You are here:

updated on 14 January 2022
Ref: 34029
School types: All · School phases: All

Rural schools frequently struggle with funding and many are fighting to stay viable. Here’s how one rural academy trust used marketing to increase pupil numbers by 20% - and, as a result, boost its school’s income.

Chulmleigh College, a rural secondary school in Devon, significantly increased its pupil numbers and boosted its per-pupil funding by 20% by taking a new approach to marketing. Below, we explain how it did this.

Reference to commercial providers in this article does not constitute an endorsement from The Key.

Why should we focus on marketing?

School funding is strongly tied to pupil numbers, which can leave schools with small pupil numbers struggling to cover their fixed costs.

Chulmleigh Academy Trust found that: 

  • Its funding didn’t cover the fixed costs associated with running a small rural school
  • Projected numbers of children in the school catchment areas weren’t high enough to match the budget forecasts

The trust used the strategy set out below to boost pupil numbers in its secondary school, Chulmleigh College, with a final goal of having 600 pupils enrolled.

Forecast your budget and pupil numbers for the

More from The Key


Bitesize training with a big impact

Our on-demand training has your whole board covered and lets them learn at a time and pace that suits them.

Help your new governors hit the ground running with our expertly-designed induction training, and our role-specific courses support your link governors develop key skills and confidence in their role.


New eLearning: DSL refresher training

Your DSL’s training should be refreshed at least once every 2 years. 

Designed in collaboration with safeguarding experts, our 2.5 hour online refresher training course reminds DSLs how to put their knowledge into practice, with in-depth, real-world scenarios.


The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.