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Is Your Website Working for Your School?

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When used effectively, a school website can support:

  • Communication: A digital space for community and whānau to connect;
  • Information: An online brochure for sharing your story with outside communities;
  • Administration: A reference point for bell schedules, term dates, and reporting absences.

Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to step back and see what’s not working when you’ve been looking at your own site for years. You may not realise what information is hard for visitors to find, and how users are really interacting with your site. 
 

Assessing your site

When trying to determine the efficiency of your own site, here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • What are you trying to achieve with your website? What is its primary job? Is it being successful?
  • Who is visiting your website? Why are they there? What do they need? 

 

Design with your communities in mind

When it comes to meeting the needs of your website's audience, most schools have two distinct key stakeholders to plan for:  

  • Audience One: New parents and community members who want to know about the local school. They could be looking for general information, or considering enrolling their child in the future;
  • Audience Two: Current parents and community members who want to stay informed about the school. They could be looking for upcoming school events, or wanting to report that their child will be absent that day.

 

For Audience One, the primary reason of your school’s website is to serve as an online brochure. Your website needs to show visitors from outside your current school community who you are and what you are about.

For this reason, it would be a good idea to introduce your school by sharing your mission, vision, motto, key staff members, and/or curriculum framework. The Ministry of Education requires a school to design their curriculum considering their community context. This introduction is a great platform to outline how your curriculum design specifically responds to ākonga and whānau needs and aspirations, facilitates learning connections, and strengthens partnerships with your whānau, hapū, Iwi, and community. Visit the MoE website to learn more about these priorities.

Once you have successfully introduced yourself to your visitors, make sure to then provide the necessary information and contact details so they have the chance to introduce themselves to you. By providing clear steps for visitors to take to get in touch, you can ease the process of turning this ‘visitor’ into a prospective new community member. With this in mind, can you think of any ways that your current site can assist in the enrolment process or help facilitate career opportunities at your school? 

 

For Audience Two, the primary reason of your school’s website is to supply useful information such as schedules, announcements, etc. and provide a point of connection for your current school community.

For this reason, it is a good idea to have an entire section dedicated to sharing upcoming events, highlighting important dates, sharing interesting and relevant news, and providing direct links to class blogs, apps, and social media. Overall, you want to include anything that might help foster, encourage and strengthen ties to your school community. Again, an MoE imperative.

With a little creativity, you can make your school website truely engaging and help encourage parents and staff to revisit, share, and connect, not only with the school, but with each other. 


Not sure if your school website is performing at its peak? Our team can help.

Get in touch with our team to learn about our in-house School Website Solution, or have a play around our live demo school website now at school.tts.co.nz

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