Using your school website to showcase student work
The school website is usually seen, first and foremost, as a place to pass on information. Whether for prospective parents or current parents and students, the website is certainly the first port of call for many. As it has open access for all it saves people having to remember the passwords of a learning platform or cloud storage to find school policies and timetable information – which means even current staff may use your website rather than logging on to other systems.
Having full screen photos and background videos is a popular element of many of our school website designs as you can see via our extensive portfolio. Parents love to see those photos and prospective parents and students get a great real and instant sense of the ethos, facilities and curriculum available to them. But how often do we change those main photos? Usually not too often after the design of the website. Yet photo galleries are hugely popular with parents.
Photo galleries help schools to share all manner of events such as World Book Day, school journeys, day trips, science week, sports day, and many more. Sometimes the photo galleries also include pictures of children’s work and displays. We love to see these, as do your students’ parents I am sure. Throughout the recent lockdowns these photo galleries, along with anything shared on other apps and platforms, have been the only window into school life that parents have had.
In which other ways could photos be used to help showcase student work in useful and meaningful ways?
One idea could be to add student work to a social media account, such as Twitter, and add a social media wall to your school website. This makes it easy to share with the wider community and feed this onto the school website for your local community. Share those achievements and successes with the world, even! Social media use is much more prevalent now and we see many schools sharing their students’ work and special days. Our social media wall popularity has grown massively over the years as schools embrace this technology to share beyond the school walls. The benefit of having this on your school website is that even those parents who do not use social media can still see the posts and information without needing an account themselves.
Another group of pages which particularly prospective parents like to look at are the curriculum pages where you detail your broad and balanced offering! Why not add some photos to these pages too which show some of the great work of your students? This can also help parents to see some examples of expected work for different year groups if you wish. Having photo galleries of writing showing the journey from Reception to Year 6 could be fascinating, for example, and really show the progress made in your school. Sharing pieces of work which the children are proud of in a gallery – including artwork and digital creations too – also evidence the learning from a broad range of subjects that children are offered at your school.
You might also want to add a page, or a page per class, to display some best pieces of work each week/month which could be aspirational for the students in the same way a Star Certificate often is. By highlighting a piece of work with a short caption or even a paragraph to explain the work and why this piece is so great (maybe for some children it is the culmination of a huge effort on their part) and also giving context around the stimuli and purpose will give parents a talking point. Imagine the conversation at a home: “Oh I saw a great piece of writing on the website this week from A, how did you find that topic? It says you were learning about the Romans, what can you tell me about them?”
Conversation starters from examples of work will no doubt engage parents and pupils and show the diverse range of work and students you have, all shining in different areas of the curriculum.
You may also want to allow some children to work together to update a set page of the website themselves. You can do this by allowing them edit rights on just that page with their own login – perhaps Digital Leaders or Prefects who can pass on useful information to others by adding news bulletins about the week at school.
There are lots of ways to showcase your students and their work on your website and we have covered just a few here. Let us know how you are using your school website in innovative ways!