100 Steps to Excellence for Outstanding Schools

Category: Ofsted

Published: July 12, 2024

Excellence in Schools Checklist

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on running an excellent primary school in the UK! Whether you’re an experienced headteacher or just starting in the education sector, this checklist will ensure your school is on the right path to success. We’ve covered everything from vision and leadership to curriculum, student wellbeing, and community involvement. Dive into each section to explore practical tips and best practices for fostering a thriving educational environment. Here’s to creating an outstanding primary school experience for every child!

Checklist for Running an Excellent School 

Below is a list of 100 areas to think about as you plan improvements within your school, conduct audits, and make your school outstanding:

1. Vision and Mission Statement: Evaluated under leadership and management, ensuring the school has clear aims and direction.

2. Leadership and Management:

•Strong, experienced leadership team

•Clear organisational structure

•Effective communication channels

•Regular staff meetings

Ofsted evaluates the effectiveness of leaders and managers in improving teaching, learning, and outcomes for pupils.

3. Staffing:

•Qualified and motivated teachers

•Support staff (TAs, admin, etc.)

•Regular professional development

•Performance appraisal systems

Considered under leadership and management, particularly how staff are developed and supported.

4. Curriculum:

•Comprehensive and balanced curriculum

•Adherence to national standards

•Integration of ICT in teaching

•Regular review and updates

The quality of education inspection focuses on the curriculum’s intent, implementation, and impact.

5. Teaching and Learning:

•Differentiated instruction

•Inclusive education practices

•Use of innovative teaching methods

•Regular assessments and feedback

Ofsted evaluates the effectiveness of teaching, learning, and assessment.

6. Student Wellbeing:

•Safeguarding policies

•Pastoral care system

•Anti-bullying measures

•Mental health support

Safeguarding is a key aspect, and Ofsted looks at how schools ensure pupils are safe and supported.

7. Parental Engagement:

•Regular parent-teacher meetings

•Parental involvement in school activities

•Effective communication with parents

•Support for parents (workshops, resources)

Parent and carer engagement is part of leadership and management, assessing communication and involvement.

8. Community Involvement:

•Partnerships with local businesses

•Community service projects

•Local cultural integration

•Open days and school events

Community links and cultural development can contribute to personal development and leadership assessment.

9. Facilities and Resources:

•Well-maintained buildings and grounds

•Modern classrooms

•Library and resource centres

•Sports facilities

Ofsted inspects the quality of resources and their impact on education.

10. Health and Safety:

•Regular safety drills

•First aid trained staff

•Up-to-date health and safety policies

•Secure school premises

Health and safety are essential for safeguarding evaluations.

11. Financial Management:

•Transparent budgeting process

•Effective allocation of resources

•Regular financial audits

•Fundraising initiatives

Effective financial management supports overall leadership and governance.

12. Technology Integration:

•Up-to-date hardware and software

•IT support services

•E-safety policies

•Digital literacy programs

Part of the quality of education, especially how technology supports learning.

13. Extracurricular Activities:

•Variety of clubs and societies

•Sports teams and competitions

•Arts and music programs

•After-school care

Evaluated under personal development, looking at opportunities beyond academics.

14. Environmental Awareness:

•Eco-friendly policies

•Recycling programs

•Outdoor learning opportunities

•Gardening projects

Environmental initiatives can contribute to personal development.

15. Student Voice:

•Student council

•Regular student surveys

•Opportunities for student leadership

•Feedback mechanisms

Pupil feedback and leadership opportunities are considered under personal development.

16. Continuous Improvement:

•Regular self-evaluation

•External inspections and reviews

•Action plans based on feedback

•Staff and student input on improvements

Continuous improvement reflects the effectiveness of leadership and management.

17. Inclusive Education:

•Support for SEN (Special Educational Needs)

•EAL (English as an Additional Language) programs

•Cultural diversity initiatives

•Accessibility accommodations

Inclusivity and support for diverse needs are crucial for quality of education and personal development.

18. Curricular Enrichment:

•Educational trips and visits

•Guest speakers

•Themed days and weeks

•Interdisciplinary projects

Enrichment activities contribute to the overall quality of education.

19. Data Management:

•Secure data handling

•Use of educational software

•Regular data analysis for improvement

•Data protection policies

Data management supports leadership, management, and accountability.

20. Governance:

•Active and knowledgeable governing body

•Clear governance policies

•Regular governor meetings

•Governor training and development

Effective governance is a critical aspect of leadership and management.

21. Professional Networks:

•Collaboration with other schools

•Membership in educational organisations

•Attending conferences and workshops

•Sharing best practices

Professional networks support continuous improvement and staff development.

22. Inspection Readiness:

•Preparedness for Ofsted inspections

•Documentation and evidence collection

•Familiarity with inspection frameworks

•Action plans based on inspection feedback

Inspection readiness reflects leadership’s proactive approach.

23. Early Years Provision:

•High-quality early years curriculum

•Well-trained early years staff

•Safe and stimulating environments

•Parental involvement in early years

Early years provision is a specific focus of Ofsted inspections.

24. Assessment Practices:

•Regular formative assessments

•Use of summative assessments

•Moderation of assessments

•Reporting of assessment outcomes

Assessment practices are crucial for evaluating teaching and learning effectiveness.

25. Homework Policies:

•Clear homework guidelines

•Age-appropriate assignments

•Support for homework completion

•Feedback on homework

Homework policies contribute to the quality of education and home-school links.

26. Transition Support:

•Support for new pupils

•Transition programs for Year 6

•Liaison with secondary schools

•Orientation activities

Transition support impacts personal development and pupil wellbeing.

27. Cultural Competence:

•Celebration of cultural diversity

•Multicultural curriculum content

•Support for bilingual students

•Anti-racism education

Cultural competence enhances personal development and inclusivity.

28. Performance Management:

•Clear performance criteria

•Regular performance reviews

•Professional development plans

•Addressing underperformance

Performance management supports leadership effectiveness and staff development.

29. School Policies:

•Up-to-date policies (behaviour, attendance, etc.)

•Regular policy review

•Policy accessibility for staff and parents

•Clear implementation guidelines

Policies are fundamental to leadership, management, and safeguarding.

