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.
Of course, we must make sure that our school websites have reached full compliance as our main starting point. That we have met all the statutory school website requirements in 2021/22.
The very latest School Website Requirements Guide 2021/22 covers everything you need to know to get started. And, this guide is trusted by thousands of schools every year. It is your must-have resource to make your website fully compliant.
Our first job is to make sure this is covered. It has a direct impact on how an inspection will be framed. It's that important and has that much of an impact.
So, we cannot take our eye off the compliance ball.
BUT, more and more we need to be thinking beyond mere school website compliance. More and more there is an expectation that schools will have website compliance sorted.
It is no longer the case that if you have ensured that every requirement is adequately covered and everything is in place and easy to find, job done.
So, the expectation now is that schools will have everything in place but will now be using school websites for something much greater.
The focus now is one of best practice.
Take a moment to think about the SEND section on your school website. Your website will already be painting a picture of your approach to SEND. Here are a couple of polar pictures you may already be painting ...
Which of these do you think paints the best picture of your school? Well, the truth is that both parents and inspectors will view your content as an insight into how you approach SEND.
The decision is yours as to how you want your school to be presented to your parents and, by extension, inspectors.
Best practice means something very simple - evidence the impact of what you're doing in school. It doesn't have to be complicated or laborious but culturally, it is vital that we shift our culture to regularly sharing evidence that proves, wait for it ... "you are doing what you say you're doing."
Staying on the SEND track, if you say you foster a strong relationship with parents and involve them in every decision related to their child (which is so vital to do!), prove it. Drop news articles or blog posts or photos of this relationship at work. Share a text or video based testimonial from a parent sharing this experience.
Then, apply this to everything. Curriculum, Pupil Premium spending, Covid Premium spending, Safeguarding.
Get into the culture of using your website as the primary tool to share evidence of the amazing things you are already doing day to day.
So, what does the impact of this approach look like?
If you are regularly sharing evidence of how you are doing what you say you are doing there are two main impacts you will see.
1/ Inspectors, and the team that reviews your website and prepares a file for inspectors, will already have a picture of your school that they will simply want to check. They already have formed a view and gathered some initial evidence about your school and it is positive.
For example, you live in a community that means families need support getting students to experience anything beyond their immediate community. You have added information to your website that explains why you have spent Pupil Premium funding on minibuses and experiences for your students and then you regularly share photos, videos and stories of the impact of that spend on the lives, education, well-being and development of your students.
This is a real example of a school who is using a best practice approach to not only meet the statutory requirements but also share fantastic stories of the impact.
2/ Sticking with this example, what impact do you think this has on how the school is viewed within the local community? Especially with regards to attracting new parents.
What a powerful impact this can have! It's real, relevant, well thought out and speaks to the very specific need of the local community.
Our job as school website experts, is to make this process as easy as possible for you. It is why features such as blogs, news, policy management and photo galleries are all incredibly easy to use.
Your job is to figure out how you can establish a best practice culture of compliance. A great starting point is to start looking at each area of compliance on your website and look for opportunities to share how you are achieving this. The great news is you're most likely already doing this! You'll be sharing photos and stories directly with your parents 1-2-1 or via a parental engagement app. Start to think about how you can add this content to your website on a regular basis.
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