School website accessibility and why it’s so important

Your school website is the number one portal for all your school community. It is the place your parents, prospective parents, students and employees all think of as their first port of call. That includes everyone. Schools are places of inclusion by their very nature, or they should be. Your school website accessibility is just as vital a consideration to ensure that you are inclusive in all areas of your work. It's vital that accessibility is a core part of any school website design.

But, how does your website fit into your overall culture of inclusion? What does that look like and how do you achieve it?

In this blog, we're going to answer all these questions.

Accessibility and Your School Website

Schools are places where we aim to ensure every child is able to reach their full potential. Very often, the standards that are set in schools, don't translate to the standards achieved on a school's website. And, that's true whether online learning is your focus or not.

It's vital to do all we can to set a very high standard of accessibility in every area of school life. We need to do this consistently and your school website is one of these areas. It is no exception.

What are the legal requirements for School Website Accessibility?

The goal is to ensure that anyone, no matter the ability, is able to engage with and understand your content. There is no room or excuse for exclusion of any person because of disability or diverse need. And, as public bodies, schools are legally required to meet the latest standard of accessibility.

"The accessibility regulations came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018. They say you must make your website or mobile app more accessible by making it ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.' You need to include and update an accessibility statement on your website." (See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessibility-requirements-for-public-sector-websites-and-apps)

But, there are exceptions to this with specific regard to schools ...

"The following organisations are partially exempt from the accessibility regulations:

... primary and secondary schools or nurseries - except for the content people need in order to use their services, for example, a form that lets you outline school meal preferences
Partially exempt organisations would need to publish an accessibility statement on their website or mobile app."

It's not straightforward, is it? School websites need to be accessible but, perhaps they don't.

Because we're all about best practice and working on the assumption that we want to be accessible and inclusive, what can we do to make is so that we ARE accessible? How do we achieve that?

What does an Accessible School Website look like?

The great news here is that there are tools that help us achieve fully accessible school websites. We don't need to worry about building and writing everything we do in specific formats to work. Tools such as UserWay do a lot of the heavy lifting for us.

So what does an accessible school website look like?

"It’s common for modern web developers to be aware of how to satisfy the requirements of vision and hearing-impaired students. Screen readers and video captioning have become common and are often the first requirement on the checklist of most schools. But there’s a lot more when it comes to making your school website fully accessible.

School Website Accessibility

For example, some students may not be using a mouse due to a physical disability. Visual flare such as animated graphics or moving quickly might be aesthetic to able-bodied individuals but may impede those with a visual or learning disability. Providing users with fillable forms may sound like a good idea, but they are a common source of frustration for students who cannot use their assistive technologies with inaccessible web forms.

To ensure all students can access your website, it’s important to think ahead and eliminate any obstacles by taking into account the entire spectrum of disabilities. If your site isn’t as accessible as it can be, it may not be fully compliant."

(See https://userway.org/blog/your-guide-to-accessibility-in-education/ for more information)

How Schudio Helps Schools become Accessible

All school websites built by Schudio include the UserWay app as standard. This means that visually impaired, blind, mobility-impaired or those with situational disabilities can use all Schudio School Websites with ease.

This is achieved by providing user controls for Contrast, Highlighted Links, Text Size and Spacing Controls pausing of animations to remove distractions, Cursor Size Control and lots more.

All websites include the ability for Screen Reader and the pre-built accessibility functions within the Schudio CMS work seamlessly with this to ensure the best possible experience for anyone.

So, all of this means that the highest standards of school website accessibility are employed across the board on every single Schudio school website.

Join Our Newsletter

Simply add your email and you'll get expert advice weekly, direct to your inbox.

Previous Post Old Entry

Share this article:


Next Post New Entry
WordPress Lightbox Plugin