Moving forward in the “new normal”
Whatever the “new normal” means it seems we are starting to be in it. After the initial phase of lockdown where we are just panicked a bit (please say it wasn’t just us?!) and did what we felt was right initially, we are all now upskilling and settling into some sort of routine. For many, especially teachers and school leaders across many countries, it must be like starting a whole new job. Part teacher, part social work, part caterer, part freelance resource creator. Whilst you likely do not feel settled into whatever the coming weeks may bring, we hope you are feeling a bit more in the driving seat of whatever choices and rotas your school has had to create for or with you.
We have steered away from any blogs which “promote” specifically our products and services at the moment as it felt right to let people breathe and take stock of their first steps. You may have noticed our last few blogs just focus on where we can help – home learning links and those kinds of things. However, we felt that maybe now is a good time to promote just those things we do which you may well find useful right now. No pressure but those of you who currently work with us may not have previously used the tools to their fullest, and many others may be unaware of how much value their school website and our services can offer at times like this. We wish this was not the event which led to your websites being used an awful lot more than usual but the fact is…it is and they are. If we can help augment that in any way which helps your school community then we will keep doing that.
Here are some of the key tools you may already have at your disposal, or which may cost a little bit extra but could be a lot cheaper than finding a whole new platform (not to mention the training needs and costs of that) if that is what you are searching for.
Our mobile apps
Our mobile apps do take a couple of weeks to get going but if you already have a website with us we can get them up and running fairly quickly. An app may be useful if this situation continues for long even if you have never used the school app before. Our apps are bespoke for your school and have a very low annual cost (just £95) after the initial set up so are not just for now but something you will have embedded and no doubt keep using going forward. The apps will be free for parents to download and enable them to keep in touch with your school updates easily. They can send push notifications when you have added a newsletter or new diary entries (for a live lesson call perhaps), or new links for home learning. Although the absence reporting section may not be useful for all pupils it may help you keep in touch with key workers or parents of vulnerable children so you know who to expect in school each day.
A school prospectus is becoming a priority for many schools we know as they look to a future with potentially no school visits. However, if you have had to cancel Open Days then an e-prospectus added to your website could help prospective parents to still look up information and get a feel for the school. This may be useful especially if lockdown does continue a while as we are aware many parents are concerned about their child starting a new school in September and they may worry that transition will be harder. Although we would usually like to send one of our photographers out to get wonderful new photos, which is obviously not possible at the moment, this is not essential if either you have lots of good photos already on your school website or which you can send to us directly.
A virtual tour
In a similar way to the school prospectus, a virtual tour can provide prospective parents with a tour of the school which may not be possible without school visits being on the cards. You can showcase your best facilities and learning spaces in high definition with our 360 degree virtual tours. It’s the next best thing to visiting the school – take a look at our example tour – they really are amazing. The best part is that we are able to create new virtual tours as they are usually shot without people present. So an empty school is perfect.
Our CMS is really easy to use – we promise!
A CMS (Content Management System) behind a website can seem like you need a degree in coding to navigate, but we have deliberately made ours as intuitive and easy to use as possible so that YOU are in the driving seat with your website content. This also helps to keep prices down for us and you as neither of us need to hire technical experts to add your content. This also means that if you would like to have more admins on your website right now we can help them to quickly get up to speed so that your updates to the school community do not all rest on the shoulders of one person. Get in touch if you feel you need extra support with this as we know that right now your website is a lifeline to many parents trying to educate from home and keep on top of news and updates.
We are aware that this time may seem overwhelming so we will be here to help with whatever you feel you need. Get in touch, we are ready to help (all from home and/or distancing from other staff!)