Home / Why does ‘story’ matter to your school… and how can you tell your school story effectively?

Why does ‘story’ matter to your school... and how can you tell your school story effectively?

Kate Hooper, StrategyStory /
16 April 2024

3 min read

StrategyStory co-founder Kate Hooper explains why getting your school’s story straight is key to winning hearts and minds, and she shares a simple framework to help you think through your school’s communication approach.

‘Stories drive action’. That is my mantra. I was born into a family hailing from remote islands off the North West Coast of Scotland, where storytelling is at the heart of community. I’m almost certain this early experience ignited my love of storytelling and propelled me into a career of program-making, journalism and communications.

Compelling, authentic stories are at the centre of so much progress. That’s because stories connect us as human beings. They help us create meaning, they help us learn, they help us convey value, intention and emotion. They do so much more than simply using data, information and facts.

But there is an art to storytelling. It is a craft, and thankfully, it is a craft that can be learned by all of us.

A storytelling renaissance

While ‘storytelling’ may be having a bit of a renaissance in recent times, we can still overlook the significance of it in our organisations, which is where StrategyStory is on a mission…

When StrategyStory formed seven years ago, we wanted to address a very clear challenge: that around two thirds of strategies don’t work. One reason that they don’t work is because people are not engaged or haven’t been involved in their creation. So, how do you get people engaged? Well, you share stories that draw people in. You do not just deliver facts, data or statistics. You weave people into the story – the big vision, the big ambition, the big idea. You entice them, you excite them, you help them understand.

“We often see strategies developed at that leadership level. It's often the board, and the school leadership team that co-construct them. Then it's presented to the community, and there's not the buy-in or the understanding of that strategy, because it hasn't emerged from the voices of the community.”

— David Burton, ISV Principal Consultant

Listen to more on the StrategyStory podcast and learn about the critical need for schools to embrace a strategic approach to address challenges, delve into the significance of storytelling to build community engagement and hear from the firsthand experience of Peter Sheahan, Principal at Waverly Christian College.

And with the challenges we face in these times, getting that story straight is more important than ever. It’s especially important for schools facing challenges like recruiting staff and new families, or communicating internally to help current staff and families understand – and be part of – change. We’ve had so much change in recent years, and there will be much more to come. Good storytelling skills are a vital leadership quality to help bring people along in a way that feels good rather than scary. To help drive positive results.

Storytelling works because stories do things to us – to our minds and to our bodies. They stimulate hormones that drive us to action, whether that’s to feel pride, to feel inspired, to feel empathy, for example. So the kind of story you tell, will have an impact on the people that you tell it to. Your school will more than likely have multiple audiences – whether that’s board members, potential staff, existing staff, students or families – and you may be thinking, ‘where on earth do I start?’ We can support you with that.

What can we do for you?

Our upcoming programs will help you:

A. Communicate the story of your school to external audiences.
B. Communicate internally to help you get your school community on board with your strategy, and even be part of the creation of it.
C. Both of the above!

StrategyStory’s SPA framework – Simplify, Personify, Amplify – is a great framework to help you communicate a big idea, strategy or vision.

So, what is on offer, and how can you sign up?

Whether you’re looking for rapid fire strategy to address a specific challenge or opportunity – or looking to craft a deeper story-driven strategy that stands the test of time – we have a tailored program to meet your school’s needs.

Click below to find out about the various programs on offer with ISV and StrategyStory.

StrategyStory’s co-founder Kate Hooper is an ex-BBC Senior producer and has been supporting people and organisations to tell and share their stories her entire career.

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