Historic Loretto reveals cutting-edge personal prospectus

The digital personal prospectus on the school's website.
The digital personal prospectus on the school's website.
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IT is more than 180 years old and renowned for being steeped in history and tradition.

But despite its strong ties to the past, Loretto School is also one of the most forward- thinking in the country, especially when it comes to technology.

The Musselburgh school is the first in the UK to develop a “personalised” online prospectus for pupils and parents, making traditional glossy promotional magazines a thing of the past.

The new cutting-edge technology, due to be unveiled this month, is designed to give parents and pupils a unique insight into the school – tailored to their requests – as well as saving money on paper, production and administration.

Headmaster Peter Hogan said: “We are keeping well ahead of the game and, as far as I know, there are no other educational establishments in the UK using this type of personal prospectus.”

It is thought that schools across the country will quickly follow in Loretto’s footsteps.

The online prospectus is tailored around individual requirements, whether it be a parent looking to send their child to board at the school, a trainee at Loretto’s golf academy, or a pupil wanting to find information on specific courses and facilities.

After choosing preferences, the prospectus then guides the website user through specific information, videos and galleries revealing the aspects of the school they are looking for, which results in a personal prospectus they can go back to time and again.

Alex Buck, media director of Concept4 – the web design company working with Loretto – said: “The beauty of this solution is that the user-defined journey is unlike any printed prospectus and more intelligent than the many digital magazine solutions currently on offer.

“The Loretto prospectus engages the user and allows them to interact as they choose information and to only have relevant content delivered.”

The school’s website also features multiple news feeds and events calendars, a Google Earth site map, 360-degree tours of the campus, blogs, e-newsletters and its own media centre to house videos, audio and photo galleries.

Mr Hogan said: “We like to keep at the forefront of web technology, but the personal touch is so important to prospective parents who are seeking information about schools.”

Concept4 will unveil the Loretto system in front of 30,000 education and information technology experts at BETT – the UK’s leading ICT in education conference – this month.

Loretto parent Rory Hammerson added: “The new website is well thought out, extremely easy to navigate, and provides me with useful up-to-date information on anything from sports match times to match reports.”