The first section of the school website requirements guide is your school website contact details. Although the requirements are straightforward we do find this information is often missing on school websites. I recently surveyed a handful of school websites and 75% of them were not compliant with this requirement. So a really great way to increase your compliance score is to get this information present on your school website. So what is important when it comes to your school website contact details?
Common Errors with School Website Contact Pages
It is vital to include certain information within your school website contact details. Otherwise, your site will not be compliant. You may decide to add further contact details that are important to your school. But the statutory information must be present as a minimum.
Now would be a great time to bring up your school website contact details and check them while you read. Have you included and answer to every requirement listed? If not then take some time to update your contact page. It really shouldn't take long. Let's take a look at some of the areas where schools often fall short of the requirements:
- Name of the member of staff who deals with queries from parents and other members of the public. Note you are required to publish a named contact. This means the "school administration team" or "the school office" would not satisfy this requirement. Make sure you name an individual.
- Name and details of your SEN co-ordinator (SENCO) if you’re a mainstream school. Again this is simply a name and an email address. This is vital for parents of children with additional needs. Don't bury this in a report or document, it needs to be present clearly within the content of a page.
- Name and address of the chair of the governing body (if you have one). This is a requirement we often find missing from school websites and we understand why! It may be the case that your chair of governors does not want their home address publishing on the site. We recommend advising that written correspondence for the chair of governors can be sent to the school address.
Location, Location, Location!
We all know what it is like when you want to contact a company and you can't find the details that you need! Don't bury your school website contact details deep on your website. Your site should allow you to publish your school address and contact telephone number in the footer of your site. If anyone needs to make urgent contact with the school then they won't have to search the whole site and become frustrated before they get through to you.
It is likely that most queries will be phone calls. However, you can use your website contact form to receive messages electronically. We would suggest ensuring there is a link to your contact form on every page of the site. Schudio website users can use your top menu, bottom menu or navigation menu to achieve this. If you are not sure about any of these menus then contact the support team for further advice.
School Website Contact Details Best Practice
As previously mentioned, you may want to add additional information to your contact page to suit your school audience. Some things to consider including on your school website contact page:
- An embedded google map - a great visual element to show people where your school is and allow people to access directions easily
- Visitor information - should visitors report to reception? Do you have visitor parking?
- Your contact preference - if you prefer to be contacted via email or phone then state this on your contact page. Of course, you should be prepared to receive contact via all methods. However, stating your preference should encourage more people to select the preferred channel
- Turn around time - if you find people call chasing their contact form submission, set the expectation on your contact page. Let people know how long they should expect to wait for a reply
If you can answer as many questions as possible in your school website content, this will save your administration team time and help people who want to make contact with your school.