30. Crisis Management:

•Crisis response plan

•Communication plan for emergencies

•Training for crisis situations

•Regular drills and evaluations

Crisis management ensures pupil safety and effective school operation.

31. Behaviour Management:

•Clear behaviour policy

•Positive behaviour reinforcement

•Consistent disciplinary procedures

•Support for behavioural issues

Behaviour management impacts personal development and school culture.

32. Academic Support:

•Tutoring programs

•Intervention strategies

•Learning support assistants

•Personalized learning plans

Academic support is essential for quality education and pupil outcomes.

33. Physical Education:

•Comprehensive PE curriculum

•Qualified PE teachers

•Regular physical activity opportunities

•Health and fitness education

Physical education contributes to personal development and wellbeing.

34. Library Services:

•Well-stocked library

•Trained librarian

•Regular reading programs

•Integration with curriculum

Library services support literacy and overall educational quality.

35. Arts Education:

•Art and music classes

•Opportunities for performance

•Art exhibitions

•Collaboration with local artists

Arts education is vital for personal development and creativity.

36. School Culture:

•Positive school ethos

•Respectful relationships

•Celebrations of success

•Clear values and expectations

A positive school culture underpins effective teaching, learning, and personal development.

37. Special Events:

•Annual sports day

•School fairs

•Holiday celebrations

•Graduation ceremonies

Special events enrich school life and community involvement.

38. Communication Strategy:

•Regular newsletters

•School website updates

•Social media presence

•Effective use of emails and letters

Effective communication supports leadership and parent engagement.

39. Professional Development:

•Ongoing training opportunities

•Support for further qualifications

•In-house training sessions

Professional development is critical for staff effectiveness and quality education.

40. Inclusivity Initiatives:

•Anti-discrimination policies

•Support for minority groups

•Inclusive curriculum content

Inclusivity initiatives ensure all pupils feel valued and supported.

41. Resource Management:

•Efficient use of resources

•Sustainable practices

•Regular inventory checks

Effective resource management supports overall school operations.

42. Homework Clubs:

•After-school homework support

•Quiet study spaces

•Access to resources and staff

Homework clubs help pupils succeed academically.

43. Volunteer Programs:

•Opportunities for community volunteers

•Training for volunteers

•Volunteer recognition

Volunteer programs enhance community involvement and school support.

44. Innovation in Education:

•Pilot new teaching methods

•Encourage creative thinking

•Integrate new technologies

Innovation supports continuous improvement in teaching and learning.

45. Career Education:

•Introduce career options

•Visits from professionals

•Basic career planning activities

Career education prepares pupils for future opportunities.

46. Attendance Monitoring:

•Robust attendance policies

•Early intervention for poor attendance

•Reward good attendance

Attendance monitoring impacts pupil outcomes and school performance.

47. Food and Nutrition:

•Healthy school meals

•Nutrition education

•Safe dining environment

Food and nutrition affect pupil health and wellbeing.

48. Parental Feedback:

•Regular surveys

•Parent forums

•Suggestion boxes

Parental feedback informs school improvement and engagement.

49. School Branding:

•Consistent school identity

•Logo and motto

•Positive public relations

School branding enhances community perception and engagement.

50. Eco-School Initiatives:

•Energy-saving measures

•Wildlife-friendly policies

•Environmental education

Eco-school initiatives promote sustainability and environmental awareness.

51. Staff Wellbeing:

•Support for mental health

•Work-life balance initiatives

•Staff appreciation activities

Staff wellbeing is crucial for effective teaching and leadership.

52. Learning Environments:

•Flexible classroom layouts

•Inspirational displays

•Comfortable furniture

Positive learning environments support pupil engagement and achievement.

53. Student Leadership:

•Leadership roles for students

•Leadership training programs

•Opportunities for student decision-making

Student leadership fosters personal development and school involvement.

54. Field Trips:

•Educational outings

•Safety measures for trips

•Follow-up activities

Field trips enrich the curriculum and provide experiential learning.

55. Professional Networking:

•Encourage staff collaboration

•Networks for different subject areas

•Sharing resources and ideas

Professional networking supports staff development and best practices.

56. Parental Workshops:

•Sessions on educational topics

•Workshops on parenting skills

•Technology usage guidance

Parental workshops enhance home-school collaboration and support.

57. Student Records:

•Accurate record-keeping

•Secure storage of records

•Regular updates

Effective student record management supports school operations and accountability.

58. Sustainable Practices:

•Reduce, reuse, recycle programs

•Environmental awareness days

•Green initiatives

Sustainable practices promote environmental responsibility.

59. Emergency Preparedness:

•Detailed emergency plans

•Training for all staff

•Regular practice drills

Emergency preparedness ensures pupil safety and effective crisis response.

60. Cultural Programs:

•Celebration of cultural events

•Cross-cultural education

•Partnerships with cultural organizations

Cultural programs enhance personal development and community engagement.

61. Language Programs:

•Foreign language instruction

•EAL support programs

•Language exchange opportunities

Language programs support linguistic development and cultural competence.

62. Health Services:

•Access to school nurse

•Regular health checks

•Health education programs

Health services support pupil wellbeing and readiness to learn.

63. Parent-Teacher Association:

•Active PTA involvement

•Fundraising activities

•Support for school events

PTA involvement strengthens community and parent engagement.

64. Safety Protocols:

•Clear safety procedures

•Regular safety audits

•Safety training for staff and students

Safety protocols ensure a secure learning environment.

65. Resource Accessibility:

•Easy access to learning materials

•Availability of online resources

•Inclusive access for all students

Resource accessibility supports diverse learning needs.

66. Civic Engagement:

•Participation in local events

•Encouragement of civic responsibility

•Engagement with local government

Civic engagement fosters community involvement and responsibility.

67. Outdoor Learning:

•Outdoor classrooms

•Nature-based learning activities

•Safe outdoor play areas

Outdoor learning enhances educational experiences and personal development.

68. Academic Competitions:

•Participation in academic contests

•Support for gifted students

•Celebration of achievements

Academic competitions promote excellence and pupil motivation.

69. Performance Arts:

•Drama and theatre programs

•Opportunities for public performances

•Collaboration with local theatres

Performance arts contribute to personal development and creativity.

