A new attempt to give advertisers access to Britain’s schools has
come under fire from teachers’ leaders.
The National Union of Teachers’ call for classrooms to remain ’ad free
zones’ followed the announcement of a scheme to distribute ad-funded
postcards to hundreds of secondary schools across the country.
Boomerang Media said it has already ran a successful pilot project which
it plans to extend into 250 schools in March next year. It hopes to have
up to 1,500 schools participating by the end of 1999.
SmithKline Beecham, Channel 4, EMI, Chupa Chups and the Central Office
of Information, which is seeking to boost Army recruitment, are said to
have expressed interest in the idea.
Under the scheme, Boomerang will offer schools regular supplies of
postcards covering a number of subjects including health, art, culture,
social education, fashion and music. Between 30 and 40 per cent of the
cards will carry advertising messages.
Unlike the controversial plan by the Essex-based Imagination for School
Media Marketing, which has been offering to pay schools to accept poster
advertising, those taking the postcards will not receive cash.
The launch of the IMM scheme has been postponed a number of times
because of difficulties in attracting advertiser interest. But Garfield
Smith, Boomerang’s managing director, said: ’This is a very soft sell
which allows advertising to put something good back into schools.’
But the NUT said it had serious misgivings about the scheme and the
union predicted protests from parents if some types of advertising -
particularly for Army recruitment - were permitted.
’It would be better for schools to be as advertising-free as possible,
rather than being exploited in this way,’ a spokesman added.
Andrew Brown, the director-general of the Advertising Association, which
has kept its distance from such schemes, said: ’There are lots of valid
ways to talk to children without talking to them in the classroom as