We have worked with many Trusts over the past few years who want to create a multi academy Trust website design. A design that works for all of the schools within their Trust. A design that introduces a Trust identity and presence online, communicated through all of their school websites. We have some helpful advice, based on our experiences, to help you navigate towards this goal.
Why choose a multi academy Trust website design?
Let's briefly look at why this is a good idea. As I mentioned previously a multi academy Trust website design is a great way to achieve a consistent look and level of quality in all the websites in your Trust. When we are working with Trusts we often take time to look through the sites we are moving over. There is often an array of different designs and nothing that really ties these schools back to the Trust. Perhaps if you look hard enough you will find a Trust logo or page buried deep within the menu structure.
A standard design for all the schools within your Trust allows you to guarantee the Trust brand is present on all of your websites. However the school have the opportunity to celebrate their identity too within the content, colour choices and graphic work.
How to manage your multi academy Trust website design process
If you have decided to go ahead and create a new design for the Trusts within your school, the scale of this task will vary depending on the number of schools you have within your Trust. And where you are in your journey as a Trust. We will be on hand as the experts to guide you through the process.
Choose the right team
The multi academy Trust website design team is very important. We highly recommend choosing a team who are able to make decisions on behalf of the schools and the Trust. The very best teams are small with individuals that collaborate well together. This allows opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and review concepts together in a constructive way that keeps the project progressing. The more opinions to consider the harder it is. Momentum can be lost on the project if there are too many people involved or if you ask for feedback from all the schools. This results in a lot of opinions to consider. Often strong opinions.
Your team should have a vision that includes overhauling and making a brand new design. Not simply cutting various bits from the designs of your current sites. We are looking for big leaps forward in your website designs. This is very hard to achieve while considering every schools opinion.
Another reason why your team should include the decision maker is because it is a process with lots of approving and feeding back on designs. If we have to talk to a person who then has to talk to another person, perhaps SLT, the process can become very long. It would be better if the person who has the final say is our contact for the project.
It is important to communicate the expectations you have about your multi academy Trust website design straight away. Whether it is preferences on appearance or elements to be included in the design, its helpful to have as much information as you have available to create your initial concepts. The more we know about your preferences, the closer we will be with our initial concepts.
A great idea is to keep a note of other websites that you like and why you like them. Don't restrict your search to school sites. If you like elements from websites outside of the education sector keep a note of them too. This will give us a helpful steer when creating your design.
Be strategic with your content
Transferring the content of the sites is a little different when it comes to a multi academy Trust project. The first thing to establish is whether you want to implement a set structure for each of the websites within your Trust. Do you want the navigation to be identical? Or just the design? It varies from Trust to Trust. It may depend on whether your Trust includes different phases of education or any specialist schools. Whatever your decision, its helpful to decide this before we transfer the content for you so your initial previews are in the correct content structure.
A great feature available within the Schudio software is shared document groups. They will allow Trusts to create a group of documents and share them throughout all of your academy sites. This allows the Trust to keep control over statutory and Trust policies. Therefore the can ensure they are always up to date on their academy sites. Make sure you speak to your Schudio contact about this during the discussion about your content to ensure this is all set up on your sites.
Training is important for anyone who will be involved in the administration of the new site. We have delivered training to Trusts in two ways - a central Trust training session or online via our learning platform SchudioTv. Either of these options will ensure all who attend or complete the training are able to manage the day to day tasks that are required to maintain an informative and engaging site.
The number of people at each school who need the training may determine your decision about training options. For example, if all your teachers should complete training it might be best to do the training online so they can do it at their own pace (and you wont have to arrange cover for them all!)
Check out our Trust designs
Moving all of your schools to a single Trust wide website design can certainly be a big task. There are a lot of things to consider with regards to the design, content and current site contracts. However the results are always amazing! Why not take a minute to look at some of the beautiful multi academy Trust website designs we have already created.