OFSTED Ready School Website in 3 Steps

Whether you're in 'the window' or not, getting your school website OFSTED ready is a vital part of your online plans. Actually, keeping it up to date with all the very latest requirements as and when they change will save you no end of time and stress when you do get the call.

One of our most important jobs is to contact every one of our clients to make sure they're up to date with the most recent information. Another is to provide the tools to keep that content accurate and complete, quickly and easily.

When you're managing a website, having the software to make your job easier is so important and we've added a number of features over the last year to do just that.

So what do you need to do? What steps can you take to always be on top of this job, which sometimes seems overwhelming?

Well there's 3 main areas (The Three 'S's) to cover so walk through this with me and you'll be all ready to go ...

Statutory Content

Firstly, let's talk about what you need to put on your website. There's a long list of policies, reports and links you need to have on your website to reach compliance.

The DfE provides this information for you and lots of companies offer a nice-looking checklist which is based on the content on the DfE website. 

But it's actually a bit of a minefield and decoding some of what DfE is asking for can be really time-consuming (sometimes downright confusing!) 

That's why we spend a number of days every year planning and working through all the information DfE releases. We spend time chatting to inspectors and contacting DfE to establish exactly what is being asked of you. That helps us to build the best, most detailed and most accurate OFSTED Ready Website Guide around. 

It's not a checklist (although it does include the most comprehensive one available), but rather the definitive Guide to absolutely everything you need to know to really make your website meet the required needs. We even give you tips and tricks on how to go BEYOND the minimum requirements!

Schools tell us regularly how helpful the Guide is. They have thanked us for the Guide's contribution to their school achieving Outstanding status for the first time ever. We have even had schools contact us to let us know that the handful of requirements they didn't follow through on, were the exact requirements the inspectors picked up on!  

Our OFSTED Ready Website Guide is THE report for your school to get your School Website OFSTED Ready. 

Structure & Navigation

So now you're tooled up to know exactly what you need to get your School Website OFSTED Ready, how are you going to implement that? 

We chat to lots of schools that are struggling with how to rearrange all the content on their website to make their menus and pages not so cumbersome and hard to navigate. We also chat to lots of schools that don't have the technology to effectively manage this content. Some can't even update menus without an additional charge from their provider.

There are however, a few things that you can do to make things easier to find and free up some space ...

a) Group Documents Together

Does that sound really obvious? It's amazing how many school websites have pages and pages of policies with just one text link through to an individual PDF file of a specific policy or report. Create a page that groups some of these together and put them all on one page. Better still create groups of documents that you embed into your pages so that everything is really easy to read within the page. You'll then be able to remove some of your pages and clean up your menus! If you don't have that technology available have a look at our Document Groups Manager.

Displaying Documents - Powered by Schudio CMS

b) Don't Let Policies & Reports Get in the Way!

They're compulsory pieces of information and they need to be really easy to find so that inspectors don't struggle. But day to day, inspectors aren't your primary audience; parents and prospective parents are! So create a navigation structure that does make these things easy to find. But don't let them take priority over key pages for your primary audience groups; Term Dates, Contact page, Latest News, Blog. All of these come before policies and OFSTED compliance because these needs come first. (That doesn't mean you're not meeting your requirements. You're just putting a bit of thought into which is more important for the vast majority of the time while making sure inspectors can find information that's important to them, when they want it.)

c) Think Wider than Policies & Reports

As the parent of a child with additional needs I know what I'm looking for on a school website. Your SEN report is one of those things. But I want to get a feel for your school and I want to know that your school is a good setting for my child. So instead of just putting your SEN policy on your policies page, why not create a separate page? One that tells me more about your school and how it's a great setting for my child? Then, why not include your SEN policy on that page as well so I don't have to go looking for it?

Maybe you're thinking that creates work! You've got to remember to update that policy in two different places when it changes? Well not if you're using our Document Groups Manager (see above!) That's because you simply upload a new policy when the time comes and our software will update it wherever you've put it, automatically!

That's just one example but do you see how you can be more creative about how you add content to your website when given the right tools?

Spruce it up!

The trouble with getting your school website OFSTED ready is that most of their requirements are deathly, deathly dull! Links to this, that policy over there! Most of the time it's information that just isn't accessed by most people. But it IS important and should be there for when it is needed.

But what if you want to spruce up the way you're meeting these requirements? Well here's a just a couple of things you can consider implementing across your school website to give it a bit of a lift.

a) Get some photos in there!

If you have someone in house then fantastic! If you don't, consider getting someone in every year or two to take a load of stunning photos. Then you can use those throughout the site to bring it to life a little. Even your policies page can be given a bit of a facelift by adding a nice photo at the top of the page, cropped so it's not too high. But put photos on your Welcome page including a photo of the Headteacher or Principal and throughout other key content.

b) Use Technology to MAKE IT WORK

Your current website provider should have some technology in place to make the management of your content incredibly easy! But they should also have things in place to make content such as your policies take a step up! More and more DfE requirements state they should be 'readily accessible'. This means you should be able to open the content without having to download anything else to view it. The Schudio Website software includes a feature that lets users view documents on any device, within the page, quickly and simply. All you do is upload your file and we'll do the rest. Ask your provider what they have in place to do the same thing.

Next Steps

So there's just a few tips to get you started with really nailing getting your School Website OFSTED Ready. But how can we help you more? Well make sure you've downloaded the very latest version of the OFSTED Ready School Website Guide first of all!

We also offer training on how to make your website compliant so do get in touch with us about that. We can also provide a full OFSTED Ready Website review for your website - get in touch to order that.

Or, maybe you're thinking of updating your website to make it so much easier to meet compliance. If you want to be kept up to date about all the very latest requirements before anybody else, talk to us about a software walkthrough. We'll chat through where you're at with your school website at the moment and how we can completely transform your site. We transfer all your content, offer responsive websites as standard and perform rigorous OFSTED checks as part of our set up process. We'll help you present your school in the very best possible light and ensure School Website is OFSTED Ready.

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