School websites are important as they help to bridge the gap between life at school and life outside of it. They should give all users the right information without any issues, but not everyone is aware of all the features that should be included on a school website.
It should be noted that while some of these features are recommended, others are a requirement for any school website. However, deciding what is desirable and what is a necessity is not always easy. So, to improve your knowledge and help you make an informed decision, we have written a list of the essential features of a school website.
Uploading and Downloading
Having an area in which you can upload content would be highly beneficial and something that is recommended but should, perhaps, be a requirement. It would allow students to upload any homework to submit to their teachers. Adding a download feature would mean they would never again need to remember to take their homework assignments away with them after class as it would already be accessible at home.
It’s essential that any school website includes a news section. Again, this is not a requirement, but it would help those interested in the school to find out all the right information. It’s a great idea as any relevant news stories can then later be shared on social media which may help to grow and strengthen the school community. It would also be beneficial to have the news in different sections, so any news that is specifically about the school should appear separately from any other news topics included.
Having exam dates on the site is another thing that’s recommended, as it would give users all the relevant information they need to prepare for their upcoming exams. Keeping students informed of exam dates is a requirement and having the information accessible online at all times will assist users in working out their own personal timetables.
A social area would give all users the ability to connect in a neutral and secure environment, which could help users build relationships with one another. Encouraging collaboration in this space may also help with students’ learning or the teaching of a particular topic. Although this feature is only a recommendation, it could offer far more than you think.
An events calendar is another recommended feature for any school website simply because it lets all users know what’s going on and when. If there are events happening soon it may even be worth creating an alert to inform all users, be it for a class trip or school social.
Online timetables are a requirement for any school website. They are great for students and teachers as it allows them to easily check what they will be doing when. It’s also great for users to keep a check on any lessons they may need to prepare for.
Having the school’s Ofsted report on the website is a requirement as it allows any users to check whether or not the school is for them. Not only is this beneficial for prospective students that may be thinking of attending the school but it’s also good for teachers that may be looking to work there.
Adding all term dates to the website isn’t a requirement but it would be incredibly useful as users would then be able to make plans that fit their timetable. It’s also useful as staff will then be able to book holidays and check holidays in advance.
For any school, this section is a must-have as it will allow any prospective students to apply to attend the school. However, this is also beneficial to staff as it will ultimately make the admissions process easier and less complicated.
It’s also essential to have a list of contactable people on the website as there will no doubt be many people wanting to inquire about various things that happen at the school. Not only will this help the school but also the students and parents, should they need to call in.
A school website should also have a support system that allows all users to ask for help. Although this is only a recommendation, it’s something that should be on any school website. Whether it’s for support using the website itself or support for students and teachers, this is one section that should be a must-have on all school websites.
Policy and Complaints
Lastly, the school’s policy should appear on the site, as well as a complaints area. This feature allows the school to be transparent and gives users peace of mind that the school is up to the required standards. Not to mention, it will give users an area to voice any concerns in hopes that any issues will be resolved in a speedier fashion.
There are all kinds of schools with bespoke websites that cater to the needs of every individual that uses it, and then there are those that only give the essential and required information. Ultimately, it depends on what the school wants to say on its website, and it should be noted that not all schools are the same. After reading this though, you should now know all the essential requirements of a school website – something that may later come in handy.