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.
Thankfully for us all, at the time of writing, this year has yet to see any significant changes in the school website requirements for the academic year 2021/22. But, there have been major shifts in the approach that is being taken day by day by inspectors.
This shift in gear is very much about the move from compliance to best practice.
We're all looking for quick actions we can take day to day that have a good impact. School website compliance is no different. As we seek to achieve best practice, below are the top actions we take as a team with all our clients. The impact is significant.
One of the most important things you can do to make sure you are always ahead of the compliance game is to run an audit, at least once a year. Carry out a full and robust audit of your content, its structure and ensure all your policy content meets the specific requirements.
That's your most fundamental school website action. Get ahead of things by planning to run your audits on a regular schedule. Of course, if that's simply something you don't have time to do drop us a line and ask us about our professional auditing services to help you take this vital next step.
It's so important to not work on your own. Someone must take ownership of your school website compliance but it is really too much for one person to deliver. What's more, you won't be able to move from compliance to best practice without the involvement of other people.
That means you should be looking for opportunities to include your teachers in sharing stories of impact through their class pages and blogs as a minimum.
But you can get others involved in your compliance monitoring as well. Using a school website software platform such as Schudio's CMS will give you some powerful options. With the ability to share the burden of reviewing policies and updating content you don't need to carry this entirely on your own.
Lots of schools still use a variety of options to display their compliance content. PDFs, Word Docs, webpages. All of these are valid ways to display content. But, you must choose a single option when it comes to displaying your policies. It is confusing for users when there is a variety of options employed. Choose one option and stick with it.
The Schudio CMS offers a powerful solution to ensure you don't have multiple versions of each policy but just one. It offers expiry/review dates and options to embed on any page of your website.
Every conversation we have with inspectors, school and Trust leaders about their recent experiences point towards this focus. There is a significant focus on the need for schools to demonstrate, through their websites, that you are doing what you say you're doing. But, even more so as of very recently, there is an expectation that you will make it very clear via your website what you are doing.
See the shift there?
No longer is a checklist the focus.
No longer is a tertiary nod to evidence good enough.
Schools need to think strategically about what they are delivering to their school community, share that on their website and then, prove it. Evidence it. Share the impact.
Is that what you're using your website for right now? If not, think about how you can dive deeper into your website so you are more strategic in your approach.
Talk to us if you don't know where to start.
Finally, to reaffirm everything we've said here, try to think about your website role as more than a checklist job. Try to think of it as more of an aspirational tool that genuinely helps you demonstrate what you're doing so well, every single day in school.
The job doesn't need to be laborious; you're very likely to already be doing the vast majority of the work to achieve this level. The change required, most often, is in how everything fits together and understanding that your website provides your single, greatest opportunity to paint your school in the best, most accurate and rich picture. There is no other tool that provides this opportunity.
That's why we love school websites and why we love helping schools achieve so much more.
Simply add your email and you'll get expert advice weekly, direct to your inbox.