Down Arrow
Attain Associates was born from our unique knowledge of the independent schools' sector, developed over twenty years of working with schools.

We offer tailored advice and strategic support to schools which unites our communications, marketing, public affairs and business development expertise with our independent sector experience.

Our history

Headed by Matthew Smith, our knowledge of the independent schools' sector started through helping schools with brand identity, photography, video, prospectus design and web development – all at a time when the internet was still in its infancy.

At the heart of our work was the relationship between schools and key stakeholders: prospective, current and former parents and pupils, as well as the wider community.

Building on this knowledge, Matthew launched and became Editor of Attain Magazine in 2006, a new style of publication for parents which quickly grew to become the sector's leading national magazine, read by Heads, teachers and parents at schools across the country. In 2020, Attain Magazine switched to be fully digital and became part of the Attain Guide, helping parents navigate the maze of independent education.
Attain Magazine Past Issues
Attain Conference
Fresh Thinking
Over the years, we have worked with schools of all sizes – from small preps to large senior day and boarding schools. For several years, Matthew advised the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) on strategic communications and served on the Independent Schools Council (ISC) Communications Advisory Group. He regularly presented on communications, marketing and strategy to audiences of Heads and staff at a variety of events and conferences.

Attain today

Based in Oxford, Attain Associates is part of Chapel Studios, a strategic brand communications agency. In a highly competitive and often challenging market, the perception and value of a school's brand has never been more important.

We help schools to ensure their brand is at the heart of everything they do and correctly communicates their values to all stakeholders. We can advise on all aspects of strategy where the school's brand is centre stage – from attracting prospective parents through to market position and future direction. To arrange a time to discuss a project, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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Latest thinking

Being authentic

Being authentic

For a news story to be brilliant, it needs to have certain ingredients. But what does it need? Matthew Smith has put together a checklist to help, conveniently linked against a memorable word... authentic.

Is your school newsworthy?

Is your school newsworthy?

Schools can be a wonderful source of news but not all stories are newsworthy. Matthew Smith looks at the distinction between 'story-telling' and news and why their objectives rarely align.

Is school news dead?

Is school news dead?

Matthew Smith reflects on the unhelpful influence of marketing on school news stories. As some schools attempt to produce more and more content, they risk losing any semblance of journalistic quality.

Chapel Studios
Oxford Centre for Innovation
New Road
Oxford, OX1 1BY