Developing Schools' Online Presence

Posted by Colin Green on 16 October
Developing Schools' Online Presence

In my role I work with people in schools, organisations and institutes up and down the country discussing and supporting them in the best way to design and structure their sites to meet their specific requirements. It’s a real pleasure to see the outcomes of such work and I’m fascinated by the variety of sites that are produced. My frustrations are quite simple and are twofold. Firstly I don’t get to see all the good stuff that’s out there, especially where I’m not involved and secondly I often start a project off but don’t necessarily get to see it through to its conclusion as I hand back to the owners to take it forward.

Here, however, is a sample of schools I’ve had the chance to work with in recent times.

 

St Barnabas C.E. Primary, Worcester
 

Life site of St Barnabas CE Primary, Worcester

Although I worked with the school in the early stages of planning and we tried out a variety of themes and approaches, most of the work was carried out by the school over an extended period of time. The school spent a lot of time discussing not only its appearance, but how it was going to work for them and who was going to be responsible for different aspects. This was certainly time very well spent as they clearly developed a shared understanding of exactly what was wanted.

I love the simplicity of the homepage. It’s clear and clean looking. The large buttons certainly display well on tablets and mobile devices, which was an important requirement for the school. Key information is easy to find and site navigation clear. I really like the class page, which is built to a template. Links to well used resources are clear for children, though some of these require login. I can’t wait to see the class blogs develop.

Most of St Barnabas’s site is publicly viewable, so you can look around it to find your own ideas.

 

Park Lane Primary and Moorlands Primary, Reading
 

These are two schools I worked with closely as they migrated their content from our previous site to a new Life site. The sites are similar in approach but obviously themed differently to match their particular identity.

The Life site of Park Lane Primary School, Reading
Park Lane Primary School

The Life site of Moorlands Primary School, Reading
Moorlands Primary School

Their use of an animated gif to show different photos gives visitors a great impression of life in the school. The front page is not too busy and gives access to key information easily. The use of scrolling text in the important notices section enables parents to access emergency and important notices without the need to login or search through the site.

The schools took advantage of a shared training package which was really efficient for both the schools and for me. They didn’t do joint training which could have been an option but shared the days and I travelled between the two schools which was easy enough to do given their proximity.

 

Northleigh Primary School, Malvern
 

Northleigh are another school that transferred from their exisiting platform.

They were previously very good users of a learning platform and were using online tools as part of their teaching and learning provision, so it was important to be able to maintain this, but also to use the transfer to the new site as an opportunity to refresh and reconsider practice. One of our key objectives was to maintain quality whilst ensuring manageability as well as establishing consistency of practice between classes and year groups. I think this has been well achieved through their agreed template which will be further developed over time to ensure that provision is age appropriate and there is increased engagement of pupils and parents.

The life site of Northleigh CE Primary School, Malvern

The site has a very simple approach of providing two distinct pathways. The Learning Platform is secure and requires login whilst the About Us provides a public web front end that includes all the statutory requirements as well as a great insight into the school.

If you want to know more about these schools or how you can develop your school website or learning platform please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Tags: communication parental engagement school promotion

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