What Makes The Best School Websites?

William Caston Cook, 5th December 2016

The best schools communicate effectively, their parents and stakeholders are informed and engaged (1). Your school website should be integral to this process, but all too often we see schools forced to rely on websites that are not fit for purpose. Websites that do not work on mobile phones or tablets, or even worse, that take the simple task of communicating with your parents and make it difficult.

We know that when your website is difficult to use it can become intimidating, falling out of date quickly, meaning that schools and their communities miss out through no fault of their own. We also know that Ofsted use your website to develop an initial picture of your school prior to inspection (2), so it’s becoming even more important for schools to have a website that presents up to date statutory information in an accessible way.

Case study: Fulbridge Academy

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Case study: Mile Cross Primary School

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So what makes a good school website?

We recognised that the best school websites shared several traits. They work across devices and language barriers, they contain the DfE required statutory data and present it clearly, they look good and are easy to navigate, they make contacting the school easy and hassle free, and most importantly, they keep their visitors up to date with school life.

Your school website is primarily a communication tool, a fact which sometimes gets forgotten, the best websites simply allow schools to communicate confidently with their audience. They should be easy for you to use... so that you do! Equally, they should make it easy for parents, potential parents and stakeholders to quickly find the information they want when they visit your site.

As an educational software provider we are constantly looking for ways to help our schools achieve their goals. The more we thought about it, the more it made sense for us to start creating school websites.

We knew that by integrating school websites into Pupil Asset, software that teachers already used and understood, we could solve a lot of the usability problems caused by other content management systems. We developed a simple folder structure to house web pages, made those pages easy to create and edit. We focussed on making each function sensibly, taking time to ensure that we developed a system which even the most tech-phobic need not be afraid of.

Once we'd made all the bits that make your life easier, our creative team went to work, making a series of beautiful websites that look great no matter what device you use or language you speak, that provide multiple ways to navigate through them, that link seamlessly with social media, that enable your school to be accessible to everyone at all times.

We thought about all the ways that integrating school websites with Pupil Asset could save time and energy for you and your staff. So you will soon have the option of selecting exam data to display publicly, your school newsletters will archive automatically, your staff can have editable public profiles, your house points can update on your site in real time and you'll have a public calendar. As much as possible, we are working to the principle that if you update Pupil Asset, Pupil Asset updates your website.

We realise that sometimes you need a helping hand, so our friendly staff will work with you, ensuring that your website will exceed the expectations of your audience. That your statutory content is present, correct, and easy to find. We will help you to create and maintain a digital presence that represents your school environment.

Click here to view our school websites.

1. Sustaining Outstanding Provision Over Time.

2. School Inspection Handbook, para 29