70. Peer Mentoring:

•Peer support programs

•Training for peer mentors

•Regular mentoring sessions

Peer mentoring supports pupil wellbeing and academic success.

71. Language Arts:

•Strong literacy programs

•Regular reading sessions

•Writing workshops

Language arts are fundamental to quality education.

72. Financial Literacy:

•Basic financial education

•Practical money management activities

Financial literacy prepares pupils for future responsibilities.

73. STEM Education:

•Focus on science, technology, engineering, and math

•STEM clubs and activities

•Collaboration with STEM professionals

STEM education is essential for future skills and knowledge.

74. Global Awareness:

•Global education curriculum

•International partnerships

•Cultural exchange programs

Global awareness enhances pupils’ understanding of the world.

75. Cognitive Development:

•Activities that promote critical thinking

•Problem-solving exercises

•Cognitive skill assessments

Cognitive development supports academic success and personal growth.

76. Reading Programs:

•Regular library visits

•Author visits and book talks

•Reading incentives

Reading programs enhance literacy and a love for reading.

77. Drama and Theatre:

•School plays and performances

•Drama workshops

•Collaboration with local theatres

Drama and theatre contribute to personal development and creativity.

78. Sensory Integration:

•Sensory-friendly spaces

•Activities for sensory development

•Support for sensory processing issues

Sensory integration supports diverse learning needs.

79. Physical Health Programs:

•Regular physical check-ups

•Fitness programs

•Health and hygiene education

Physical health programs support pupil wellbeing and readiness to learn.

80. Counselling Services:

•Access to school counselor

•Emotional support programs

•Group therapy sessions

Counselling services support mental health and emotional wellbeing.

81. Digital Citizenship:

•Education on safe internet use

•Cyberbullying prevention programs

•Responsible digital behavior guidelines

Digital citizenship is crucial for safe and responsible technology use.

82. Creative Arts:

•Art and craft workshops

•Exhibitions of student artwork

•Integration of arts in curriculum

Creative arts enhance personal development and creativity.

83. Gifted Education:

•Programs for gifted and talented students

•Enrichment activities

•Acceleration opportunities

Gifted education supports high achievers and academic excellence.

84. Inclusion Programs:

•Support for diverse learning needs

•Inclusive classroom practices

•Sensitivity training for staff and students

Inclusion programs ensure all pupils feel valued and supported.

85. Robust Feedback Systems:

•Regular feedback from staff

•Student feedback mechanisms

•Implementation of feedback

Feedback systems support continuous improvement and pupil outcomes.

86. Collaborative Projects:

•Group learning activities

•Interdisciplinary projects

•Partnerships with other schools

Collaborative projects enhance learning and teamwork skills.

87. Ethical Education:

•Programs on ethics and values

•Encouraging ethical behaviour

•Discussions on moral issues

Ethical education promotes character development and responsible behaviour.

88. School Celebrations:

•Regular celebrations of success

•Annual school awards

•Celebration of diverse achievements

School celebrations enhance school culture and community spirit.

89. Leadership Training:

•Training for aspiring leaders

•Leadership development programs

•Opportunities for leadership roles

Leadership training supports staff development and school improvement.

90. Language Development:

•Speech and language support

•Literacy development programs

•Language-rich environment

Language development is crucial for academic success and communication skills.

91. Behavioural Support:

•Positive behaviour interventions

•Support for challenging behaviours

•Consistent behaviour policies

Behavioural support ensures a positive learning environment.

92. Environmental Education:

•Lessons on sustainability

•Eco-friendly school projects

•Outdoor environmental learning

Environmental education promotes sustainability and responsibility.

93. Intervention Programs:

•Early intervention for learning issues

•Targeted support programs

•Regular monitoring of progress

Intervention programs support pupils with additional needs.

94. Cultural Literacy:

•Curriculum that includes diverse perspectives

Cultural literacy enhances understanding and respect for diversity.

95. Parental Support Services:

•Resources for parenting

•Workshops for parental skills

•Family support programs

Parental support services enhance home-school collaboration and pupil success.

96. Modern Infrastructure:

•Up-to-date school facilities

•Comfortable learning environments

•Adequate technological infrastructure

Modern infrastructure supports effective teaching and learning.

97. Team Building:

•Team-building activities for staff

•Encouragement of collaborative teaching

•Regular team meetings

Team building enhances staff collaboration and school culture.

98. Effective Timetabling:

•Balanced school schedule

•Efficient use of time

•Flexibility for special programs

Effective timetabling ensures a well-organised and productive school day.

99. Continuous Feedback Loop:

•Regular feedback collection

•Implementation of feedback

•Continuous improvement culture

A continuous feedback loop supports ongoing development and school improvement.

100. Holistic Education:

– Focus on overall development

– Integration of arts, sports, and academics

– Emphasis on emotional and social growth

By focusing on these 100 areas, school leadership can create a robust framework for continuous improvement and educational excellence. Each aspect contributes to a well-rounded, supportive, and dynamic learning environment that caters to the diverse needs of students, staff, and the wider community.

Implementing this comprehensive checklist will not only ensure readiness for Ofsted inspections but also foster a culture of high standards and innovation. Leaders will be better equipped to manage resources efficiently, support staff development, engage with parents and the community, and promote student wellbeing and achievement.

Ultimately, this holistic approach will guide school leadership on their journey to becoming an outstanding school, delivering exceptional education and preparing students for future success. By committing to ongoing self-evaluation and embracing best practices, schools can achieve excellence and create a positive, enriching experience for every student.

5 Reasons Your School Website Needs To Be Ofsted Compliant

Published: July 1, 2024

5 Reasons Your School Website Needs To Be Ofsted Compliant

Having an Ofsted-compliant school website is essential for legal reasons and to create trust within the school community. It ensures that all necessary information, such as policies and performance data, is easily accessible to parents, staff, and inspectors. This transparency helps build a strong relationship between the school and parents, making them feel informed and involved in their child’s education.

In this article, we’ll discuss five key reasons why your school website needs to be Ofsted compliant. From improving parent communication to meeting legal requirements, these points will help you understand the importance of Ofsted website compliance and how it benefits your school community.

