Department for Education: Every Lesson Shapes a Life

Our heartwarming first campaign for the DfE's teacher recruitment business.

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The Department for Education was facing three significant problems around teaching recruitment – a five-year downward trend in the number of teachers recruited; a vicious cycle of understaffing, pressure on teachers and funding crises – leading to fewer people wanting to be teachers, and a negative media narrative that highlighted and perpetuated these issues.

Each year it was getting harder. Teaching as a profession had lost the desirability factor, and the job market was increasingly busy and fragmented. Whilst the vast majority of the population thought of teaching as an ‘important profession’, far fewer would consider it a job ‘for me’. 

Previous campaigns majored on rational benefits such as bursaries and starting salaries. But this isn’t why people go into Teaching. We spoke to prospective, current and ex-teachers across the country - and identified three universal motivations to teach: to make a difference, to change kids’ lives, to change the world. 

For them, inspiring kids was about small, seemingly insignificant moments that had a momentous impact on shaping people’s lives. Critically, they are motivated by shaping ‘WHO’ their students become, not just ‘WHAT’ they become. Teachers had forgotten why they love the job they do. And were actively discouraging prospective teachers from entering the profession. We knew we had to change this to succeed.

We set about repositioning Teachers as ‘life changers’, revealing teaching for what it truly is, reinvigorating the profession, and rediscovering the purpose at its heart. We created a powerful, long-term brand idea that struck at the heart of why people love to teach. 

Every Lesson Shapes a Life is our first emotive Government campaign that highlights the unparalleled role teachers play in shaping young people’s lives rather than the more functional benefits of a career in teaching.

The huge campaign turned around in just four months, spanned TV, cinema, social, OOH, press, radio, digital, DM, physical collateral, event branding and a new brand identity and strapline.

The results

The campaign has been and continues to be a huge success and is outperforming all previous in tracking, with the ad tracker showing a 12pp rise in pride in the profession amongst prospects. Week 29 saw the strongest level of web registrations in two years, with new teacher recruitment being 23% ahead of target since launch.

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