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Measuring the Experience of families, students, and employees in your school


As another school year comes to an end, many schools will be taking a moment to send around a survey to parents, employees, and students, asking them how things are going. It's an opportunity to find out what's working, what's broken, and whether people across the community are likely to recommend the school to their friends.

But what would it be like to truly understand the experience of families and employees at each stage of their journey through your school? What if we could move beyond general levels of satisfaction and measure happiness, connection, understanding, or belonging?

As the leading Experience Strategy firm for schools, [YELLOW CAR] helps school leaders and their teams to intentionally design - and now measure - the experience of school. Building upon the strategic tools that we have used in schools around the world, we've recently launched a framework that we call The Felt Experience Indicator and are already starting to use it to measure school experience in an entirely new way.

Image of the Felt Experience Indicator and its three circles


The Felt Experience Indicator illustrated above offers a conceptual framework designed to help us think about the questions that we are asking parents. There’s a lot to unpack and, to be honest, some of our ideas are still “a work in progress”. But here are some of the headlines that we hope will be enough to get the conversation started.

Lifecycle of school experience. Six stages, inlcuding attraction, Admission, Induction, Engagement, Retention and Departure/Arrival


Just as the experience of school should be intentionally designed, we are convinced that we should offer the same degree of intentionality to the feedback that we gather from families at each stage of the Lifecycle of School Experience.


From the moment that parents join our community, they should be clear on how we will check in with them, how their feedback will impact our understanding of their needs, and how these moments of reflection will provide opportunities for transformation as they transition between each stage of their journey through the school.


When we think about our experience of school, there is a progression from Expectation and Promise to an eventual End and a residual Memory. But, equally, at each stage of the journey our parents are moving through each of these phases. This helps us to think about just some of the questions that we should be asking: What did you expect? What was your impression? How well did it end? and What will you remember?


Or, if Dave Norton was in the room, I’m imagining him asking parents, Was it time well spent? and Did we get the job done for you? 

Image of the IKEA journey map with highs and lows
A frame with 6 questions. 1 My child and we as a family are happy. 2 We feel connected and welcomes as members of the community. 3 This is a place where we belong and feel at home. 4 We understand how our child is learning and information flows efficiently between us and the school. 5 We are confident that this was a good choice for us and our children. 6 We feel grateful for this opportunity to be part of this learning community.


So far so good, but the more that we think about this framework, the more we keep coming back to the need to define what it is that we are trying to accomplish.


What, in other words, do we actually want families to feel at each stage of their journey with us? Are there some objectives that might just be universal to all families choosing a school for their child? And, if so, shouldn’t we be designing questions that measure the extent to which we are reaching these goals?


So at the risk of someone telling us otherwise, we are putting it out there that most of the parents that we’ve ever met are looking for 6 distinct dimensions to their experience of school.

Our sense is that we should be looking for each of these feelings at each stage of the Lifecycle of School Experience.


For the 2023-24 school year, we are looking to partner with a limited number of schools that are ready to be early adopters of this new approach.

  • We will provide you with a 1-hour online training in Experience Strategy and the principles behind The Felt Experience Indicator.

  • We will assist you to build a schoolwide feedback strategy to ensure that you are capturing and analysing the felt experience of families, students, and staff at each stage of the Lifecycle of School Experience.

  • We will provide example surveys that can be tailored to your own context and the tools to ensure it is a positive experience for anyone offering feedback.

  • We will also offer 5 hours of focus group facilitation with a summary report to help you gather qualitative feedback that helps you go deeper on key issues.

  • We will provide you with a visualisation tool for effective analysis and reporting of key results, including trend data from other schools.

  • We will host a quarterly seminar with all participating schools to share insights, reflect on trends, and discover new ways of using the tool.

  • We will offer all of the above for a special discounted fee of 15,000 euros.

100 ideas in 10 minutes.

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