Great school websites are the ones that really know what their audience wants. In the case of Burlington Infants School, Bridlington, there are curriculum details and newsletters for parents, links to fun websites for children, and Burlington Infants’ history for those interested in the school.
What we also like about Burlington Infants School’s website is the thought that’s gone into every section: so you have the ‘Our School’ section, which includes their mission statement, the history and comments from parents – a fantastic way to promote themselves. There’s the gallery, which is broken down into albums, like the Autumn 2012 collection of images with a link to the term’s planning too (what the children were learning during the term and events during the term).
But best of all there’s the archive: you can go back and look what’s happened at Burlington Infants School over the last couple of years. Of course, the longer the school has their School Jotter website, the more extensive this section will become!
What’s most apparent about the website though, is that it looks like it has become such an integral part of school life for them. With the colourful design, it makes for an exciting introduction to a friendly school. No pictures of Bridlington seafront though – which we were very disappointed about!
You can view the Burlington Infants School website here.
At Webanywhere we love School Jotter. So it’s nice to hear feedback from School Jotter users who also love it – and, in fact, have used it to change the way they interact with parents and the outside world.
One such school is Otley Street Nursery School, in Skipton, North Yorkshire. A School Jotter user of four years, they recently told us how happy they’ve been using the product – and how it’s meant they have a website that’s not only easy for the staff to upload to and update, but convenient for parents to stay engaged with school life and what their child’s up to.
Mrs Margaret Sharples, of Otley Street Nursery School, recently spoke to us about their School Jotter experience – and you can read the results here.
Of the comments Mrs Sharples made, the one that really put a smile on our faces was this one:
“I’ve recommended it to other people. Websites are a minefield but with School Jotter everything is done for you.”
Which just about sums up everything we wanted to achieve with School Jotter. If you’re a School Jotter user and want to tell us about how much you love it and what it’s done to improve your interaction with parents – please get in touch. We’ll publish the best stories!
Ben Rhydding Primary School’s website has been a favourite of ours for some time – so it’s great to return to it this week and see it’s still being regularly and lovingly updated.
The design of the website strikes you first: a beautifully-created header that sums up the school perfectly, with rolling hills, the mountains familiar to locals (the school being based in up in the hills of the West Yorkshire Pennines), and bright, bold colours.
Going deeper into the website, it’s a trove of information about the school; there’s plenty of information here that parents will love – but also lots for new visitors to digest and be impressed with, if they’re considering the school for their child. There’s even information about the local area in the ‘Our Community’ section – mentioning the ‘cow and calf rocks’ which also feature in the colourful website header design.
Other information that’s great for new visitors looking for a school is the ‘Pupils’ section, with information about ‘Lunchtime Buddies’ (children who help out the lunchtime supervisors), school clubs information (Ben Rhydding boasts everything from a Girls’ Football Club to a Disco Dancing Club – we’d love to be a member of that one!) and class curriculum details.
When parents want to know the hard facts about how the school performs, they’re all there too – and under the ‘About Us’ section we’re pleased to note Ben Rhydding received a glowing report from Ofsted. We hope Ofsted loved the website too, as much as we do.
You can take a look at the Ben Rhydding Primary School website yourself, by clicking here.
When your pupils’ parents visit your school website this month, it won’t just be to see their children in the Nativity play. It won’t just be to find out when the last day of term is.
There’s a whole host of ways your school website can attract more visitors, and stay engaged with parents this winter. It’ll make using your website a more enjoyable experience.
There was a time when parents and children alike would have an ear glued to the radio whenever it snowed, just in case their school announced it’d be closed for the day. Still, you’d always find there were the odd few parents who didn’t get the message – making a wasted journey through the snow and ice to drop off their children.
These days, parents can stay informed of snow days by merely visiting your website, when you can keep them updated not just on whether you’re closing or not, but whether you think you may be closed for longer. School Jotter 2 allows you to update your school website wherever you are, even if you only have a tablet to hand – with easy editing capabilities. School Jotter 2 also offers an update app option, which allows parents to stay informed via a free app they can download. It’ll update them instantly as soon as you add news content to your website.
Christmas time could be a perfect excuse for a non-uniform day. Charging pupils, say, 50p to come to school in non-uniform is an opportunity to raise money for the school, and it helps them relax a little in the run-up to Christmas. You can inform parents of the special day via the website – and keep them up to date with how much you’ve raised. Building excitement around the day and your aim to collect enough money to, say, buy a tablet for the school may even inspire some parents to give more than just 50p!
