Case Study

East Sussex County Council Case Study

(Raising of the Participation Age)

Case Study Summary

How a complex government programme was translated into communications that would engage 13 and 14 year olds and meet the varying needs of the schools and youth organisations working with them.

The Brief

"Raising The Participation Age" is a government initiative designed to improve the skills of teenagers most likely to drop out of education early. The programme offers a variety of routes by which kids are able to remain in education or training until they are 18 (rather than the current 16). East Sussex County Council was appointed as one of the early pilot areas for the scheme and approached Preview to develop a broad communications strategy capable of reaching the hardest to reach children, and to manage all aspects of the marketing of the plan.

The Challenge

Being required to "stay on at school longer" was potentially a very unpopular message for some children and their parents. The challenge was both to explain the changes in education and training provision in a way that engaged them and that encouraged both groups to think now about changes that was superficially still two years in the future for them.

The client had a clear priority to engage with the hardest to reach children who may be irregular school attendees already.

How Preview Helped

Working with the programme manager and members of the clients' marketing team, we developed a communications strategy and presented it to ESCC's steering committee to get buy in from all the organisations dealing with the target audience (including schools, colleges, social workers and youth groups). This was based on market research that we undertook with parents and children to understand reactions to the messages and the best media to reach the audiences.

The plan included traditional tools such as leaflets and websites, combined with social media, youth theatre and street leafleting. We developed the creative approach and key messages, and then briefed external suppliers such as the theatre groups and ESCC's own web team to ensure consistent, co-ordinated messages reached the target audience. An interactive leaflet was designed and 15,000 copies distributed via schools, street canvassing and through partner organisations.

Outcome

Reaction to the pilot has been such that that East Sussex County Council have been granted further funding to develop the project and our client has been asked to speak at best-practice conferences about the programme. The client asked us to manage the total project budget on their behalf, including negotiations with the third party.

East Sussex County Council

East Sussex County Council