One of the most time-consuming elements of your school website compliance will be auditing it to ensure it meets Ofsted requirements. Here at Schudio, we get asked lots of questions about the best way to audit your website. One of the best ways is to use our School Website Requirements Guide whilst working through your website. So, in this blog, we'll have a look at some tips for completing an audit and ultimately how to keep on top of them so your compliance doesn't slip.
Content that is easy to find
Did you know that Inspectors look less favourably on websites that aren't clearly laid out and where content isn't easy to find? We hear phrases such as 'hard to navigate', 'not really selling your school' and 'buried information'. Now, we know that your school websites don't exist for Ofsted Inspectors. Your website is there for parents, potential parents and indeed potential staff members. Users should be able to find what they want within a couple of clicks of the mouse.
Schudio Tip: Get a friend or a colleague at another school to look at your website. Ask them if they found it easy to find a specific piece of information or document.
Keep policies up to date
This is one of the most common errors I find when doing pro-audits on school websites. You'd be surprised (or maybe not!) at the number of times I've seen policies that are out of date or not relevant any more and yet they are still on the school website. This is something that raises needless questions. It isn't good enough to have an up-to-date policy in the school office and not have it online. Ensure you reference any legislation in the introduction to the policies.
Schudio Tip: If you're a Schudio client you have the option within the software to set expiry dates on policies so that you're notified when you need to review them.
Curriculum backed up with evidence
As you will know, one of the changes with the new inspection framework is a new focus on the curriculum and the impact of it. You should have already published on your website the curriculum content as that is one of the DfE requirements. How you present this is up to you as a school but ensure it's up-to-date and includes the content of the curriculum not just topic titles. One of the best ways of evidencing your curriculum is to show it on your website. Your curriculum map/plan should tell the content and then you should show that in practice by adding photos to your class page or curriculum page to evidence what has been taught.
Schudio Tip: Use your class blog to evidence the impact of the curriculum through photos and encouraging the children to write content to go with the blog.
It always amazes me that this isn't one of the main requirements to publish safeguarding information. However, a pre-inspection plan will involve checking for safeguarding guidance on your website and that you have a policy and it is updated annually (as a minimum). Create a specific safeguarding page that includes all this information. Link to external e-safety websites and publish helpful parental documents.
Schudio Tip: Add safeguarding as a top menu item to highlight the importance of it in your setting.
This is really important. If you are auditing your website make sure you don't just tick things off because you can see it sitting on your website. If it's a document or policy, make sure you open it and check the information that's in there. Make sure the headteacher's name is the current headteacher! If you're not sure if an area is a compliant mark it as not and perhaps ask a colleague to check it with you.
There's no hiding away from the fact that auditing your school website is time-consuming and you'll end up with a list of actions. However, it's one of the most important things to do as Inspectors will visit it prior to any inspection and is the first 'window' that they will get from your school. If you don't have the time we offer a pro-audit service which will provide you with a fully actionable report for your website compliance. Another option available to you is the compliance software. This is quite simply, the most effective and cost-efficient way to ensure your school website reaches and maintains 100% compliance all year round. It would be great to hear how you get on with auditing your website and if you have any questions please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org