A university client

School activities review

The brief

A university school wanted to reflect on their school activities and to better understand potential new directions. They undertook a multi-stage process internally to do so.

They commissioned Shift to conduct the third stage of this research – a review of the activities of competitors and innovators in teaching and learning, aiming to examine alternatives and spark inspiration for the school.  

The approach

Our review comprised two phases.  

  1. Six interviews with heads of department within the school:
    • We gathered information on where the school is now, perceived opportunities and challenges, competitors and innovators.
  2. Desk research to look at the external environment/competitor institutions. This covered:
    • The activities of 14 competing institutions/schools both locally and globally – especially those considered to be innovators.
    • Key success stories – courses and departments that overperform in recruitment terms.
    • Subject clustering and cross-fertilisation.
    • A limited number of key course areas for focused exploration.

The value

The result was a report with four sections – one looking from a school-wide perspective, and the remaining looking in more detail at three specific courses. We outlined recommendations around differentiation and distinctiveness, teaching and learning, employability, and accreditation and assessment. The project finished with a two-hour interactive workshop with Heads of Department that generated many ideas for the school’s future development, as well as exploring the key themes of the research.