Outstanding schools need outstanding website content

When Blue Apple Education designs and builds new websites for schools, teachers often ask us for advice on the content. Items such as contact details, school hours and term dates are quite obvious, but what else do parents and pupils expect?

What’s the best content a school can add to demonstrate how great they are? A school also has to take into account the Department of Education’s requirements and information regulations and these should not be overlooked when aiming to attain Good or Outstanding Ofsted reports.

Starting with the Department of Education, it is worth knowing that from September 2012 regulations no longer required schools to publish a prospectus or have a curriculum policy, thus avoiding duplication of effort, and unnecessary cost. Instead, schools are now required to publish key information online. The key information that is required is listed below:

  • Pupil Premium allocation, use and impact on attainment
  • You will need to show your school’s spending plans for the current year. You also need a statement confirming allocation and how the money was spent and the impact this had on educational attainment for the previous year.
  • Curriculum provision, content and approach, by academic year and by subject
  • This includes details of GSCE options and other qualifications at Key Stage 4, plus your approach to reading and if reading is taught through systematic synthetic phonics (primary schools). It also includes details of your reading schemes (KS1)
  • Admission arrangements
  • You will need to state your current published admission number and details of your admission arrangements, plus the school’s process for applications through the local authority. Don’t forget to include your selection and oversubscription criteria.
  • The school’s policy in relation to behaviour, charging, and SEN and disability provision
  • Outline when the school will make charges for school activities and visits and how much these charges are likely to be. Information on your behaviour policy is required and your school’s arrangements to support pupils with SEN and disabilities.

Links to Ofsted reports and to the Department’s achievement and attainment performance data; and details of the school’s latest Key Stage 2 and 4 attainment and progress measures.

For more information from the DofE about their school website requirements, please visit The Department of Education’s website, please click here.

Non-essential but useful material such as newsletters, diary dates, calendar of events and uniform (and where to purchase it) will make your website not just a marketing tool, but a valuable resource for parents.The internet is usually the first place a parent will look for up to the minute information, so your website should have an announcements area to alert parents to last minute changes or events.

It is always good to keep adding new content to your school website to keep it fresh and to encourage visitors to return. This will also improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) ratings and, with time, make you more findable on search engines. The new content should be articles about recent activities at the school and pupil achievements. Galleries are always popular – pictures of happy pupils engrossed during lessons and on trips always impress parents looking for a new school to send their children. Blogs are always useful and you could encourage your staff, students, governors and parents to submit their ideas. These blogs don’t have to be long and will show enthusiasm from your staff or be a lovely incentive for children to have their amazing piece of school-work published on the school website for their parents to see.

Your school website could soon become a buzzing hive of activity. It is essential to make it user-friendly and easy to navigate. It should be laid out in a way that all the information is easy to find and still attractive and professional. A cluttered, out-of date-website, that exasperates the user will give the impression that your school is just the same. So, ask yourself – are you proud of your school website? Does it reflect all the good work that you have achieved in your school? Does it give all necessary and key information? If the answer is no, perhaps it is time for a new website.

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If you want to find out how Blue Apple Education can help you unearth the remarkable in your school you can call us on +44 (0) 330 223 0766 or email us hello@blueappleuk.com

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