Choosing the right school is so important for your child and making that decision has been made even more difficult with not being able to physically visit schools at the moment.
This has made it crucial for virtual open events, including the ones run by Albyn School, to offer as true a reflection of a school as possible.
It cannot be denied that the best way to gain a proper insight into a school is an on-site visit where parents are able to see the pupils live in-action, speak with members of staff and have that instant feeling of a school being just “right” for their child.
Without this option, schools must think outside the box to be more creative and give prospective parents a “real” experience of school life through the screen.
This not only applies to virtual events, but also to social media and website platforms, so that parents can see the daily goings on away from these planned events.
The pandemic has created a new and convenient way of showing what Albyn has to offer to prospective parents, not just locally, but for those interested who normally would not have been able to attend due to distance or logistics.
The live elements of these events give a more personal experience to those watching at home allowing parents to speak with certain members of staff from the comfort of their own homes.
These open events are organised on specific dates, however, they are recorded for those who cannot manage to attend, to do so at a later date. The live Q&A sessions can also be rearranged as one-on-one conversations with members of staff at a more convenient time.
Having organised three open events so far, each time adding more live elements, the school is learning what works, what’s possible and how far technology will allow us to go.
It’s not only important for parents to connect with a school, but their children also. There must be enough for prospective pupils to be drawn in to and want to be involved in through the content of what they see online as well as the requirements sought after by their parents.
Open Days at Albyn include a live introduction from various members of staff providing information and history of the school. This is followed by different pre-recorded videos, some promotional, some musical and others involving virtual tours recorded by Albyn pupils.
In advance of these events, prospective information is gathered to tailor the Q&A sessions and every parent registered has access to each of these and can dip in and out as they please.
The pupil-led tours let the viewer experience what a day in a life is like for a pupil in the Lower School and in the Upper School which has been beneficial as the school cannot welcome prospective pupils to spend the day.
Being able to provide a virtual event has brought different challenges in the schools way. Technical skills have been put to the test, new challenges have arisen and new ideas have come to light.
The school has received positive feedback for its virtual events and as a result of this, the school has seen a rise in attendees and applications.
The merging of similar types of events has worked well so far. For example, the December Open Day event included a Lower 1 transition meeting via Zoom.
Parents were able to meet with their children’s new teachers, find out more about Lower 1 and had the chance to meet each other virtually. This important, less formal meeting, was praised for the personal and warm environment it created with the parents and the Lower 1 teachers.
The Way Forward
David Starbuck, Acting Head, explained: “Virtual Open Days have allowed more people access to what our school has to offer.
“We have seen ‘attendance’ almost double compared to our in-person events, and whilst nothing can replace getting to see our school for yourself, it is enabling people to see our school from the comfort of their own homes.
“There is no doubt that there will always be a virtual element to our admissions process from here on in – whether that’s having a live broadcast of in-person open mornings, having a regular virtual open day, or using technology like Zoom to host Q&As for prospective parents.”
Join the next Virtual Open Day on Friday, 12 March, 2021. Register at the Albyn School website.