Built hundreds of website and helped countless schools realise their potential online. Ian should be called upon for straight-talking advice and to make a difference to the way you present your school through every outlet.
One way or another you WILL show your website visitors who you are and what you are about as a school. You can either do it deliberately through concerted, consistent efforts or blindly and with no strategic approach. But, be assured, visitors will be left in no doubt as to what you're about based on what they discover when they visit your website. Whether we're talking about the legal school website requirements or attracting new students, the best school websites in 2023 will be those that take consistent steps toward best practice.
Whether considering prospective or current parents and students, or inspectors, the approach is the same.
Here are the 4 steps you should be taking to be one of the best schools.
Before you do anything else, it's vital that you take an honest audit of where you are at. This is best achieved by asking a series of questions.
Be honest. If your answer to all or most of these questions is yes, then you are well ahead of most - congratulations!
If not, you're in the position of the vast majority of schools. The great news is that if you're reading this list of questions and in a mild state of panic, help is at hand. With a plan and consistent efforts, you will start to see significant change quickly.
Your next step is to create a plan that you can stick to.
Now you have an understanding of where you are at and the current state of your content, you can start to think about what comes next.
Once you have done this, you will be well on your way to seeing a fast transformation of your website. You'll be well on your way to becoming one of the best school websites in 2023.
It's possible that you are still feeling daunted at the task in hand. That's where a range of tools and resources come in to help ease the burden.
We are big fans of automation, systems and processes. They're a big part of why we're able to effectively serve so many schools with a comparatively small team. It allows us to retain the feel of a family business and reach beyond our comparative size. That's one of the reasons we work so well with schools.
In schools, budgets are stretched and time is poor. You have no choice but to operate in a lean way. The best way to do that is by utilising systems and processes for anything you do that is a repeated action. Think about it for a moment; so much of what you do operationally in school recurs every year. You will already be using processes within your daily, weekly, termly and annual routines.
The approach you take to your website management should be exactly the same because so much of what you do with your website is a repeated action.
... all of these are repeated actions. By using tools to create a plan and stick to it, you can "punch above your weight" and share regular content that is engaging quickly, easily and consistently.
There is a range of tools and resources available to schools at no or low cost that can make all the difference. Here are some of our favourites:
The three steps we have taken so far have the power to set you up very well.
We started this post by stating that, one way or another, your website will paint a picture of who you are as a school. When you have completed the three steps above, you can expect to start seeing more engagement and a weight lifted from you, particularly when it comes to compliance. You have set yourself a strong foundation to build upon. You will be in a strong position to begin to think more deliberately about exceeding expectations.
The first thing that you need to do when moving from a firm foundation to exceeding expectations is to embrace an attitude of "we do what we say we do and we evidence it."
In our next post, we'll explore what this looks like and the impact it has on moving into the phase of exceeding expectations. For now, think about one of the most critical content sections on your website - safeguarding. The best school websites in 2023 don't merely include all the legally required information about safeguarding in school. They go further. They make sure it is an easy-to-find, clear-to-use page of content. The content is not only written to cover the legal bases but also to make clear to parents and students how seriously you take the safety of the children in your charge. It is written in an easy-to-understand way and it is backed up by feedback from parents and students.
This principle applies to every area of your school website. If you take every opportunity to demonstrate that you are doing what you say you do, you begin to move from box-checking to excelling.
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