Using Private Areas

Published: May 4, 2017

Storing information securely is a key concern for schools. For that reason, we you might find it useful to have a private area on your school website for governors, teachers or OFSTED.
School Jotter makes it easy to add and customise access to your own private area, requiring a login for users to access it.

1 – Firstly, make sure you have a user login set up. You can do this by going to the ‘admin’ section on your jotter site and clicking ‘add user’.
Fill out the details there with whatever you want the user to log in with. Check their application roles have ‘Site’ set to ‘Viewer’ or above.

2 – Then, return to the site. Click ‘Manage’ and ‘Pages’ and then find the page you want to make private in the left hand side. Click ‘access’.

3 – Check ‘private page’ and then enter the name of the user you want to be able to access the page. Set their access to ‘view only’. This will be automatically saved.

Log out of School Jotter and when viewing the page as a non administrator you will be asked for your login credentials.

You can use your new private area to upload confidential documents and share meeting dates, improving communication between staff, governors or your PTA.

Closing the Gender Gap in Literacy

Published: July 19, 2016

As a retired primary teacher I find it unsurprising that numerous studies show a gender gap where girls are significantly outperforming boys in literacy. One of the latest studies, commissioned by Save the Children, has found that the female advantage is established even before they step foot in the classroom. Understanding the Gender Gap in Literacy and Language Development was undertaken by researchers from Bristol University’s Graduate School of Education. Apparently in the 2014/15 school year, one in four boys were behind in language at age five and started Reception without being able to follow simple instructions or speak a full sentence. The report also states that for those children who start school behind, few will catch up.

While the gap appears to exist for all socio-economic groups, it was wider for those children eligible for free school lunches. Whereas the overall ratio was 25% of boy starters unable to answer simple “how” and “why” questions compared to 14% of girls, this escalated to 35% and 23% for lower income families. Several of the schools where I taught had ‘breakfast clubs’ before school, run by volunteers. It was a sad fact that this club was bursting at the seams. Whether this was simply due to poor time management by parents or because of economic factors, cereal and toast were gobbled up greedily. Once the children’s blood sugar levels rose, behaviour improved and they stayed on task longer. But where gender difference is concerned, evidence from the Save the Children study couldn’t definitively point to biological, developmental or social causes. An earlier study in 2008 by the Institute of Education (part of the Millennium Cohort Study) found that for both sexes attainment was better for children with two working parents, particularly if they held qualifications. Pupils in stepfamilies or with one parent had lower achievement.
Department for Education
The DfE produced a report in 2009 entitled Gender and Education – Mythbusters Addressing Gender and Achievement: Myths and Realities where they tended to refute most of the gender gap findings, however the evidence spoke for itself when it came to girls attaining higher in English. At key stage two, the gap is considerably wider for writing than reading but this is hardly news to me, as I repeatedly felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall trying to get boys to write. The DfE say that increased provision has been made for Early Years practitioners to try and redress the gender gap but is it too little, too late?
I recall an old study that maintained girls were better communicators because female babies tended to be carried facing inwards, whereas boys faced outwards. Facing inwards allowed babies to see their parents’ faces and be spoken to directly. They would learn to read facial expressions and understand nuance more quickly than if carried outwards. Somewhat controversially, the Save the Children study advocates treating boys more like girls. Girls tend to be sung to and have nursery rhymes recited to them. The researchers want to boys to experience this in equal measures, as well as having storybooks read to them and being given rewards for good performance. More creative activities such as painting and drawing are also seen as a way to help with cognitive development. But is it fair to lay all the blame at parents’ feet for the gender gap in attainment? Schools need to build a trusting relationship with parents and carers, working with them to promote the importance of one-on-one activities at home. Pupils need to be taught the value of being self-reliant and independent learners, which will raise self-esteem.
Role Models
There are relatively few male Early Years practitioners in UK schools. It’s more typical for men to teach at secondary level, with a view to obtaining headships. With so many single parent families where dad is seldom seen, a positive male role model is vital. In my last primary school they had no less than four male teachers out of 12, one of whom was in Early Years. This state school had some of the best behaviour I’d experienced and the male teachers certainly contributed to that. They provided a different caring style and allowed children to see a more natural gender mix, representative of society. Surely the DfE should do more to recruit male teachers into primary and particularly Early Years.
Methods of Delivery
There is little doubt that even the youngest pupils relate to technology, as it can be exciting and varied. In my KS1 class, while girls would often grab a book and sit in the reading corner, the boys competed for the two computers where they could play games, albeit with an educational objective. More provision should be made at Foundation Stage for pupils to have access to a virtual learning environment. Lower achievers could work through specially designed modules to help them catch up with language skills. As many schools may not have the funds to provide sufficient portable devices to use, a BYOD (bring your own device) policy could be introduced, so that pupils could bring in a tablet or smartphone from home. If boys are more reluctant to read and write, interactive storyboards and gamification could provide the catalyst needed to spark their interest. The beauty of BOYD is that any elearning content can be easily accessed at home as well as at school, hopefully encouraging parents to get more invested in their children’s education.

