Whether you’re a school business manager, marketing manager or a web developer working on behalf of a school, it’s important to know that as a school, there are a few extra requirements to think about when it comes to web design. The UK government have a list of guidelines which you can view in full here.
As a quick overview, here are the areas that need to be covered when planning a website design for your school.
- School contact details
- Admission arrangements
- Ofsted reports
- Exam and assessment results
- Performance tables
- Behaviour policy
- Pupil premium
- Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium
- PE and sport premium for primary schools
- Special educational needs (SEN) report
- Charging and remissions policies
- Values and ethos
- Requests for copies: you must provide information from the site in printed format at no cost. This is not part of a site build however forms part of a school’s obligation in this area.
Planning a site structure before you begin is in our opinion a worthwhile exercise. In fact, when we’re speaking to a prospective school client, one of the first things we’ll do is look at information architecture and structure and produce a simple plan for the site structure, something like the below.
Once that’s agreed, you’ve got a framework from which to start generating content, or putting together a brief for your content creator. This early agreement is crucial in ensuring steady progress towards completing the site build. It also helps focus on what’s needed and what’s not. It’s quite common for us to map out an existing site with several hundred pages and subsequently figure out a structure that’s simple, neat and usually between 40-50 core pages for the majority of schools.
It’s also perfectly reasonable to combine information, as long as it’s sorted sensibly. Policies for example often run into the dozens, and are frequently placed on sites as documents. So rather than a page for every single policy, we’ll group them, or add a policy search tool to make it simple and fast for a user to find what they need without having to navigate a complicated series of menus, sub-menus and navigation links that take them straight to a download, rather than to a page (a pet hate!).
There’s lots of other non-obligatory things that a school website should also include. Information about events, resources for students and access to learning portals are all common requirements. The key to good website structure is to always be thinking about the user; who they are and what they are looking for. Dividing navigation into students and parents will give you a quick leg up to providing relevant information for each group, while the majority of information that you are obliged to supply and which affects all groups can be located in the About menu, or similar.
If you’re embarking on a school website redesign and having a hard time with navigation or the minimum requirements, get in touch with us and we’ll provide some help on getting your site structure refined.