What are the ten most important items that you really should have on your school website?
This topic arose during a discussion I was having with colleagues when the issue of revising a school website came up. Just what should be there?
Of course what should be on a school website is only part of the issue of building a school website - for you also have to make sure that everyone can find the information quickly, and that every detail that might be required by a visitor to the site can be found readily.
But for now I want to stay with the prime question: what are the ten most important items that should be on every school website?
In trying to answer this I realised quickly that it was easy to be influenced by my knowledge of specific schools. So to get a broader view I turned to INCO, who build school websites, and they kindly provided their answer to the question. I'm grateful to INCO for this, and in return I'm including details of what they do, at the end of the list.
So, here it is. The list of the main things that between us we thought every school website should have:
- General school information - history, philosophy, staff, address, phone numbers, age range, number of pupils, number of teaching staff, etc. Plus a space on the home page for urgent immediate information about school closures, return from holiday date, special events, etc.
- Events/latest news/calendar - school updates, intra and inter-school events, announcements of upcoming parent-teacher conferences, holidays, news, trips.
- Ofsted required information.
- Key contact information (departments, main school, process for reporting absences, automatic updating of parental contact information, etc).
- Information aimed at prospective and current parents, (which is written specifically for the parents without any knowledge of educational jargon, and presented in a way that when a parent does a search on Google, etc, your school comes up near the top of the search list). The point here that we agreed, was that there should be no assumption of any educational knowledge at all.
- A clear, meaningful ethos of the school which is overtly stated and expressed through the detail in the website such as information about:
- Family-school connections
- Individual classrooms and subject areas
- Homework processes and suggestions on how parents can help at home
- Photographs (provided with parental permission) and diaries from school trips
- Admission arrangements
- Curriculum provision, content and approach by academic year and by subject
- Smart phone/tablet friendly version and mobile web app versions.
- Quick access to important resources, systems e.g. logins for existing pupils/existing parents/staff.
- Good clear, user friendly design, navigation and layout with good use of "professional" photography where applicable to enhance the the image of the school as both friendly and a place of serious learning and wide opportunity.
- Interaction opportunities - electronic discussion forums & blogs, social media integration.
In addition it was agreed that there should be a system that is easy to update by staff without any need of previous technical know-how, so that urgent messages (such as the school being shut for bad weather) can be put up by any one of several senior members of staff.
If you'd like to talk through what we could do for you please call us on 03330 124 907 or email email@example.com.