You are on page 1of 3

Developing a Winning Image

A schools image and the mode by which they communicate to the


wider community becomes of increasing importance in the 21st Century. A
social media presence, online profile and website are a vital part of creating
the image a school wishes to project. But what guidelines are there to help
schools create a website that is cutting edge? Here are some rules to follow:
1. Determine your audience. Who your audience is will not only influence
the general aesthetic of the website but will also determine a lot of smaller
details, like font sizes (Fadeyev, 2008). Know what the aim of the website is
and stick to it. For example, are you trying to attract prospective students or
are you an already at capacity school that has the main goal of keeping
parents involvement to a maximum and creating a projected media image to
the wider community? The content on the site may differ depending on the
aim of the site.
2. Plan & Design. Careful planning and delegation of responsibility to the
various committee members will ensure there is adequate consideration of
which policies are vital to include. While there is no definitive list of items to
include on the website- it is important to get ideas from other schools who
are doing it right. The way the content is laid out will vary depending on the
emphasis of the school. Certain documents such as the schools Acceptable
use Policy and child safety expectations and anti-bullying policy are standard
practice but information about extra-curricular clubs or fieldtrips might not
be top priority. Logos of accreditation bodies should be clearly posted
however, copyright permission to post these logos must be sought from the
organizations. According to Eve Datisman, a library media specialist, a
planning committee must consider issues such as who will own work posted
and if copyright statements are needed (Sparr, 2002).
Before these discussions take place policies and dialogue should be
had regarding the policies of the school surrounding images of students as
presented on the website. The last two schools I have worked have felt that a
general waiver signed by parents (with an opt out clause) indicating that the
school has the right to use their childs image should they wish to was
deemed sufficient. These forms while convenient for the teachers likely do
not provide the best protection for the student and should be reconsidered.

Sketching out the headings and layout on paper should be done as a team.
Concentrate on making the design clear and straightforward. The simplest
design is often the best and I often tell my staff that if a five year old cannot
navigate the site independently then it is too complicated. Streamline and
simplify. Consider user experience and functionality above all else. Create
an interface that fades away and doesnt distract the user from accessing
the content (Fadeyev, 2008).
Determine your brand and the image you wish to portray. Our school
emphasizes inquiry based learning and outdoor education. If every photo we
displayed showed rote learning or sitting behind a computer there would be
some concern about the misleading nature of the website. In an international
school the website is a major marketing tool by which parents decide to send
their kids and international teachers decide if the schools philosophy
matches their own.
3. Update regularly. Prospective employees will be checking the website
and there is nothing more off putting than a website that looks dated and
underutilized, it signals neglect and inefficiency not things which inspire
confidence in potential employees. Sue Cox of Priory Rise school suggests
that a good website has saved her a considerable amount of time and money
in recruitment and instead of expensive ads she now can effectively recruit
directly from their own website.
4. Ongoing Assessment. Look at stats and analyse the analytics. How
many people are subscribed to the RSS feed? How many hits are you getting
a day? Look for patterns and use tools such as Google Analytics to measure
the results. In the end know that a good webpage is never static - it is always
a work in progress.

References

DeLoatch, P. (April 21, 2015). Edudemic- connection education & technology. As


Retrieved from:
http://www.edudemic.com/the-25-best-school-websites/

Fadeyev, D. (Nov. 5, 2008) Smashing Magazine. As retrieved from:


http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/05/strategic-design-6-steps-forbuildingsuccessful-websites/
Starr, L. (2002). Create a school website. As Retrieved from:
http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech014.shtml
Tarell, P. (2010) FloridaSmart. Designing quality school webpages. As retrieved from:
http://www.floridasmart.com/articles/designschool.htm
Prominent Media. As Retrieved from: http://www.prominentmedia.com/cs-priory-riseschool.aspx