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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:23 pm
Posts: 925
Location: North London
I'm doing some work research on secondary school websites, and would love to get some input from others who use them regularly.

I would love to hear your thoughts as parents and teachers and others eg governors, school non-teaching staff etc as to what makes a good secondary school website.

What, in your view, should be on a good school website (other than the government requirements for policies, curriculum info etc) and what really shouldn't?

Any pet peeves, such as the way images are presented or navigation issues?

If a school you know of (secondary only please) has a particularly great website that you think sets the bar, please can you PM me a link.

Many thanks :D


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:28 am
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Have PM'd you.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4598
Location: Essex
One niggle - when a school has a new website, please could they go back to saying, 'section under construction', if this is the case? Rather than just linking to a page / heading with no following details.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:58 pm
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Glad the PM I sent was helpful.
Would echo Toadmum empty links are really annoying - BUT 'under construction' is also a little irritating. If they have to say under construction it should have a date by which they aim to complete the construction...


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8204
Location: Buckinghamshire
Oh, good grief! Don't get me started!

I use the websites of the 13 Bucks Grammars constantly, and I think most of them are pretty awful.

I also access the websites of dozens of other schools (grammar, other secondary and primary) around the country each year to research admissions and appeal enquiries on the forum, and very few of them are any better.

I could frankly write a 10,000 word dissertation on the topic, but I'm afraid time doesn't permit!

My rule of thumb is that the more headers, links, menus and sub-menus there are on the homepage, the worse the website is going to be to navigate and to provide me with any useful information at all.

My favourite site for ease of access, uncomplicated design and logical cascades of information is that of Aylesbury High School: http://www.ahs.bucks.sch.uk/

A place for everything, and everything in its place. :D

(No need to hide that in a PM: a bouquet to the webmaster/ webmistress at AHS!)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:35 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Oh, and I forgot to mention that most schools don't seem to realise that around 98% of their traffic is current parents looking for information, logins, uniform lists, ParentPay, timetables, exam results ...

They don't need to be "sold" the school in flashing graphics, slideshows, videos, etc, on the homepage every time they access it!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:55 pm
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My frustration is that my children's school has a website and then a VLE. I never know what to look for on each - you can guarantee the one I go to first isn't the right one though! I'm sure it makes complete sense to the staff, but it beats me. I have been impressed with their student support site though. I'll find the link and forward it.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
Posts: 630
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
I second the moan about separate sites for parent areas and the main website. I've even seen key dates different on both sites and it annoys me that both are updated as it is a waste of time.

A pet peeve for me are zombie pages like 'headteacher's blog' where last update was two years ago...

I find a large variation in what is made public. Some have minutes of the Governors, letters to parents, warts and all, others are fortresses of not telling the outside world anything.

Currently looking at schools and visiting a large number of websites I do see a lot of variety. I am seeing more move over to the 'all on one page' type sites with a menu at the top to jump you down, but it just keeps disorientating me. I also find some sites don't translate well to mobiles and the 'please use the links on the left to access...' messages where on the mobile version for that particular site the 'left' doesn't exist.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:44 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:23 pm
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Location: North London
Thank you all, this information is really helpful. Schools seem to be a sector where there is huge variation.


Sally-Anne wrote:
Oh, and I forgot to mention that most schools don't seem to realise that around 98% of their traffic is current parents looking for information, logins, uniform lists, ParentPay, timetables, exam results ...

They don't need to be "sold" the school in flashing graphics, slideshows, videos, etc, on the homepage every time they access it!

This point is really interesting, although, I do feel that maybe the 2% of potential parents do like the bells and whistles to draw them in, school websites maybe try to be too many things to too many people and end up not quite getting it right for any of them.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
DS2's school upgraded its website last academic year. After a few initial hiccups such as the calendar appearing to link to someone's personal work diary - I do hope that 'XYZ' eventually recovered from their long term ailment :shock: . (Fear not, it was only initials and from what I understand may not actually have been anything to do with the school), it seems to work well and is certainly more attractive than the old site. What the old site did have on its Language Dept link, though, was a 'short' featuring DS1 in a ?year 8 French roleplay session. I'm not sure whether he was aware that it had been put up on the site - if he was, he had never mentioned it to us and I only found it about a year after he left, in the run-up to DS2 joining the school. Sadly, the little video did not 'transition' to the new site :( .

Lemondrop - will PM you the link.

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