Advice from a Teacher: Getting Official Approval

Though your yearbook will be filled with in-jokes about your friends and photos from trips, prom and days out with your classmates, it is always important to remember that the book bears the school name and logo, and we need final approval from a member of staff at your school before it can be printed. The member of staff proofreading the book can request changes to the content.

Occasionally, you’ll find that what you thought was a funny story involving a teacher, or a moment with your friends where you used some bad language, is completely missing from the printed version of your book after being removed by a teacher. Make sure you think about the content you’re including – and if a teacher is likely to find it appropriate.

We sat down with a head of year at a school in Islington, to ask him what students can do to make the official approval process go as smoothly as possible.

Hi Mr Martin! If your students wanted to make a yearbook, would you want them to let you know the details first?

Though that’s not something I would plan myself, I do think this would be useful. It would be good to know what questions they want to ask the students so we can check those in advance. I’d also like to be aware of all the editors and learn a little bit more about what they’re going to include, though partly just out of interest – this is their project and memories after all!

Great! Is there anything in particular you would be looking out for in the students’ profiles?

Personally, I wouldn’t want any swear words included in the yearbook – but this might be because my year group are 15 and 16 year olds. If you’re in Sixth Form, your teachers might feel differently.  I guess that’s another reason we might want to chat about it first.

How do you feel about anecdotes that involve the staff?

That’s fine by me – provided the interactions are funny and not making fun of the teachers. I know this isn’t necessarily the same for everyone though, and some staff might prefer to be left out completely. It’s worth remembering that staff are going to read your book too, so it’s best that they don’t have any nasty surprises.

And how about the photos? Excluding the obvious, is there anything students should avoid in particular?

Drinking! Though I hope they’re not doing that anyway… Also, I would hope these books are going to be viewed and looked back upon in years to come – so I always think a nice photo with your friends is a better choice than the dog filter, though I’d never change that over for the students, I guess that’s up to them!

The editors have full control over the book throughout the process – is there anything you’d like them to look out for before showing the book to you for approval?

Swear words and any photos that might be inappropriate. I’d rather any bad photos were replaced before I have to remove them, otherwise I guess just an empty space would be left instead. I’d rather not censor things too much myself; but that really can’t be included, so it really would be best to put some different content in before it reaches me.

How about being an editor yourself, would you want to have access to the yearbook throughout the process?

I think that would be good. It would also mean that I could help with dates and organising payment if they want to do this through the school. It would also be great to be vaguely aware of the content before suddenly having to read through the whole book – I might miss things that way!

Great! It sounds like you’re happy to get involved. What if your school wasn’t willing to grant approval, would you be happy for your students to make an unofficial one? 

To be honest, I wouldn’t be particularly happy to have our school name or logo on a book we haven’t seen. It would leave us in a bit of a sticky situation with both parents and other members of staff if something went to print that was libellous, or didn’t look great. Because of this I’d also want no teachers’ names used in this situation.

But, if students wanted to make a book as a group of friends, I’m not going to stop them!

If you have any further questions about official approval, we have more information here that you might find useful. Otherwise, do get in touch with one of the team. If you’re looking to create an unofficial yearbook, let us know and we can go through this with you.