Enhancing Parent Communication

Clear and accessible information is crucial for parents to stay informed and engaged with their child’s education. An Ofsted-compliant website ensures parents can easily find essential documents, updates, and policies without hassle. This ease of access helps parents feel more connected and involved in the school community.

Compliance with Ofsted guidelines means that important information is organized and readily available. Parents can quickly find what they need, from school performance data to contact details, making their interaction with the school smoother and more efficient.

Transparency is a key factor in building trust between the school and parents. When parents see that the school is open and honest about its operations and performance, they are more likely to trust the school’s leadership and feel confident in the education their children are receiving. This trust fosters a positive and supportive school environment.

Improving Student Enrollment

An informative school website plays a crucial role in attracting new students. Parents often use the internet to research potential schools, and a well-designed, Ofsted-compliant website can make a solid first impression. When parents find all the information they need quickly, they are more likely to consider enrolling their children.

Displaying compliance on your website can significantly enhance the school’s reputation. It shows that the school meets national standards and is committed to providing a quality education. This assurance can be a deciding factor for parents when choosing a school.

Detailed information about the school’s achievements and facilities is another way to attract prospective students. Highlighting awards, academic successes, and state-of-the-art facilities can make your school stand out. Parents want the best for their children, and showcasing these aspects on your website can help convince them that your school is the right choice.

Meeting Legal Requirements

Schools have legal obligations to be Ofsted compliant, which includes maintaining an up-to-date and informative website. This compliance ensures that the school meets national standards and provides parents, staff, and inspectors with essential information. It’s fundamental to being accountable and transparent in the education sector.

The potential consequences of non-compliance can be severe. Schools may face penalties, receive lower inspection ratings, and suffer from a damaged reputation. These issues can negatively impact student enrollment and overall trust in the school’s management.

To meet legal requirements, the school’s website must include specific information, such as performance data, school policies, contact information, and inspection reports. Ensuring this information is readily available and accessible demonstrates the school’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

Showcasing School Performance

Displaying Ofsted reports and performance data on your school website is essential. It provides parents and the community with a clear picture of the school’s performance, helping build confidence in the school’s quality and educational standards.

Showcasing achievements can significantly boost school morale and enhance its reputation within the community. When students, parents, and staff see the school’s successes highlighted, it fosters a sense of pride and accomplishment. This positive image can attract new students and encourage community support.

Transparency plays a vital role in fostering a culture of continuous improvement. The school demonstrates its commitment to excellence and accountability by openly sharing performance data and achievements. This openness encourages feedback and engagement from the community, helping the school continually strive for higher standards and better outcomes.

Facilitating Engagement

Engaging various people, including parents, students, and the local community, is crucial for a thriving school environment. An Ofsted-compliant website plays a significant role by providing a reliable platform for communication and involvement.

An Ofsted-compliant website supports effective communication by ensuring all necessary information is easily accessible. This helps parents stay informed, students feel more connected, and the community be more involved in school activities and decisions.

Features like newsletters, event calendars, and forums can significantly enhance stakeholder interaction. Newsletters keep everyone updated on school news and achievements, while event calendars help parents and students stay informed about important dates and activities. Forums provide a space for discussion and feedback, creating community and collaboration. These tools make the website a central hub for engagement and involvement, benefiting the entire school community.

Is Your Website Ofsted Compliant?

An Ofsted-compliant website is crucial for transparency, legal adherence, and community trust. It ensures parents can access essential information and showcases the school’s commitment to high standards.

Schedule a website audit from School Jotter to ensure your website meets all Ofsted requirements.

Alerts for Upcoming Ofsted Inspections

Category: Ofsted

Published: March 22, 2023

Alerts for Upcoming Ofsted Inspections- School Jotter

Schools in the UK have a legal obligation to maintain a certain level of performance and quality of education. One of the ways that this is monitored is through Ofsted inspections. Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) is the non-ministerial government department responsible for inspecting and regulating schools and other education settings in England. The Ofsted inspection process can be a stressful time for schools, and preparation is key. However, with the help of School Jotter, schools can be alerted to upcoming Ofsted inspections by monitoring policy download statistics.

As part of its compliance checks, Ofsted inspectors will typically review a school’s website to ensure that it meets certain requirements

5 things that Ofsted looks for on a school website should include:

  1. Contact information: Schools are required to provide up-to-date contact information on their website, including the school’s address, telephone number, and email address. This information should be easy to find and clearly displayed.
  2. Curriculum information: Ofsted expects schools to provide detailed information about the curriculum they offer, including what is taught in each subject, how progress is assessed, and how students are supported to achieve their full potential. This information should be easily accessible on the school’s website.
  3. Safeguarding policies and procedures: Schools must have robust safeguarding policies and procedures in place to ensure that students are safe from harm. Ofsted inspectors will check that these policies are available on the school’s website and that they are up-to-date and reflect best practice.
  4. SEN information: Schools must provide information about how they support students with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. This information should be easily accessible on the school’s website and should include details of any specialist resources or services that are available.
  5. Pupil premium and sports premium: Schools that receive pupil premium and/or sports premium funding must provide information on how this funding is used to support disadvantaged students and improve outcomes for all students. Ofsted inspectors will check that this information is available on the school’s website and that it is up-to-date.

School Jotter is a platform that provides a range of digital tools to help schools manage their online presence, communicate with parents, and engage with students. One of the features of School Jotter is the ability to monitor policy document downloads. This means that schools can see when lots of policy documents are downloaded and under what time frame. By monitoring these statistics, the platform can flag impending Ofsted inspections, giving leadership and staff prior warning to prepare.

School Administrators can Monitor Download Patterns of Policy Documents to be Alerted in impending Oftsed Inspections

The policy documents that schools need to have in place cover a range of areas, from health and safety to safeguarding. Ofsted inspectors will look for evidence that schools are meeting their legal obligations in these areas, and that policies are up to date and followed. By monitoring policy download statistics, School Jotter can help schools identify when policies are being downloaded more frequently than usual. This could indicate that an inspection is imminent and that staff and leadership need to ensure that all policies are up to date and that everyone is following them.

