Your school website is the perfect tool for communicating with parents – and a great opportunity for them to engage with your school. It means that, instead of having to pop into the school, or find the phone number, they can discover what their child has been up to, read about forthcoming events and even meet the staff, from the comfort of their armchair.
But what exactly do parents want from a school website? A recent discussion on Mumsnet threw up some interesting comments and suggestions for what would make a good school website for parents – and it also highlighted that, in some cases, parents maybe aren’t getting the information they need from their child’s school website.
The most popular requirements for a good school website were probably the most obvious: many mums expressed a need for a list of upcoming events, online versions of school newsletters and a term diary to all be included.
But other popular suggestions were for content that would help parents engage with the school more – things that don’t always seem a priority when a school website is put together. School club details, school uniform list and that week’s homework were all mentioned, with Mumsnet user meredeux suggesting a “List of holiday activities to replace all those leaflets that keep coming home in the bookbags.”
User piprabbit added: “It needs to build its links to social media especially as there are very active FB groups relating to the school.”
Ofsted reports, school rules and copies of letters home were also listed, so that parents could more actively help their children in the evenings, as was a contacts page – maybe even a teacher ‘about’ section. Which suggests that parents are much more keen to be engaged with their child’s school, on all levels, than you might expect.
Some of the users on Mumsnet even provided details of their favourite sites – with user veritythebrave saying they liked the curriculum and classes part on Shipley C of E Primary School’s School Jotter site. Their website is a content-full, extensive one, and they’ve included most of the popular features mumsnet users mentioned.
The comments in the Mumsnet discussion could provide a useful basis from which to plan your school’s website. Obviously, the more appropriate the content and the easier your website is to navigate around, the more useful it’ll be for the parents to use, and the more they’ll use it. But remember that, as well as being a news portal to get messages to parents, and a great advertising tool for attracting new pupils, your school website is also the perfect opportunity to allow parents to get more involved with the school and its activities, and provide more input into what you do.
Your school website is a vital tool for communication in today’s digital world: make sure you make the most of it!