A designated National Leader of Education and the CEO and Trust Leader at Embark Federation, Matt Crawford is responsible for 15 primary and 4secondary schools across Derbyshire, serving around 8,000 pupils and more than 1,000 staff. He has a big responsibility to recommend only the right people to his schools and contacts, and explains why he’s always proud to introduce them to JSSP.
Matt’s relationship with JSSP began when he was the headteacher at an individual primary school. ‘JSSP had been recommended to me by a fellow head, who said they were really happy with their service and the quality of their images,’ Matt says. ‘They were local to us, so it certainly seemed worth a call.’
‘As soon as I spoke to JSSP, I was impressed,’ continues Matt. ‘I had a call with their MD, Steve Deverill, and it was immediately clear he is someone you want to work with. He didn’t have an ego or try to pitch to me with a hard sell – he was honest, low-key and genuine. That alone was enough to make me want to give him the opportunity for a chat and as soon as I saw the high quality of JSSP’s images, I was sold.’
‘I already knew the great work JSSP could deliver,’ Matt explains. ‘So, when I started at Embark Federation, changing to JSSP as our school trust photographer was one of the first decisions I made. The trust had been using a big national company, but I recommended they use a local provider and speak to Steve instead. They were impressed from the start and switched almost immediately.’
Matt stresses that individual schools are free to make their own choices about their school photographers. They all selected JSSP. ‘We’re not the type of trust that insists every school uses the same photographer – we let them decide what’s right for them,’ Matt says. ‘In the past, Embark Federation schools have used a range of different providers. But now, they’ve all chosen to move to JSSP. We’ve never dictated that move, which speaks volumes about JSSP’s high standards.’
‘Schools don’t make the decision to change their school photographers lightly,’ Matt says. ‘Yet the quality of JSSP’s images and the service they offer made switching to them an easy choice for our schools. JSSP is always willing to give back and suggest ways they can help that we might not have thought about before. So far, they’ve created our staff photo boards, provided school marketing images for our prospectuses, and created video tours so parents can view a number of our schools on our website. They also supply many of our schools with uniform.’
‘JSSP is always looking to deliver something extra and build up relationships with our schools and our staff,’ adds Matt. ‘Unlike other school photographers, they don’t simply turn up twice a year to take class photos and leave it at that. I know I can call them anytime and that nothing’s too much trouble – they’ll always try to help.’
‘JSSP has impressed Matt so much that he’s happy to sing the company’s praises beyond his own trust. ‘Embark Federation’s schools have all got to know JSSP, and I’m always keen to introduce other school trusts to them, too,’ he says. ‘I’m confident speaking highly of them and I know they’ll try to find positive ways to connect with any school they feel they can support.’
Matt credits a combination of everything JSSP offers and does as the reason he chooses to work with them time and again. ‘It’s hard to pick one thing that makes me choose JSSP above any other school photography provider,’ he says. ‘But if I had to choose, I’d say it’s the fact I don’t feel like we’re customers – it’s a partnership. That’s very different to other companies where school photography is very transactional. With JSSP, I feel like we work together. That’s what makes them stand out.’
I already knew the great work JSSP could deliver, so, when I started at Embark Federation, changing to JSSP as our school trust photographer was one of the first decisions I made.
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