|13 May 2021|
|Written by Francesca Barry|
Summer Fields School is an exceptional day and boarding preparatory school based in North Oxford, England. As a development team of one, they launched their first digital community last year, and have been steadily growing their online membership to over 350 members.
As part of an ambitious development programme to equip the school for 21st century learning, and supported by their ToucanTech software, Summer Fields recently completed their Next Chapter campaign, in which they raised £2.5m. Thanks to their generous and engaged school community, Summer Fields has a spectacular new library, a fully refurbished school Chapel, two new classrooms, a much needed new Learning Support Department and an upgrade to its DT Department all of which will inspire and encourage creativity for generations to come.
“It has been wonderful to be able to engage with alumni, former parents and staff and to see our online community grow in the last year since we joined ToucanTech. While COVID has been challenging for all of us in different ways and to varying degrees, we have been able to stay connected through our online community. We are now looking forward to organising real events as opposed to virtual ones and to being able to reconnect face-to-face and to celebrate the many new developments and achievements within our extended community.”
Daphne O’Connell, Development Director
With a diverse alumni network, Summer Fields have shared updates on many of their former pupils on their ToucanTech online community; from interviews with brilliant conductors & artists to well wishes for an OS reaching the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final! They also share ways that online members can help others to reconnect with Summer Fields, such as setting up clubs and forwarding links to the community site.
The Summer Fields motto, ‘A healthy mind in a healthy body’ inspired many initiatives during the course of the pandemic, from a community effort to participate in the ‘Run 5k, Donate £5, Nominate 5’ to raise money for the NHS, to the Summer Fields Striders running from Oxford to Tokyo, clocking up over 10,000km so far! They shared news of this great challenge on their community site, and encouraged other members to share how they have been keeping fit and healthy.
For prep schools, maintaining a good connection with former parents is just as important as alumni; it will likely be several years until alumni might look to get back in touch with their junior school, however former parents may wish to remain in the school network. Summer Fields sends a quarterly newsletter for former parents using the ToucanTech email engine, which includes an update on school renovations, alumni stories and a call to action to join the online community network. Their last newsletter achieved a 50% open rate, with nearly 10% of recipients clicking through to read more about the school.
Summer Fields School is committed to expanding their bursary provision, and the Maclaren Foundation has grown over the last 15 years to enable boys who otherwise would not be able to attend Summer Fields for financial reasons to receive this opportunity. Using their ToucanTech software, Summer Fields set up a COVID-relief fund specifically to support students and their families who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. Through an outpouring of generosity from their community, the school has been able to continue to support students in receiving a Summer Fields education.
To find out more about how Summer Fields School and other ToucanTech customers are building engaged digital communities that give back, speak to a member of the ToucanTech team.
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