September 2019 – latest statutory and Ofsted school website requirements
There’s good news this year – the statutory school website requirements have not changed since October 2018. So if you were compliant last year you will already be familiar with the statutory information required. But don’t forget to keep your statutory information up to date!
Before we get into the detail, we’ve updated our checklist for 2019/2020 with all the current school website requirements – you can receive a free copy from our website.
Whilst the statutory requirements have not changed, Ofsted have updated their inspection handbook in line with the new Education Inspection Framework for schools from September 2019. In some ways, these updates are rather helpful in that they remove the requirement for the inspector to check for specific information. Guidance is now more general in that:
the lead inspector will review and consider relevant publicly available information such as the school’s website
At this point in the inspection handbook, schools are referred to the statutory guidance on what schools must publish online on the DfE website. So reading between the lines, the takeaway here is that, unsurprisingly, Ofsted will be reviewing your school website prior to inspection and will take note of any failure of statutory duties. This position is essentially unchanged from the previous inspection framework.
As part of the “before the inspection” section of the handbook, schools are advised that:
Ofsted will report on any failure to comply with statutory arrangements when they form part of the inspection framework and evaluation schedule, including those relating to the workforce
As this is happening before the inspection, this judgement will be formed largely from information available on the school website.
Given the new focus on curriculum, you may find our blog post “Featuring your school curriculum for Ofsted” useful.
Your website can trigger an inspection
Good, Outstanding and Exempt schools may be inspected between risk assessments if:
concerns are identified about the curriculum (including if the statutory requirement to publish information to parents is not met)
Given one of the main focuses of the new inspection framework is on the curriculum this makes sense. Your website will be the place Ofsted look to determine statutory compliance.
School Website Requirements Action Plan
Your school website is a crucial source of information for inspectors as well as having to contain certain information by law. It’s hard to overstress how important meeting these statutory website requirements is. Our suggested action plan would therefore be:
- Get a copy of our checklist
- Check your website
- Remember to check not just that the information is present but also check it’s up to date
- Pay particular attention to information about your curriculum
- Take a step back and consider how easy your statutory information would be for a busy inspector to find
If you need any help, or just a second opinion, why not ask us for a free audit of your school website?