Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Price We Pay for Oversubscription

In truly predictable fashion, this week the school has released another bout of marketing in the local papers, in lieu of another hoard of Year 7's joining our great establishment. This follows a small vignette that featured the Trash in the CNJ last week, over an article we published on the Arsenal mural in the Quad. The predictability of the latest marketing ploy comes as no surprise to us, as it is almost coincidental that, over the past year, every time the Trash has had media recognition, the school advertises itself in a more forgiving (and largely untrue or augmented) way.

As well as featuring half-page spreads in the local papers, school advertising has been spotted on the behind of 139 buses (not even the unofficial school-bus). Now, we could write an article lambasting the school on how marketing is just fellating the head's ego, but we've done that the last two times an article such as this has been written, so it is time to peddle some new content. We have said time and time again how the school misuses funds, advertising being one of those monetary sinkholes, but this time we wanted to find out how much the school was actually wasting.

Like when we did an article on the true cost of ALPs in a Buzz Bashing article, we did some research into how much the current bout of ads were setting the school back. The two main newspapers that bared the ad were the Camden New Journal (responsible for the publication of Trashgate) and the Ham and High (responsible for the publication of Mailmerge). Both were half page spreads. Now, the Ham and High charges £15.25 for a standard column centimetre, which means that their ad space set the school back some £1,220 for the half-page. The CNJ do a half-page coverall cost of £931, meaning that the current bout of advertising has cost the school in total £2,151.

To put that number into some perspective, as we always do, with £2,151 the school could have bought students 5,736 text books. This all begs the question, where is the money coming from? Who's budget is this being pulled from? What is the school losing out on to gain a colour picture of the Head's smarmy face?

Regardless of this, and regardless of whether or not the school has the money to afford it, advertising the school for places is surplus to requirement (as is a Marketing Manager, which a school such as Hampstead should just not need. If a state school needs a Marketing Manager, then in more ways than one they are doing something wrong). As the Head boasted so readily in assemblies earlier in the year, Hampstead is an oversubscribed school. Whether it be because of the promise of good teaching or a lack of other school places, Hampstead is oversubscribed in both lower school and sixth form, and so it does not need to advertise itself for even more children. It should take some of the ones it's already got vying for places, and stop giving false hope to families who will not get a place, wasting school funds in the process.

On a lighter note, the ad featured the usual quotes from Ofsted and Alps and, funnily, A. Parent, which is a stupid name, like A. Student or R. Mehearties (said parent obviously not wanting to put their name to the cause). The school was also spouting the usual diatribe about being in the top 2% of whatever and 63%G*-U, but to find out more about how those figures aren't entirely truthful, you ought to be reading a hell of a lot more Trash.

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