Wondrous Websites in a Wayward World

Do you remember when you thought ‘Zoom’ was just a word the children would say when playing with spaceships? When remote learning was confined to Open University courses, and blended learning meant reciting times tables while doing star jumps? What we knew in 2019 seems a very distant memory and our lexicon has evolved in 2020.

This is not the year any of us planned for. Yet look at how well we are adapting to it. Communities have pulled together to support the vulnerable. Schools have been meeting the needs of their students throughout lockdown (not school closure no matter what the media may tell you!) and then through a difficult transition, and now leading students through another lockdown. ‘Unprecedented’ is the word of the year. And, although there has not been much sport on this year, we are all crossing fingers for Marcus Rashford winning Sports Personality of the Year.

So much is looking so different – who would have thought in 2019 that Strictly Come Dancing 2020 would involve so much use of the word ‘bubble’ without it being followed by the word ‘machine’?!

Websites are no longer a new idea and certainly have not been for many years, but I think many people are seeing that a website may well deliver far more than we previously thought too. The websites we thought were just for businesses have now expanded to provide home schooling, family quiz nights, and vital catch ups with distant relatives and friends. Other websites have offered us home deliveries, albeit with a midnight online grab for available slots. Some local businesses have turned to their websites for the first time to provide click and collect services.

Apps which previously provided our children with a little distraction while we cook tea have also evolved into vital components of home school. The CBeebies website has never been so active at our house!

Even those of us who love technology (some might call us a bit geeky even!) did not anticipate spending so much time staring at the computer screen while our children played next to us and we attempted, for the 30th time that day, to ask them to please do some of the home learning their teacher has lovingly set for them. (With mixed success I am afraid…sorry teachers!)

With the announcement of another lockdown across England we know that this will now feel a bit like a never-ending roller coaster. Unfortunately we do not have the controls of that one, but we do want to reassure you that we see the amazing work you are doing, and we are doing all we can to help along the way in any small way we can.

Your school website has likely had way more traffic this year than ever before. Replacing the “Welcome to the School” messages have been links to learning platforms, vital COVID updates, and downloads to keep children busy and learning while parents work from home. 

We have adapted with your websites to ensure your parents and students always have access to this important information. We have been keeping an eye on your website traffic to ensure no ‘down time’ when parents were all checking the site at once. Usually this type of usage is limited to the occasional snow day. Yet with the speed the Department for Education has been updating documents, we know that your school website needs to take the strain.

Still you have kept moving forward and innovating with your school websites and learning tools in a way which you hadn’t previously needed to. We have also been adding some functionality that we always loved but not as many schools were using previously.

Our virtual open day options – with virtual tours, drone footage, and interactive campus maps – have helped many schools to offer prospective parents new ways to view the school from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Our mobile apps have been upgraded. These school apps enable you to keep parents up-to-date with news and other information via push notifications straight to their mobile phone. Parents can also sign for their child’s absence and add information vital for the school office, saving them lots of time each day on phone calls.

Our school photography has still continued with new measures and options in place so that new school websites are not delayed from launching at a time when they are more vital than ever.

Our school video team have been extremely busy heaving their cameras up and down the country and editing long into the night producing amazing videos to showcase the school.

Our CMS (Content Management System) has had new features added making it even easier for schools to update their website quickly whenever new information comes in, allowing you to be flexible and agile in the face of constant change.

We know that you may have previously only looked at your school website once in a blue moon. It’s OK we forgive you! But if you now find it is being used much more than before we are here to help you ensure it is the best experience for your parents, as well as being really easy to update for you.

Please just give us a call or drop us an email if you’d like any support from the team.

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