school website design tips
More than ever, your school website is the single most important communication tool your school has. From engaging prospective and current parents to showcasing the school to prospective staff and the wider community it's vital that your school website is working as hard as possible for you. And that's without considering the statutory information you publish online and the degree of scrutiny which Ofsted will apply to your school website whilst considering an inspection or as part of the pre-inspection process.
We've put together some of the key things to consider when it comes to your school website design.
School Website Design Styles
It's important that your school website design reflects the ethos, values and personality of the school. Generally you can divide the design styles into three groups; formal, informal and illustrated.
- Typically secondary schools and some independent schools prefer the formal style whereas primary schools and nursery schools will often prefer an informal or illustrated style.
- A formal style is often associated with traditional fonts and colours or a clean and unfussy modern look. Informal styles tend to be characterised by more fun fonts, brighter colours and perhaps some additional imagery.
- Illustrated styles typically feature hand drawn elements such as landscapes, the local church or school building and animal or child cartoon characters.
There is no right or wrong design approach but to help you determine which style suits your school you can discuss this with one of our consultants or take a look through our extensive collection of examples of school website design.
Keeping your School Website up to date
A busy school office will often make multiple updates to the school website every day. So it's important that your school website is easy as possible to update, by anyone, anywhere. You're going to need training to get you started and be able to pick up the phone and speak to someone immediately if you need urgent help.
Our School Content Management System (CMS) has been designed specifically for schools and continuously improved and enhanced with schools direct feedback over the last 13 years. It allows any approved user to log in from anywhere via a web based interface to instantly update the school website. Our school website CMS is packed with time saving features and will be different to "normal" websites as these tools are built in as standard. We include:
- initial training,
- refresher training
- and unlimited support by phone and email from our friendly team based in Greenwich, London.
You can learn more about how our school website CMS can help your school on our CMS features page.
Responsive School Website Design
Responsive school website design is important to ensure that your school website visitors have a great experience when viewing your website from whichever device they happen to be using. Responsive websites will ensure that your visitors can quickly and easily find the information they need which will help encourage them to use the school website more often. This will benefit your school by saving you time providing repetitive information whilst also increasing your opportunities for communication and engagement.
All of our school websites are responsive as standard.
Ofsted and School Websites
You'll almost certainly be aware that there is a statutory duty to publish certain information on your school website. This is exactly the sort of information that Ofsted inspectors are required to check on the school website when they prepare for an inspection.
But ignoring the legalities, the first impression an inspector will form of your school will be based on desktop research using your school website. You've got to be honest, take a step back and consider the following:
- What kind of impression your school website design is creating for this important category of visitor?
- Is your website up to date?
- Is it easy on the eye and easy to navigate?
- Will your statutory information be easy to find or are you going to frustrate an inspector even before they arrive?
Fortunately we have a wealth of experience and tips to help you through this. You can also download our free Ofsted website checklist.
Integrate Social Media into your school website
It's likely that most of your parents will be using social media in one form or another. It's a massive opportunity for your school to reach out and engage with parents in a way that is convenient for them. Not only parents though, social media has a broad reach and you will find that your local community - councilors, churches, businesses will also be active on social media and interested in the good work your school is doing. It's a great idea to get out there and engage.
We can help you ensure that you social media feeds are prominently displayed and integrate into your website to make the most of this opportunity.
School Website Templates
Whilst the majority of the website we create are bespoke and designed after a detailed and careful discussion of your schools needs, not every budget can stretch to the cost of a bespoke school website design.
In this case, we have a selection of pre-designed website designs suitable for both primary school and secondary schools to choose from. You'll have all the benefits of our powerful, easy to use school website CMS, our training as well as our unlimited support.
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