Before we designed our 1st school website, we did thorough research to determine what the demands for a successful school website are. What parents, teachers and learners are looking for in a school website?
We looked at various school websites, spoke to parents, learners and old-scholars of different schools and had various meetings and discussions with teachers and members of school governing bodies. The lack of regularly updating the website with new information and results and the loss of information about achievements and results of previous years was the main concern. Previous achievements and results were deleted to make place for new ones. No history was created.
We put together a website framework (template) for schools based on the demands as discussed below. The layout of the framework is adjustable to give each school an individual and unique web appearance.
DEMANDS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL WEBSITE
The following was generally the demands by parents, learners and personnel for a school website:
- Regular updated information – sport results, achievements, upcoming events
- History – background of school; mission; school anthem; history of school – including information on achievements, sport results, etc. of previous years. All information must be kept on the website for the future.
- Map – parents want a easy map to other schools
- Calendar – easy to read and regular updated calendar
- Mobile friendly – more and more people access and browse the internet via their cell phone
- Contact details – correct and complete contact details of the school
- Downloadable documents – weekly newsletter, admission forms, etc
- Regular info and feedback – Governing body, supporter clubs, etc
- Advertisements – parents are interested in affordable advertising / school can generate an income or give exposure to sponsors
- Video clips – events, information evenings, sport, message from headmaster, etc
- Easy system to update website – one of the reasons for the lack of regularly updating is because the administrator finds it difficult to update
BUILDING THE SCHOOL HISTORY
The website is built on a database, so all information stay… forever – the database only gets bigger. By regularly updating the website an online history of the school is created.
It doesn’t work like many current websites where information must be deleted to allow you to add new information.
No, yesterday’s information only move to the background when you add today’s information. In other words, information of last year’s A-candidates is not replaced by those of this year, or last week’s sport result don’t make way for this week’s results. All information stays on the website. A learner will be able to visit the website in 10 years time and all information and images of the time that he/she was in school will be on the website database.
To complete the online history, you can add photos, achievements and information of previous years over time.