5 ideas to make the most of your trust website

A multi-academy trust website is the ideal way to help visitors navigate between your different school websites, as well as giving important information from a trust level. This helps to support staff, parents and students alike. Whether you are an established MAT with lots of schools, a soft federation of just 2 schools, or anything in between, a trust website can help to build unity, cohesion and shared values whilst preserving the individuality of each of your schools too.

Trust sites are usually run by a central person or team, but, due to the way that our page permissions adjust for different user types, the whole trust community can take part in updating and adding to the website. Many hands make light work to ensure you always feel in control without the weight of responsibility falling on your shoulders alone!

If you are currently struggling to find the perfect way forward for your trust website, rest assured that we have worked with many trusts in the past and continue to work with them in whichever way works best for them, to ensure that your website meets your individual, team, and wider community needs. 

We have gathered together some examples to show you from our current trust websites to show that there are many ways to create a smooth experience for all users. From what to add; to design choices; to strategic decisions on the direction of future MAT trajectories; we are here to help guide and advise you along the way. We are sure you can imagine what that may look like once you have a look at the following examples to give you some initial ideas. 

Consistency married with individuality

One key decision trusts have to make is to decide on the level of consistency versus autonomy within their trust. And this impacts on many areas across your schools, as you know. The trust and school websites will at some point be part of that conversation. For the Schoolsworks Academy Trust we created a design which is replicated across the homepage of each of the individual schools’ websites. You will notice that the Quick Links on the left hand side, and the Social Media tab on the right hand side, are also featured on each of the Our Schools websites within the trust, which are all linked from one webpage on the trust website. 

Schoolsworks website design

The trust website features counters on the homepage which show how many schools, pupils, staff and families are being supported by the trust. In the same position on each school website there is a quote from a recent Ofsted report relevant to the respective school. This continues to show the impact of the trust but within the context of the individual school. 

The key features and design elements of the websites are consistent but you will notice that the colours change for each school website, which fits in with their school logo and also adds the splash of individuality to each school. More importantly, past the branding items, each school has differences in their pages and menu structures which best serve their individual community. This helps to ensure that each school can meet the needs of their families whilst still clearly showing that they are part of the wider trust – and each site links to the trust site through the carefully placed logo at the top of each site. On a more fun note you will also see that some of the schools are using our seasonal effects – showing even more opportunity for each school to make their own mark on their website as these are controlled at individual school level.

United and unique branding

Net Academies Trust have chosen a design for their trust website which incorporates each school logo prominently on the homepage. The logos show that each school has their own logo but these have been designed to have consistency also and are combined in a design which shows how integral they are to each other. The honeycomb makes us think of teamwork and supporting each other with a strong structure within the MAT. 

Multi Academy Trust website design

The honeycomb design continues onto each school website but the text within the honeycomb is chosen by each school to represent the values most important to them and also to navigate to their chosen priority pages, all based on their own community and those things which they are most proud of within their school. 

Everyone under one website umbrella

Tolworth School Federation is a really interesting example of a website which is designed to feel as one – with the schools and federation each represented within the easy navigation of the header of the homepage. Although there are mini sites for each school, with their own menus, diary dates and news items included, the website feels like it is one community combined under one umbrella. As a federation, or for a small MAT, this is a great way to show cohesion and to also manage the websites within a smaller team. 

Support and reinforce your vision

The Inspire Learning Partnership website is a really strong example of a standalone trust website which has links to all the schools and their work as a trust, but also serves to really share information and values with the whole community – putting the trust’s best foot forward. 

MAT website design

The individual schools are featured, of course, but the website also draws attention to the trust as a whole with a focus on the driving forces, ethos, and structure of the central team and governance. 

A sense of unity

The North Cornwall Learning Trust website design shows very clearly the place of the schools within the trust and the structure of the trust and is a great central place to go for information and to navigate to the individual schools’ websites. NCLT have chosen not to redesign each school website as these are each being managed by different companies, but they use their trust website to aggregate the links to these and to provide other trust-related information. This means that each school website looks quite different, but their website design creates cohesion for the trust.

Trust website design

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