In addition to monitoring policy downloads, School Jotter also offers a range of tools that can help schools prepare for Ofsted inspections. For example, the platform includes a customisable self-evaluation tool that can help schools identify areas of strength and weakness. This can be a valuable resource for schools when preparing for inspections, as it helps them to identify areas that may need improvement and to develop strategies for improvement.

School Jotter also provides a range of communication tools that can be used to engage with parents and the wider school community. This can be particularly useful when preparing for Ofsted inspections, as it allows schools to demonstrate that they are actively engaging with parents and seeking their input. By using School Jotter’s communication tools, schools can also keep parents informed about the inspection process, which can help to reduce anxiety and build trust.

In conclusion, School Jotter is an invaluable tool for schools preparing for Ofsted inspections. By monitoring policy download statistics and providing a range of digital tools, schools can be better prepared for inspections and ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations. The ability to monitor policy downloads can provide early warning of inspections, allowing schools to ensure that all policies are up to date and followed. Additionally, School Jotter’s self-evaluation tool can help schools identify areas for improvement, and its communication tools can be used to engage with parents and the wider community. With the help of School Jotter, schools can feel more confident and prepared for Ofsted inspections, ensuring that they are providing high-quality education for their students.

If you are interested in learning more about Ofsted Inspection Alerts and having an Ofsted Compliant Website speak to our team.

What makes a great Multi-Academy Trust Website

Published: November 29, 2021

Multi-academy trust (MAT) websites play an integral role in establishing the online presence of the schools they are associated with. The website provides crucial information regarding the trust and the new schools that can join the Trust. 

One of the major benefits of a new school joining a Trust is that they get to be a part of a beautiful website that reflects their critical part in making the Trust successful. 

Before we gain further understanding into what makes a great MAT website, let’s understand some of the benefits it can bring to a MAT:

  • They guide the public perception of the MAT and their schools as authoritative and authentic sources
  • They identify each school as a member
  • They act as a source of information for the visitors from a trusted referral link
  • They help to maintain consistency in design across multiple schools
  • They are able to complete the design and development of the subsequent websites quite easily
  • They prove to be cost-effective for MATs that would like to have a group of sites for their different schools

With an increasing number of Trusts willing to expand their services and make people aware of the advantages and benefits they have to offer, it becomes all the more important to make your Trust stand out from others. There are several ways to achieve this goal, but the best way would be to start with your Trust website.

Here are a few factors you may want to consider before revisiting your Trust’s website design: 

1. Offer an amazing visual experience 

People find it easier to connect with sites that help them navigate the site easily and access information, which is otherwise difficult to find.

There are plenty of styles that would suit the objective that your Trust wants to establish in the market, from professional photography to animated illustrations and video backgrounds. These all can be featured cohesively on your website to convey the brand and vision of your Trust. 

2. Deliver an outstanding user experience 

User experience plays an integral role in a MAT website. People will always remember experiences that saved them valuable time and access information without any hassle. 

Some of the user experience elements can look really trivial but you will be greatly surprised at how these are often ignored in the design stage. Also, it can be really frustrating for a user to navigate endlessly through the website to find one piece of useful information.

3. Represent the brand of your Trust on the web

Your personal brand has a great impact on every aspect of your organization. It dictates how the vision, personality, and values of the trust are communicated to its stakeholders. 

In fact, people will remember your Trust for a long time if the website is able to reflect the values and beliefs of your trust rather than just simple information.

To ensure you’re fully representing your brand, there are key pieces of information you should always have on your Trust website, including

  • CEO and Leaderships team bios
  • Information on member schools, including links to case studies and websites
  • Your Trust USPs, values and ethos
  • Latest news – what’s happening at your Trust right now?
  • Recruitment information for both new schools and staff – with all of the great design work you’ve done and the way you’ve represented your brand, who wouldn’t want to join your Trust?

4. Adopt good social media practices 

Search engines are not the only way through which people will be able to find your website. In order to gain maximum exposure for your Trust, you should also have a prominent social media presence. And for that, you need to create a robust social media content strategy for people to find you on the web. 

5. Gain positive ranking through SEO

You can have the most beautiful website and the simplest of navigation, but it will be of no use if people are not able to find your Trust’s website. And Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will increase the possibility of your website appearing in the search results. 



As mentioned earlier, there could be a thousand ways to make a great MAT website, but the most successful will be the one that is able to tell a unique story and make a great first impression. 

Remember that great design is not just about incorporating pretty on-screen elements, rather it is about making sure your design is accessible and offers a great user experience. This will also help in a better understanding of your MAT brand. 

The team at School Jotter has worked with dozens of MATs to create a range of great website experiences. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

Is your school website up to Ofsted standards?

Published: March 28, 2019

Your school website provides the first impression to potential pupils, and it’s also a requirement to make sure it’s complying with Ofsted standards.
Ofsted will often review a school’s website as part of their inspection, so it’s essential to ensure it’s up to date, easy to use and appealing to visitors.
To help you reach the high standards inspectors look for, here’s a handy checklist of things to do to make sure your school website is the best it can be.

Your school’s name, contact details and ethos

Communication is key, and easy contact between parents and the school is something Ofsted will look for. Make sure your website’s got:

  • Your school’s name presented clearly
  • The ethos, aims and values of your school
  • Postal address
  • Telephone number
  • Name and contact details of your headteacher
  • Name and address of the chair of the governing body
  • Name and contact details of the member of staff who deals with queries from parents and members of the public
  • Name and contact details of your special educational needs coordinator

Your school’s admission process

It sounds obvious, but you need to tell people how to apply for your school in a simple and concise way. There’s no point confusing potential parents and pupils; it’ll just turn them away from your school. Be sure to include:

  • Your selection criteria
  • Your school’s admissions number
  • Details on arrangements for disabled students
  • How parents can apply
  • Details of your oversubscription criteria

Behaviour and suspension/exclusion policies

Ofsted wants to see that your school can both teach and discipline students. Include:

  • Your school’s behaviour and bullying policies. Also make sure they comply with section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006
  • Details of your school’s exclusion policy

Equality and accessibility objectives

A school should be an environment in which everyone should feel welcome and like they can succeed. Make sure you’re laying out a clear plan on how you’re making students of all ethnicities, sexualities, genders and backgrounds welcome.