Website of the week – St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School

Published: April 25, 2016

This week we are looking at the website created by St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School based in Shipley, West Yorkshire. It’s great to see that the school has recently redesigned their website.
There is a nice welcoming message on the homepage that introduces the school and its Catholic values. The homepage also includes useful features like information regarding the latest events and live Twitter feed to help everyone stay up to date with important things happening at school.

The school website is well designed and it’s easy to navigate. There are main contact details, navigation and language bars at the top of the page. The menu is located on the left of the homepage and it includes the learning resources and other useful information for students, teachers and parents.The school is uploading a weekly newsletter to the website which is a great way to improve engagement and to keep everyone updated with the latest news regarding school.

Overall, a great website redesign using School Jotter. Well done!

Website of the week – St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School

Published: April 18, 2016

Celebrating a Digital Milestone: Website of the Week

St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. recently earned the spotlight as the “Website of the Week” on, an accolade that speaks volumes in the educational sector. This prestigious recognition holds great significance in the world of education. It leads us to wonder: what sets St. Anthony’s website apart from the sea of other school websites in the digital world?

Why St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School Website was chosen as the website of the week?

Firstly, I like the school website design. The layout of the website makes it look modern and professional. Yellow and blue colours dominating the website make it look child-friendly and they go well with the colours of school uniforms. There is a nice welcoming message on the homepage which introduces the school and gives an idea about some of the school values. The welcoming message appears on the top of some images of students which always make a website look more personalised.

The website is full of useful content and learning resources and it is easy to navigate. Another great feature of this school website is an option to subscribe to the weekly newsletter. It is a great way to engage with parents and to keep them up to date with the latest school events and other important announcements.

What are the essential elements for the school website for ‘St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School’?

Key Elements of St. Anthony’s Website

  1. Intuitive Navigation: The website is designed for ease of use, allowing visitors to find information swiftly and efficiently.
  2. Current and Comprehensive Information: Regularly updated, the website serves as a reliable resource for the latest school news, policies, and educational resources.
  3. Aesthetically Pleasing Design: The website combines elegance and functionality, featuring a design that is both visually appealing and reflective of the school’s ethos.
  4. Inclusive Accessibility: The website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, ensuring equitable access to information.
  5. Rich Educational Content: The site is a treasure trove of educational materials, offering insights into the school’s curriculum, extracurricular activities, and learning philosophies.
  6. Community Connection: The website effectively bridges the gap between the school and its wider community, showcasing events, achievements, and the school’s impact.

Well done to St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School!

What are the school website features that help to engage with parents?

Engaging Parents: The Features That Stand Out

  1. Dedicated Parent Section: A specialised area for parents offers tailored information, ranging from school policies and procedures to guidance on supporting their children’s education.
  2. Interactive Event Calendar: This feature keeps parents in the loop regarding school events, term dates, and important deadlines.
  3. Newsletter Integration: Regular newsletters keep parents connected with the heartbeat of school life, providing updates, stories, and achievements.
  4. Feedback Channels: The website encourages parent feedback, fostering a collaborative relationship and ensuring that parent voices are heard.
  5. Social Media Links: By integrating social media, the website offers a dynamic and real-time glimpse into daily school activities and announcements.
  6. Multilingual Options: Recognising the diverse backgrounds of its community, the website provides multilingual support, making it accessible and inclusive for all parents.

Conclusion: A Blueprint for Success

The website of St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School is a true embodiment of what a primary school website should strive for. More than just a source of information, it serves as a dynamic and inviting digital platform that truly embodies the school’s dedication to excellence, inclusivity, and community involvement. It has been recognized as a “Website of the Week,” setting a noteworthy benchmark for other schools and showcasing the potential of a thoughtfully designed website to enhance a school’s communication and educational objectives.

Website of the week – Hillcrest Early Years Academy

Published: April 11, 2016

It’s always great to see outstanding schools choosing School Jotter for building their websites. This week we are looking at the website of the week created by Hillcrest Early Years Academy. The school is based in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire and it has been rated as outstanding by OFSTED in 2014/2015.

What’s great about this website is that the homepage is not used to store all the information related to the school. Instead, the school focused on displaying some nice images of students on the homepage as well as some basic information like contact details, awards and a language bar. Even the menu is unique and it only has five icons with links to other pages regarding curriculum and other relevant information.

The school website features bright colours that make the website look child-friendly which is perfect for the early years academy. One of the things I found under ‘Academy Information’ page is ‘10 reasons to choose Hillcrest Early Years Academy’. I think it’s a great way to promote the strongest aspects of the school to the wider community. Other pages are full of useful information, including learning resources, information for parents, gallery and other relevant content for parents, teachers and pupils.

Overall, a good-looking and informative website created by the Hillcrest Early Years Academy!

