile exhibition unit, known as Big Bertha, complete with satellite receiving equipment, which does the rounds of county shows.

And as I write, the registrar and headmistress are both in Hong Kong drumming up Far Eastern business. Wow] I just hope someone finds a moment to do some teaching.