End Of Term Awards
It’s the end of the year and the end of term – a great opportunity to award pupils for the hard work they’ve put in since September. Announce the awards via the website and every parent will be proud of their child – meaning greater engagement between parent, pupil and school, and a greater incentive to hit the ground running in 2013.
Pictures of the awards being handed out, with smiling pupils and the work they’ve been awarded for, would make great website content and plenty of festive ‘feelgood factor.’
Your website is the perfect tool for sending out a Christmas message to parents – both from the school and from the children. If your pupils are making and sending Christmas cards to each other this month, the school website is where you can showcase them. If you have a learning platform and a student e-portfolio system, encouraging children to send each other e-cards via the messaging system will improve student interaction and build relationships between them.
International Christmas Celebrations
Your website is great for showing the work done within school. So a task for pupils like demonstrating how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas – and pictures of their work posted on your website – shows the world how forward-thinking and all-encompassing your school is. It makes great content away from the typical Christmas activities – and may introduce your school to a much wider audience!
And Not Forgetting…
Decorations! Your school website is your shop window to the world – to parents and potential new pupils alike. So decorate especially for the season – with fun, colourful images, some season’s greetings – maybe even a colour scheme change for the month!
It’s always great to see a school that takes real pride in the work it does, in the activities that take place, and the achievements of the pupils.
By using School Jotter, schools can use this pro-active approach to engage more with children and parents. This is exactly what Castle Bromwich Junior School, Birmingham have done: resulting in a school website that’s interactive and fun to visit. In fact, we were so impressed with how good their website looks, we’ve made it our Website Of The Week.
The best thing about Castle Bromwich Junior School’s site is how regularly it’s updated. Particularly the news section – with stories covering everything from the netball team’s latest game results, to information for parents on the next school disco. There’s even a group news section – where the children can write about the latest happenings within the school.
The school also use their website to interact with children out of class time. They can access information about the school houses and find online resources regarding e-safety. The website also makes great use of Spellanywhere, so that children can practice for spelling tests or learn the days of the week.
With so much content that’s as equally engaging for parents as it is the pupils, the Castle Bromwich Junior School website is a perfect example of a school connecting with its community online.
You can take a look at the Castle Bromwich Junior School yourself, by clicking here.
Your school website is the perfect tool for communicating with parents – and a great opportunity for them to engage with your school. It means that, instead of having to pop into the school, or find the phone number, they can discover what their child has been up to, read about forthcoming events and even meet the staff, from the comfort of their armchair.
But what exactly do parents want from a school website? A recent discussion on Mumsnet threw up some interesting comments and suggestions for what would make a good school website for parents – and it also highlighted that, in some cases, parents maybe aren’t getting the information they need from their child’s school website.
The most popular requirements for a good school website were probably the most obvious: many mums expressed a need for a list of upcoming events, online versions of school newsletters and a term diary to all be included.
But other popular suggestions were for content that would help parents engage with the school more – things that don’t always seem a priority when a school website is put together. School club details, school uniform list and that week’s homework were all mentioned, with Mumsnet user meredeux suggesting a “List of holiday activities to replace all those leaflets that keep coming home in the bookbags.”
User piprabbit added: “It needs to build its links to social media especially as there are very active FB groups relating to the school.”
Ofsted reports, school rules and copies of letters home were also listed, so that parents could more actively help their children in the evenings, as was a contacts page – maybe even a teacher ‘about’ section. Which suggests that parents are much more keen to be engaged with their child’s school, on all levels, than you might expect.
Some of the users on Mumsnet even provided details of their favourite sites – with user veritythebrave saying they liked the curriculum and classes part on Shipley C of E Primary School’s School Jotter site. Their website is a content-full, extensive one, and they’ve included most of the popular features mumsnet users mentioned.
The comments in the Mumsnet discussion could provide a useful basis from which to plan your school’s website. Obviously, the more appropriate the content and the easier your website is to navigate around, the more useful it’ll be for the parents to use, and the more they’ll use it. But remember that, as well as being a news portal to get messages to parents, and a great advertising tool for attracting new pupils, your school website is also the perfect opportunity to allow parents to get more involved with the school and its activities, and provide more input into what you do.
Your school website is a vital tool for communication in today’s digital world: make sure you make the most of it!