Walden School was a 300 year old co-educational independent school in Saffron Walden, Essex for ages 3 to 18. Following prolonged and challenging trading conditions, the school was forced to close. It initially tried to find a buyer but failed and so entered into administration. PLMR Genesis was asked to provide issue and crisis communications management from prior to the closure announcement through to the completion of the administration – a period of 15 months.
To communicate across all key stakeholders – parents, staff, suppliers and other interested parties – the key messages around the school’s closure, ensuring that as many as possible understood the circumstances and accepted that there were no alternative options, whilst handling the communications in a highly sensitive way.
We provided on-going highly reactive and proactive press office and comms support throughout a period of prospective sales activity and subsequently through administration when we were engaged directly by the administrators, Grant Thornton. Close counsel was provided, regular conference calls attended and media training delivered as part of an integrated approach.
Through carefully planned and executed communications, we managed to convey the key messages and have them accepted by the large majority of stakeholders. For a small number of more vocal and active parents, we managed to contain their opposition through providing clear and factual responses, statements and answers.
“PLMR Genesis provided first rate PR and communications support during the closure of the school. They proactively advised and worked closely with us, managing the media and all aspects of intense communications with all of our stakeholders. The result was that a difficult situation was made significantly more bearable with our messages being clearly communicated in a highly responsive way.”