Community Expert Podcast

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Classlist CEO Susan Burton interviews Jenni Walker, Friends Committee Chair, St Edwards School, Oxford (Teddies). Key highlights are Jen's description of how her and team adapted their approach during the pandemic. Including insights into their highly successful online events programme. And the end result - significant positive parent engagement.

Show Notes

Jen Walker is one of those fantastic individuals who we all need in our lives - a doer. When she isn’t undertaking the role as Chair of the St Edwards School, Oxford, Friends Association, she runs two companies: The Hat Hire company and The Cattleshed Candle Company. She’s also a microgreen farmer and organiser of the Launton Artisan Food Market. 

A key theme that comes across regarding all her endeavours is a desire to build community. Whether it's in her local village organising various food producers for the market or in her children’s schools. Where she arranged memorable end of year balls and more recently virtual magician shows. Jen is a natural leader. Having led associations now at primary and secondary schools. 

What is so interesting about her story is how she adapted the St Edwards school community to online so effectively during Covid. A key takeaway from this podcast is how she transitioned Friends events away from a few blockbuster events to a programme of more regular more intimate gatherings. Experimenting with different themes to reach out to a wider audience. Engagement levels increased significantly during this time. Effective team work with key school staff is another key takeaway.  Her experience really contrasts with so many schools who we’ve observed here at Classlist that mothballed their events in the last year. Without further ado here is Jen’s story of being at the helm during the pandemic. 

In this episode you will learn:
  • How did Jen enter the wonderful world of Friend Associations?
  • How did Jen pivot your community in light of lockdown and Covid?
  • In-person vs online events what are the pros and cons? 
  • What tips can Jen give about running online events?
  • What have been Jen's 3 proudest achievements?
  • Jen's tips regarding forming a positive partnership with the school?
Favourite book and favourite podcast:
  • Close to Home, By author Cara Hunter
  • Tracing Your Roots, BBC, Radio 4 Podcast

What is Community Expert Podcast?

Welcome to the Classlist CX - Community Expert podcast series. Where our aim is to inspire and guide you with insight and advice from our community of experts.

Throughout this series we share best practice from successful school community leaders. In addition we discuss possible career opportunities beyond the school gate. Last but not least we hear from leading speakers from the wider world of community.