  • How your school is fighting discrimination
  • Your school’s equality objectives
  • How your school complies with the public sector equality duty
  • How disabled students are involved and helped in the curriculum
  • How your school provides physical access to disabled students

Performance tables

You have to advertise your school and tell people why they should send their children there. There’s no better way to do that than showing the quality of education parents can expect.

  • Key stage 1+2 results – average standards of reading, writing and maths as well as the percentage of students who have achieved higher scores
  • Key stage 4 results – percentage of students who have achieved a grade of C or above in English and Maths. Also, include the percentage of students who have gone onto higher education, training or employment
  • Link to national performance tables

Content management apps such as School Jotter can be a great tool to help make sure your website is up to date and complying with Ofsted standards. School Jotter can help you create and manage your website in a streamlined way, so you’ll easily be able to make a website that’s both appealing and easy to use for parents, pupils and other members of the public, but also will get you a good score from Ofsted.
For a more extensive checklist on extra things you can do to improve your school website, have a look at this.

Mobile Website Versus Mobile App: Why Your School Needs Both

Published: January 12, 2018

Today, there’s an app for almost everything.
Just by downloading an app, you can make certain aspects of your everyday life easier: it may help you plan your schedule, track your fitness, do your weekly shopping, keep up to date with your social media profiles, or countless other tasks.
The explosion of apps is just part of the ongoing reign of the mobile device. Smartphones and tablets (though primarily the former) are essential companions for millions of us, helping us get through our professional and personal lives. Businesses and organisations are consistently recommended to invest in mobile advertising, and to ensure their websites are optimised to be mobile-friendly.
Your school can benefit from embracing the mobile market too, across both your website and an app – but why do you need both?

The Benefits of a Mobile Website

Mobile websites are basically similar to any other site: they revolve around connected HTML pages, incorporating numerous features and media.
However, what makes a mobile website different from those we tend to explore on our computers is that they are designed for smaller screens and touch-screen interaction. Google’s search algorithm now gives greater prominence to websites which are mobile-friendly, and this is only going to increase in years to come.
Mobile websites can present any form of media, just as standard domains do: images, video, text, animations, and submission forms can all be incorporated into your mobile website. Whereas accessing websites on mobile phones may have led to clumsy, monochromatic visuals once upon a time, you can now expect the same performance as you would on a high-end PC.
Mobile websites are immediately available, unlike apps which need to be downloaded. Why does this matter? Well, for example, let’s say you send an email to parents inviting them to check important resources on your site, and include a link to the relevant pages.
Parents will then be able to click the link and go directly to the information they need to see; if they do this on their mobile phone or tablet (as many of them will, especially if on the move or if they have no desktop computer at home), your mobile website will present the key information in a clear, accessible way.
If the same resources were available only via your app, parents would then either have to go to the effort of downloading it before they could access it. Alternatively, they may prefer to contact your school to get the details – taking more time out of their busy day.
Another reason your mobile website is an essential complement to an app is that they are compatible across multiple devices. Your app may only be available on, say, Android and iOS, meaning parents with a Windows phone would be unable to use it, but they would be able to reach your mobile website with no trouble.
Mobile websites have broader reach, too, as not every parent, grandparent, or guardian will feel comfortable downloading an app; they may even not understand how to. You need to ensure your online presence is as accessible to everyone as possible.
With all this in mind, it’s easy to think a mobile website alone is enough, but apps are equally important.

The Benefits of a Mobile App

Your school should invest in setting up an app for various reasons. First and foremost, mobile apps enable you to send push notifications or alerts to parents and other key users; these allow you to keep them informed of details either instead of, or alongside, emails and letters.

These notifications can be used for less-important information or to remind them of upcoming events. Notifications can either be clicked on to go to the relevant page of the app, or cleared from the screen if they are irrelevant. These are much less hassle for the recipient than a letter or phone call.
Another key difference between apps and mobile websites is that the former can be used offline. Not all functions of the app may be accessible without an internet connection, but others will be: parents and guardians can check on school calendars, reports, and more whilst offline.
A school app may also include maps of your grounds, the location of upcoming sports events, and destinations for field trips. Parents can even explore what homework has been set, take part in surveys, and more. Mobile apps do consume storage space on users’ mobile devices, so it’s vital to keep them down to a manageable size; if your school app demands too much storage space, parents may be reluctant to download it.
Your app typically requires more time and attention to manage than a mobile website, but giving your students’ parents a portal to your school they can carry with them at all times is an effective way to build bonds.
Mobile apps typically require access to certain functions in a user’s phone, such as finding their location, accessing contacts, and others. You need to make them aware of this before they download the app.
Offering an app also demonstrates that your school is on the cutting edge and able to meet the demands of modern life. If you want to give parents and guardians access to complex data on your school – such as Ofsted reports, visual information through graphs and charts – an app can process this a little more efficiently than a mobile website.
You can include certain features across both mobile sites and apps, of course. Communication options, such as email submission forms and click-to-call buttons, may be integrated into both with minimal effort; these provide users with a choice of contact methods in the palm of their hand, without having to dial a number, drop into the school, or even worry about typing email addresses properly.

The Bottom Line

Optimising your website for mobile devices and releasing an app will empower your school to build stronger relationships with parents and guardians, catering to all types of mobile device and preferences. Those who would rather download an app than navigate their phone’s browser will be satisfied, while anyone reluctant to add your school’s app to their device can just hop online instead.
Both school mobile websites and mobile apps allow you to customise their look and feel, reinforcing your institution’s ‘brand’ with your school’s colours and logo. Putting your school at the forefront of mobile technology is key to to maximize engagement and build strong bonds for years to come.

How to Design an Awesome School Website

Published: February 29, 2016

Website Design For Schools In The UK

This is a tricky issue for non-experienced website designers. While wanting to save on costs by doing their school web design themselves, schools should make sure they meet the Ofsted requirements when it comes to website content and structure.

One of the problems many school website designers encounter is that they use too many colors making their content very difficult to read. What follows are some tips to help create a beautiful website design for schools in the UK.

