OFSTED Requirements For School Websites
Over the past few years, we've helped a few SEMH schools with getting online. SEMH schools (Social, Emotional & Mental Health schools) however independantly run are subject to the OFSTED Requirements For School Websites.
What your SEMH school website should look like.
SEMH and independent schools have a certain level of autonomy when it comes to how they’re run and the curriculum they teach, but all schools must have certain information contained within their website. There’ll also be things you simply want to display on your school website.
OFSTED Requirements For School Websites
If your school is subject to OFSTED inspections, you’ll definitely need to have the below list of requirements contained within your website. If you’re not inspected by OFSTED these items are still best practice when looking at what to include.
There are various requirements from the Government that must be included on a school website. They do vary depending on the type of school and the key stages they teach. All requirements can be found on the GOV.co.uk website but as a guide, we’ve listed some important points.
School contact details, including name, address, and phone number
Exam and assessment results
Special Education Needs (SEN) and disability information, including contact person
Governing body information and contact details
Year 7 catch-up programme information
Requests for paper copies
A full list can be found on GOV.co.uk and it’s worth noting that the requirements do change at times.
If you’re considering a new school website or updating your existing site, we can help. We can ensure everything that you need to include is present and demonstrated in an easy-to-read, attractive way. Give us a call or get in touch online.
What should be included on a SEMH school website?
Now we’ve seen what information should be included, we can look at how to present that to both potential and existing students and parents.
1. Up to date, professional photographs
When looking for potential schools, parents will look at school websites to get a feel of the school layout, the facilities and how happy the students look. By having professionally taken images on your website, you can show parents your school in that very light.
2. A video walkthrough/tour
Video tours have become increasingly popular; indeed, they were vital when restrictions meant prospective students couldn’t visit schools in person. They help to get a sense of the school layout and allow those watching to view all areas and see exactly what classrooms and dining halls etc look like. You’ll need a good videographer with 360-degree technology to produce a good, informative video tour.
3. Latest News section
By having a latest news area on your school website, you can show that your website is up to date. Potential parents and students will be able to see what kinds of things happen within school, e.g. fundraising events and sporting achievements. Current parents and students will enjoy a news section as they will be able to see images and reports of recent events that they may otherwise not have access to.
4. A school calendar or term dates area
A school calendar allows parents to access important dates quickly and easily. They may have received a newsletter containing these but having them published on your website means they have all the important school dates to hand. This also saves staff time as they won’t have to answer questions and queries so often.
5. An FAQs page
If you find that you’re receiving queries on the same topic, it means that the information either isn’t on your website or that it isn’t easily found. By putting any answers to regular questions on a frequently asked question page, you can provide the information quickly.
6. A contact form
Another way to cut down on admin time is to have a well-designed contact form. This makes it easier for parents to submit queries or relay information if the form is designed with the capability to notify a relevant department. Plus, it means they may get a reply much more quickly.
7. An informative ‘About our school’ page
Use your ’About us’ page to convey all the things that make your school stand out. From the school's history to the latest stand-out achievements of the school or individual students, you can really point out that your school is a great school to choose. You could have this written as the headteacher had written it or consider adding a note from the head to make your page more personal.
8. A dedicated careers area
A school website is often the first place potential staff will look. By having a dedicated section for careers, you can advertise current vacancies and showcase your school as a place of employment. Just like with your ‘About us’ page, this can convey what a great place your school is.
What makes a great school website?
The main thing you’ll want to look at for your school website is the ease of use. It’s likely there’ll be a lot of information contained within your website, therefore it’s vital to ensure the information is easily accessible with excellent navigation and well set out pages.
You’ll also want to consider good mobile responsiveness. Lots of parents will look to access information such as school calendars on the go, such as when they’re booking days off work or quickly accessing the latest news via a link in an email newsletter.
An eye-catching design is a must-have with clear branding. When parents are looking for potential schools, they’ll likely visit quite a few. By having clear branding and memorable design, they’ll remember which website, and therefore school, they liked best.
As with all websites, other things to consider are fast loading times, informative and engaging content, simple navigation, and search engine optimisation (SEO).
Looking for a new school website or to need to update an existing website in an affordable, approachable way? it’seeze Web Design Ashford is a Kent-based website design company that delivers professional web design to your specifications. Not sure if your website is working for you? We offer a free website audit that will ascertain the areas where improvements can be made. Call us today to create a school website that will truly showcase just how great your school is.
This article is brought to you from the desk of Nick Templeton, website consultant for it'seeze Ashford, Kent.
Nick is keen to see our clients with competition websites succeed! If you want to find out more about our web design services, feel free to contact us for more information.
Tagged as: Websites for Schools
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