Trust us for your trust-wide school websites
When you are looking after a multi-academy trust of schools, no matter how large or small, there are always discussions around which elements of school management are decided at school level, and which are best organised from the central team. There might even be times where you want to spread the load and allow autonomy, but also make use of economies and efficiencies of scale.
When we work with multi-academy trusts we are always keen to find out what the pain points are around the school websites. Often there can seem to be a dichotomy between the needs of the school to update and have control of their website, and the needs of the trust to ensure some consistency across all schools. Consistency can help when staff are moving between schools, especially, as they can find things easily if they know where they will be on the website.
Functionality, navigation, and core pages of each website being agreed across the trust can also make it easier when Ofsted wants to do an inspection in one of the schools or at the trust level. Having a consistent design across all schools can also prove an efficient way to raise awareness of the trust brand.
However, we have many trusts who work with us to ensure their schools also retain their own identity, alongside the trust branding, and they keep their individuality and personality. This especially helps where schools within a trust are serving very different communities, or when trusts have a big mix of secondary, primary, nursery, special and a mix of independent and state schools to consider. One size does not fit all in these circumstances, but we can ensure the right pages and the CMS (Content Management System) allows for the consistency which makes the websites easy to manage and use.
In one such example, we worked closely with the David Ross Education Trust to design 11 secondary school, 23 primary school websites, and the trust website. We delivered this brief within 8 weeks through careful communication with the trust and efficient planning from our project managers.
The problems the trust had been facing included limited CMS functionality for schools, poor user experience for staff and parents, and the inability to manage certain content across the trust’s websites. We were happy to work with the trust to ensure that these previous pain points were resolved with our suite of websites for their schools. Rollout to the schools included agreement on lead school websites for both primary and secondary designs, and these were then replicated across the schools with the content for each school added by our team.
Of course the handover of such a project included clear training for staff at each of the schools – as we know this is the key to ensuring school websites can be easily updated and kept fresh.
We designed templates which showcase the trust logo and links which are relevant to every school, and also gave each school a design and the content they needed for their school. Although this can be complex, we think that a job such as this is worth doing well. Schools are short of time and money so it is vital that we understand their pressures and seek to alleviate any possible stress in the process.
Some trusts like to keep the same colours across all websites in the group, whereas others might allow schools to keep their individual colours prominent in the design. Whichever is your preference we are able to work with you to balance the needs of the trust with the needs of each school. We do not see these projects as working with one customer, but working with a whole team of customers who each have their individual personalities, alongside a desire to work together to benefit their communities.
If you put your trust* in our hands – we will not let you down!
*pun intended. Sorry.