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Durand Academy: SHINE A LIGHT ON OPPORTUNITY (movie)

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Industry Education, Public awareness
Media Promo & PR
Market United Kingdom
Released June 2011


Cannes Lions 2011
PR Lions Best Use of Media Relations Gold
PR Lions Public Affairs Gold

Credits & Description

Type of Entry: Technique
Category: Best Use of Media Relations
Advertiser/Client: DURAND ACADEMY
Managing Director: Kevin Craig (PLMR)
Senior Account Manager: Elin Twigge (PLMR)
Senior Account Executive: Rebecca Newsom (PLMR)
Senior Account Manger: Christopher Calland (PLMR)
Account Executive: Teddy Ryan (PLMR)
Account Director: David Madden (PLMR)
Research Executive: Julian Winkworth (PLMR)
Account Manager: Ros Trinick (PLMR)
Describe the campaign/entry:
Over 25 years Durand Academy (formerly Durand Primary School) had been transformed from a failing school of 125 children to become an
"Outstanding" school of almost 900 children – one of the largest in Britain, using unique social enterprises to generate income to support pupils.
The achievements of Durand had no public profile and nor were they understood or supported by their local council. Durand needed to change focus – to attract national public support, media coverage and political support in order to win funding to undertake the next step of their amazing journey – to construct the UK's first free of charge boarding school on a site in the countryside, to enable this education to continue at secondary level.
The "Shine a Light on Opportunity" campaign used public relations and political lobbying to make Durand Academy synonymous with educational excellence. It secured coverage across national print, broadcast and online media, including an interview on BBC’s global news agenda setting Today Programme.
The campaign reached tens of millions of people via media coverage and in April 2011 delivered over £17 million of funding from the British Government; making the UK’s first free of charge state funded boarding school a reality.
Describe the brief from the client:
- For the school's achievements and ambitions to be disseminated to millions of British people via regional and national media coverage.
- To secure the explicit support of the British Government and all political parties via visits to the school, mentions in speeches and positive mentions in Parliament.
- To secure within two years a multi-million pound commitment to help Durand build a boarding school in the UK countryside - changing at a stroke the life chances of thousands of children.
- Target Audiences were media and Government. For research, a 7,000 word document examining every single aspect of the campaign was produced.
In April 2011 the Government confirmed that over £17 million would be awarded to the School in order to make the vision of a new school a reality.
23 mentions of Durand in Parliament:
- Over £2 million worth of print and broadcast media coverage.
- 19.3 million Opportunities To See in print coverage alone.
- Durand social enterprise London Horizons wins first prize in Lambeth Business Awards ‘Commitment to the Community’ category 2011.
- Durand Website achieves 80,000 individual page views per annum from zero in March 2010.
- Chosen from Schools across the whole of the UK as the venue for the launch of the Government’s Schools White Paper, November 2010.
- Praised in Secretary of State’s Speeches on Education Policy in September 2010 20 January 2011.
- Included in the Departmental Press Release about the first wave of new Academies.
- Mentioned by Secretary of State in a Radio 5 Live Interview, 1st September 2010.
A full media relations operation commenced and lasted the full twelve months. At least two stories every month were offered to local and national media including national, sectoral and local broadcast and print journalists, including BBC Newsnight, Radio 4 Today Programme, The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator and South London Press to name just a few. Speaking opportunities were accepted, meetings arranged with, and letters written to: Ministers, Special Advisers and Senior Civil Servants in the Department for Education. Many MPs including Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) and Chichester (Andrew Tyrie).
Representatives from National Teaching Unions, Think Tanks including Policy Exchange and Reform and high profile boarding schools across Britain.
www.durandacademy.com was conceived, designed and built. Durand’s social enterprise was entered into a major London Business Awards. The campaign ran exactly according to plan. So much so we were turning down media opportunities that did not fit strategically with our clear plan.
The Situation:
The achievements of Durand had no public profile. They were not understood or supported by their local council. Durand needed national public support, media coverage and political support in order to:
- Be widely known and understood,
- Be in a position to fight for and to win further funding to allow the construction of the UK's first free of charge boarding school on a site it had bought in the British countryside, and to offer to children, many from deprived backgrounds & overcrowded homes, the educational opportunity normally reserved for the children of royalty, elites, and the rich.
The Strategy:
The "Shine a Light on Opportunity" Campaign was conceived. The strategy was simple:
-To deploy incessant creative energetic public relations and political lobbying to make Durand Primary School synonymous with state sector education excellence and innovation.
- To tackle the difficult attitudes of local council (Lambeth) officers by shining a light in national media and political circles on Durand’s hitherto hidden amazing 25 year journey.
- To isolate any voices ranged against the school by using positive PR and political lobbying to build an unstoppable coalition in support of the school, its achievements to date, and what it wants to do in the future.
- Following this strategy would achieve the new positioning and understanding of Durand necessary to obtain approvals for the new school to be built.
- Parent power and the wishes of parents for choice in education were the base for all of Durand Primary School’s actions and ambitions.