Defining Your School’s Brand and Content Strategy


Knowing your school’s brand and what you stand for will help you write the content for your school’s website. You need to understand the school’s core values as well as what your school stands for.


Then you need to understand what your school does well and what problems it can solve for its students. There are other key questions you can ask yourself before you start creating a content strategy.


That strategy will revolve around the answers to all of those key questions. Plus, understanding the purpose of your school will help you create a unique website look that stands out from the crowd.


What also is involved in defining your school’s brand will be the following elements:


  • Develop your school’s promise to potential parents and students
  • Add a tagline that reflects the purpose of the school
  • Create your school’s identity- this includes creating a logo, finding your voice, the imagery you want to use, and the colours you want to use.


Defining your school’s brand is a wide range of elements that help potential and current students know who you are. That makes your website more attractive than using a number of bright or other colours.


Building A Solid User-Friendly Experience On The School Website

In the world of web design, there are a lot of options you can use to build complexity to your school’s website design. However, the old sayings ‘keep it simple’ and ‘less is more’ are key guides you should use when creating a primary school website design.

Yes, having fun things like pop-ups, interactive polls, and lots of videos can help but often those elements and other ones turn the user experience into something far more time-consuming than parents want to go through.

The key to building a good user experience on your school’s website is to follow these key tips:

1. Keep The Website Focused On Current School Parents

Make sure the relevant information is easy to access and find. Those important issues of tuition costs, teacher contact opportunities, and school events all should be very easy for the current school parent to find.

2. Focus On Enrollment

Make your enrollment process a priority. Part of the school’s website design is to attract new students to your school. This can partly be achieved through your About Us web page.

3. Help Busy Parents

This is done by having a clear school calendar on your website. Then make it easy to access for those busy parents who do not have the time to waste doing complicated searches or bypassing pop-ups, etc.

4. Miscellaneous Pages

These include contact information, a news and media web page, and more. You want to keep your school web design interesting without making it hard for parents to navigate through all the pages to get the information they want.

Add Interactive Features and Compelling Content for engaging the audience

Once you have understood your school’s identity and purpose, and then fleshed out a content strategy, now is the time to add some more interesting elements to your school website design.

Look for key features that can incorporate interactive activities. These will help engage both parents and students. Then make sure to have someone write excellent content that will be of interest to those school parents.

Content is still king and will help boost your school’s website in the search engine rankings. Bad content is one way to drive prospective students and parents away from your school.

Some Additional Words

Since 2003, School Jotter has been working with thousands of schools across the UK and worldwide to develop the best school website and e-learning software. We always make sure our school web design reflects the ethos of each school.

Contact us today to see how we can help make your school website design more attractive and user-friendly. Our experts will be glad to spend time working with you to enhance your public face.

The new Ofsted website requirements and you – what you need to do next

Category: Ofsted,Support

Published: September 18, 2015

As of this month, new Ofsted guidelines on school websites have gone into force, but it’s a bit confusing what these actually are. We’ve written this blog post to help demystify the changes a bit, and it should be helpful whether or not you’re a School Jotter user.
The main focus of the new requirements is governor disclosure. Basically, you now have to put information on who your governors are, what they do etc onto your website on a publicly accessible page – previously, this was recommended but not compulsory information. So here’s what you’ll need:

  • Name: You’ll need to have the names of your governors – photos can also help, but aren’t compulsory
  • Category: What type of governor are they?
  • Which body appoints them: Who appointed them to their position as governor
  • Their term of office: When will they be serving until? Is it a time-limited or a more permanent position?
  • Committees: The names of any gubernatorial committees they serve on
  • Their positions of responsibility: For example, if they’re the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary etc – what position do they hold?
  • Voting rights: What things can they vote on and how this will influence the school?

Additionally, in order to make sure that any potential conflicts of interest are laid bare, the following information needs to be disclosed to the public:

  • Any relevant business interests: Who they work for – are they part of a company who might benefit from school contracts?
  • Details of positions at other schools: Do they govern any other schools? If not, this doesn’t need to be filled in.
  • Any relationships at the school: If a governor has a relationship to another governor or member of staff at the school, you’ll need to put it down here. This includes spouses, partners and relatives.

Of course, these are just the new requirements – there’s still plenty of existing ones! Take a look at our Ofsted checklist for more information – you can print it out and tick off the areas you’re compliant in to give you a better idea of how you’re doing. Alternatively, perhaps you’d be interested in a free healthcheck by one of our website consultants – you don’t need to be with School Jotter, we’re here to help you!

School Website Tips for the New Term – Planning & Compliance

Published: August 28, 2015

With a new school term on the horizon and during the first couple of weeks, many schools will be taking a close look at their website with a view to welcoming new students and their families, and making sure important information is relevant and up to date.
Not only is your website an important tool for communication with your community, school websites are now under scrutiny from Ofsted and the DfE, with certain information required to be kept visible and up to date to ensure compliance with The School Information Regulations.
There are also a few simple ways to ensure your website is easy for you or your staff to maintain, and engaging for the parents and careers of your pupils.

Before getting back into your day-to-day school routine, don’t forget to review your school’s website to make sure that the content is still up to date, and check if you could make an simple changes to improve the site’s usability. Here are a few school website tips for planning and compliance, with suggested tasks to perform and items to check before the new term is in full swing.

Update your calendar

Two key purposes of your school’s website are marketing and communication. Your site allows you to quickly get information to parents, students, staff and the local community , keeping it visible for as long as is relevant. Ideally, your site’s event calendar should be updated before the school term starts. Add all holidays, sports events, plays etc. for which the date is already set. Categorise the events based on the audience they are for so you can share different calendars via email or on separate website pages.

Make sure your site is in compliance with DfE requirements

Last year, the DfE published a detailed, updated list of requirements with all the information a school should publish on its website. There are reports suggesting that OFSTED is doing unannounced inspections at schools that fail to provide the correct information on their websites, so if you’re not sure you’re in compliance, now is the time for a thorough review. Let’s have a look at the most important points on the list.

Contact information

Your site needs to display the name, address and phone number of your school, as well as the contact information of the staff member in charge of dealing with enquiries.

Admission Arrangements

You must either publish your full admission arrangements per age group or publish information about where your admission arrangements can be found.

