ENSURE YOUR SCHOOL WEBSITE IS OFSTED READY. You are almost certainly aware of the basic guidelines provided by Ofsted and the DfE last year, regarding statutory information to be published on school websites. But are you aware that your website will be the first port of call by an inspectorate before any inspection takes place. So examining in detail exactly what is required and ensuring that you are making the right impression should be a priority. Notwithstanding all the other tasks needing to be undertaken at such a time, we think it better to be prepared well in advance. Of course a school website is much more than satisfying a set of designated criteria. It offers the opportunity to tell the story of your school and make an immediate positive impact upon your audience and the stakeholders of your school and to be able to interact with them in many different ways. Our service is specifically geared to support schools in what might seem a mammoth task, ensuring their website is properly structured in style and content and ‘Ofsted Ready’, providing the constant support and training that will undoubtedly be needed. Please click on ‘drop down’ bars below for full lists or view examples of structured websites that meet the criteria. Schools Website Page
Ofsted Statutory Requirements for School WebsitesThe following points are deemed as ESSENTIAL by Ofsted in terms of publication upon your school website and those marked with an asterisk* are REQUIRED BY LEGISLATION to be published online. We have taken a long hard look at some of the Ofsted statutory requirements for school websites in terms of content and layout considering how information can be effectively arranged. Incorporating all Ofsted statutory and desirable elements, makes for quite a comprehensive site. Satisfying these requirements is not simply a question of content but also a matter of layout and navigation. Please take a look at the basic list of Ofsted statutory requirements for school websites and our recommendations below in these considerations by clicking on the appropriate bars below. All our websites meet these rules, whilst at the same time going much further in terms of functionality, with the appropriate allocation and prioritisation of information. Please view our Website Portfolio here.
1) A domain name that makes sense to visitors.
2) Contact details, with a link on EVERY page to the Contact Us section.
3) Include the Headteacher’s name including their first name or initial.
4) A statement about the school’s vision. Its aims and values and ethos. This might be accompanied by a visual depiction of your school’s vision.
5) Term dates for the next two years.
6) Times of school day, lessons and assemblies.
7) A link to your Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) with instructions to get a parent password.
8 A link to the entry on the DfE COMPARE SCHOOLS.
9) Publish and archive your newsletters and letters to parents.
10) Include a link to PARENT VIEW using a PICTURE LINK. GET PICTURE LINK HERE
11)* Inlcude a link to Ofsted Reports and achievement and attainment performance data.
12)* Include details of curriculum provision, content and approach by YEAR and by SUBJECT.
If applicable include details of GCSE options and other qualifications offered at Key Stage 4)
13)* Include your approach to the teaching of reading, including whether reading is taught through systematic synthetic phonics. (primary schools)
14)* Include details of your reading schemes. KS1
15)* Publish the school’s arrangements to support pupils with SEN and disability.
16)* Publish full details of admissions arrangements, including your selection and oversubscription criteria, statement of your current published admission number (PAN) and the school]s process for applications through the local authority.
17)* Give details of all the circumstances under which the school will make charges and levels of such charges for school activities and school visits.
18)* Charging and Remissions information, (the circumstances under which you will make charges and the levels of such charges).
19)* Give details of PUPIL PREMIUM allocation and plans to spend in the current year. For the previous year, a statement confirming allocation and how the money was spent and the impact this had on educational attainment.
POLICIES to be published
20)* Behaviour Policy (including the GB’s statement of principles which informs that policy).
21) Complaints Policy
N.B. These Ofsted requirements we believe to be correct at the time of publication 2013, but changes may occur in which case we will endeavour to update this blog.
Ofsted Desirable Elements for School Websites1) Name of school secretary or whoever will answer the phone.
2) Names of staff, including teachers, teaching assistants, midday supervisors, caretaker, with responsibilities (Head of Y6, SENCO, Science Coordinator).
3) Map showing location, and directions, especially if parking or access are complicated.
5) Events calendar.
6) Your twitter feed, if you have one.
7) After school clubs, and extra curricular activities.
8) Sporting fixtures.
9) Uniform list, with contact details for local suppliers (& downloadable order form).
10) Downloadable permission slips for school trips.
11) A homework timetable, with handing in dates. Spellings lists.
12) List of Governors, with a pen sketch of their experience, and photographs.
13) Governors’ page, with information about the role of the Governing Body, how to become a Governor, forthcoming meeting dates and non-confidential
14) Information about the PTA or Parents Forum.
15) Gallery of children’s work.
16) Links to Local Authority Schools website, Direct.Gov Schools and the DfE home page.
17) This week’s lunch menu.
18) Snow and bad weather policy, with a link to the local radio station Snow Line.
19) Anti-bullying policy.
20) Safeguarding policy (and other policies?).
21) Information about disabled access.
How to maximise impact with your website1) In the first instance your website needs to be visually interesting and exciting with an immediate impact on your home page. We believe that means it should look clean without clutter. Some ways this can be achieved and some common mistakes to be avoided.
2) Ideally you also want to give an immediate insight and flavour of your school. One way to do this is to have a photographic slide show of pupils or students engaged in activity of the grounds and building itself perhaps with overlayed type revealing some of your values is perhaps one of the best ways to (Please view our School Photography Portfolio).
Avoid clutter and prioritise what is important – especially on your home page.
2) Don’t have a video as a main feature or acting as an introduction on the homepage. Your immediate impression will be a black frame which may take time to load when played. Videos may be better suited positioned as thumbnails in a sidebar or within a Video Gallery which open up in a new window.
3) Also avoid for example giving too much space to social network feeds. For example your latest Tweets can be on a slider without taking a whole column. On a general note about social network sites you may want to consider if there is any repetition of announcements from social network sites and your news or blog items and if they are actually necessary and how much time you can devote to updating different communication channels.
4) Also in relation to BLOGS you’ve probably seen many school websites that take you to another website with a different domain name when you click on the BLOG or NEWS button. This seems to us to be untidy and unnecessary and has the potential to be annoying, especially if you can’t easily get back to the main site. So we recommend that you keep everything ‘under one roof’.
5) What is the difference between a BLOG and NEWS? It’s probably just as well to understand the difference so you can choose which has the most impact for your organisation. Generally speaking the NEWS section of your site should be a factual timeline of your organisation almost like press releases. A BLOG serves as a means to discuss topics allowing you to share your thoughts, opinions and reviews on a whole host of subjects. Just be sure to keep it relevant and interesting. So you may need to consider whether it suits you best to have one or the other or both. Again in general your NEWS is undoubtedly going to be more official whilst your BLOG may have a more personal note, such as we have here.
6) Once again whether you have NEWS or a BLOG it’s important to keep them fresh and up to date, otherwise it is going to send a very negative message to your audience.
7) We recommend that you DON’T use Comic Sans as your chosen typeface, often used as a psuedo child friendly font.. This is also the recommendation of Ofsted. Rather use a google web font. Several benefits of using Google Web Fonts include a wide selection of high quality open source fonts, compatibility with just about every browser and mobile device, and an easy implementation.