Easter Egg Decoration Ideas for the Classroom [Infographic]

Published: March 15, 2016

Have you started creating egg-related lesson plans? If not, you still have time for that. Easter is the perfect time for engaging students in some fun classroom activities.
There are many different ways for celebrating Easter in the classroom. Baking Easter biscuits, egg hunt, colouring Easter themed  illustrations, singing Easter songs, or maybe painting and decorating eggs? Check out our latest infographic to get some inspiration for decorating Easter eggs in the classroom.

Don’t forget about our Easter egg decoration competition!
You have a chance to win your very own GIANT Betty’s 5.4 kg chocolate egg!
Get creative and decorate an egg as your favourite character, animal or in any weird and wonderful way you like. Then, make a picture of your egg and tweet it to @Webanywhere and see if you have won. The competition will end on Tuesday 22nd March.

Website of the week – Pinehurst Primary School

Published: February 8, 2016

We’ve got another great website of the week that has been created by Pinehurst Primary School based in Liverpool, Merseyside. Great design, a lot of good content and relevant information are some of the main features that a good school website needs, and this school did a really good job!

I think this school website has a very unique design. It seems that the homepage includes quite a lot of different features while still looking organised and easy to navigate. You can notice the school values as soon as you open the website. They are followed by the photo gallery with some nice pictures of students and the information about school.

There is a useful navigation bar for finding information and a language bar which translates website into any language you need. I really like how the school included ‘latest news’ and ‘upcoming events’ on the homepage. It’s nice to see that the school is regularly updating these two sections with latest news and events. This information can help engage with students, parents and the wider community. What is more, the school has included a link to their Twitter page and a live Twitter feed which is another great way for engaging with everyone.

Overall, a really well-designed primary school website with great content. Well done to Pinehurst Primary!

Website of the week – Highbury School

Published: January 25, 2016

This week’s Website of the Week comes to us from an extraordinary school based in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. Highbury is a community primary school providing for children from two to eleven years who have a range of special educational needs that could not be met in regular schools.
My first thought when I saw this website was that it looks really good. Warm colours, animal illustrations and images of children make this website look very child-friendly which is what we would expect from a primary school website. Highbury school did a really good job making the website look child-friendly and still very professional at the same time.

Website is really easy to navigate. You can find the main contact details at the top of the page which is very useful. Another great thing about this website is the navigation bar which makes finding information even easier. The ‘About Us’ page includes information about school, its values and other useful information. The main information concerning students and parents can be found under ‘General Information’ and ‘Parents and Carers’ pages.
All children are divided into classes that are named after different animals which is a very nice way to engage with students. Illustrations of all animals can be found on the homepage and those illustrations direct you to the blogs of each class. Each blog features information regarding latest events and news about classes.
Another extraordinary school and another great looking primary school website. Congratulations to Highbury School!

Times tables ‘to be tested by age 11’

Published: January 8, 2016

BBC News recently published an article regarding the new way of testing how well students know times tables. According to new government plans, students aged 11 will be expected to know their times tables up to 12×12 and they will be tested using an “on-screen check”. Students will be able to do this test by completing multiplication challenges against the clock, which will be scored instantly.
“Every pupil in England will be tested on their times tables before leaving primary school, under government plans”.
“The Department for Education says it is the first use of on-screen technology in National Curriculum tests”.

According to new plans, the checks will be piloted to about 3,000 pupils in 80 primary schools this summer, before being rolled out across the country in 2017. The decision to test students was based on the opinion that maths was a non-negotiable aspect of a good education. What is more, it has been noticed that some students continue to struggle with the times table; this test is seen as an opportunity to deliver educational excellence.

In addition to other benefits, this test is expected to help teachers recognise students who might be falling behind and it should also help target those areas that require more attention.
However, Labour says standards are being threatened by a shortage of teachers, and in the past some teaching unions have warned additional tests can place unwelcome pressure on teachers and pupils. Similarly, in the article published on The Telegraph, it has been noted that testing at a young age, when pupils have not developed their resilience and coping strategies, should be kept to a minimum and for the very young it is best avoided. It has also been acknowledged that teachers should have the freedom to use time more productively rather than putting pupils through a times table test.
Therefore, it can be agreed that alongside expected benefits, it is important to acknowledge all the possible negative aspects that might be resulted by this new test. The learning of times tables is obviously very important – but is a special test necessary?

Infographic: Reward Systems in Primary Schools

Category: Infographics

Published: November 18, 2015

Many education experts argue on the effectiveness of reward systems in schools. Traditional rewards like stickers and sweets are losing their value, as nowadays students are more interested in virtual goods like avatars and accessories. Our School Merits app (free to Webanywhere customers) motivates students to go the extra mile by providing them with Merit points, which can be used to purchase avatar accessories, donate to charities or even buy other items of their choice.
We’ve created the infographic below to show the main advantages and disadvantages of using reward systems in schools.