Ofsted Reports

Your last Ofsted report should be available on your site or you must provide a link to where this report can be found.

Exam Results

You need to publish Information regarding the KS2 and KS4 results of your pupils.

Pupil Premium

Your website must have information about how pupil premium funding is spent at your school and how it has affected the attainment of pupils who attract the funding.

Special educational needs report

If you are a maintained school, a report on your policy for SEN pupils with must be published on your website.

Additional requirements

  • Your website must have information about charging and remissions policies.
  • You should publish a declaration of your ethos and values on your website.
  • Your website should have detailed information about your behaviour policy.
  • You need to publish complete information regarding the content of your school’s curriculum.
  • A link to the DfE performance tables web page must be published on your site.
  • If requested by a parent, a paper copy containing all the information that is published on your site must be provided free of charge.

Getting started with this can be a daunting task, but an important one nonetheless.
Download this checklist and go through your site one section at a time.

Refresh your content

Don’t let outdated content sit on your website. Having old, irrelevant content on your site will not prospective families. We’re not saying you need to update your school website five times per week, but regular content updates, especially before the new school year and each new term starts, are a good idea.
Go over the content on your site and update any outdated information. Check your staff directory, any files or sites that you link to, add new social media accounts or remove ones that are not used anymore, add new photos, post some interesting news stories, etc. You could also add a social media feed to your homepage so people can see what’s going on in the community.

Create an editorial plan and content schedule

Maintaining your website’s content on your own is a lot of work, which is why it’s great to have some help from teachers and support staff. However, if everyone who’s writing on the site uses a different voice and way of structuring content, things can start looking a bit messy.
It is a good idea to define an editorial plan that describes how content should be written and how other website administrators should go about posting new content (for example, you may want to have them send any updates to you for approval). Also, to ensure that your content is updated in a timely manner, you should create a content schedule describing when certain sections of your website need to be updated or new content should be added.

Consider a design update

If your website design is more than a few years old, you may want to consider having the design updated. Even a few small design changes can already make your site look a lot more modern. If your site is more than 5 years old, you should probably consider a redesign / refresh.

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

One design update you should make a priority is making your site mobile-friendly (if you haven’t done so yet). More and more people are using mobile devices to browse the web. If your website is difficult to navigate on such devices, many visitors will just close it. Google has also started placing more importance on the mobile-friendliness of websites. Websites that don’t adapt to screen size may get a lower ranking in search engine results because of this. To find out if your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test. If you fail this test, you should talk to your website developer.

Create or update your FAQs

If you often get emails or phone calls from parents or staff members with common questions, you may want to add answers to some of these to your  frequently asked questions (FAQ) section or create one if you don’t have one yet. Some questions that are likely to pop up often include:

  • When are the school holidays / inset days?
  • What are the school uniform policies?
  • What are the admissions arrangements?

Try to answer all common questions as thoroughly as possible on your site. It may take a bit of time to collect and present this information, but it could save you a lot of time in the long term.
It doesn’t need to be called an FAQ page – as long as you have clear navigation for different types of website visitors and needs, taking them to relevant pages where you answer those questions.

Your school’s website is one of the most important tools in your marketing and communication toolkit. If you don’t update regularly though to ensure freshness and regulatory compliance, it can turn into an anti-marketing tool that does more harm than good. The start of the new school term is a fresh start in many ways, so it could be useful to make a habit of going through a checklist like the one above and performing any necessary updates.

Can we help you?

At Webanywhere, we work hard to make school websites engaging for your community and easy to use for your staff. Why not learn about our school website design and content management platform – School Jotter – or contact us for an informal discussion about your website requirements?

Great Resource Websites for Headteachers and SLTs

Published: July 23, 2015

Being a headteacher or part of the Senior Leadership Team can be tough of course – leading a school involves trying to meet the expectations of parents, teachers and support staff, governors, Ofsted, and even the local community.

To stay up to date with education news and best practice, and to remember that there are many others in a similar position, it can be helpful to get information and advice from peers and those who understand your role.
You’ll be aware of many great resource websites for headteachers and SLTs, but we thought it would be useful to gather some of the best into one place:

Headteacher Update and SEC ED

Headteacher Update is the only magazine that is produced just for primary school headteachers in the UK.
The magazine contains articles on leadership problems, best practices, case studies and other information and resources for headteachers. The offline publication is published every two months and is distributed free of charge to all UK headteachers. The website provides more articles on best practices, useful resources and news.
Headteacher Update’s sister publication, SEC ED, offers similar information for secondary education heads, SLTs and teachers. It has a wide range of sections organised by theme and subject.
Check out https://www.headteacher-update.com and https://www.sec-ed.co.uk/.


SSAT is a membership site for schools worldwide, offering guidance to all members of school staff. It has separate membership options for primary schools, secondary schools and special schools.
Membership gives access to resources on topics such as: practical advice for achieving compliance with Ofsted requirements, creating a long-term vision, encouraging student leadership, tips on how to implement innovative practices based on the latest educational research and how to better collaborate with other schools.
The organisation also organises training courses and events on CPD and other important topics.
A 1-year primary school membership currently costs £275.00 + VAT and the secondary network membership is £1015.00 + VAT (Correct in July 2015).
For more information, go to: https://www.ssatuk.co.uk/.


NAHT is a trade union for professionals who hold leadership positions in primary, special and secondary schools, independent schools, sixth form and FE colleges, and other educational institutions.
Their website contains advice on topics such as Ofsted inspections, public engagement, performance tables, etc. They also organise training courses and events, and provide bespoke training for schools.
To get access to these resources you need to apply for a membership.
Find out more at https://www.naht.org.uk/.

School Food Plan

School Food Plan was created to help head teachers, senior leadership teams, and other members of school staff improve the quality of food served at school and help pupils enjoy food that is tasty, but also good for them. The website provides a ton of information about the impact of serving better food to students.
They also provide a complete checklist for headteachers with tips to help ensure that good, affordable food is served in an attractive environment, and that lunch is a time during which all children (including the ones eating their own packed lunch) can socialise and engage in fun activities afterwards.
The information on the website has the support of the Secretary of State for Education.