Promoting your school : how to make sure you don't get into trouble
Schools are businesses operating in a commercial environment where, in order to survive and compete, they must attract students. It is increasingly common for schools to advertise and promote themselves. Some advertise the qualities that students completing studies at the institution will acquire and publish school performance data. The temptation for schools is to misstate by exaggerating achievements or overselling facilities and offering so as to improve their position in the education marketplace but beware, as such misstatements may be unlawful and the consequences significant. Schools are at risk of claims being brought against them for misrepresentation, common negligence of even breach of contract as a result of representations made in their marketing materials. A school should ask itself the questions with regard to its advertising materials: can it deliver what it is promising, or, is it within the school's power to meet these promises? Is the information consistent with current school practices and policies? Have staff been educated about the statements they are making and in particular about the school's accomplishments? In an age when people expect a good return on their investments, those trading in education are increasingly likely to be scrutinised on their performance and may be on the receiving end of litigation if expectations are not met. [Author abstract, ed]
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