What Do Parents and Teachers Want From a School Website?

When a school makes the decision to build a new website, it’s essential to remember who are probably the most important members of their audience – the parents. Governors, board members and people from the local community are likely to log on from time to time to see what’s going on at their school, but parents are going to be visiting the site more than anyone else in an attempt to not only stay in touch with the latest events, but to find out important information such as term dates, upcoming trips and the photographs from the recent school production.

schoolwebsiteWebsites are now the first port of call for all kinds of information, with prospective parents likely to visit the site to find information about enrollment and whether it’s the right school for their child, and parents of existing pupils will want all of the latest information (mostly because their children tell them that school was ‘fine’ that day and nothing more!) As such, it’s important that the site is set up in a user-friendly way that presents information quickly and easily, and that it’s kept as up-to-date as possible, something that sites made by the likes of primarysite.net make easy.

Teachers are very busy with lessons to prepare for, work to mark, paperwork to do and parents to meet with, all on a daily basis, and they haven’t got the time to spend hours trying to log into a complicated system. They’re the best sources of information for what’s been happening in their class and parents will want to hear from them in relation to how the class is performing, what the children have been working on and any projects that they can prepare their children for in the future and producing a regular blog or news article can be beneficial in this respect.

The news section of a school website doesn’t have to be in relation to recent inspections and exam results – although this does make for interesting information from a parental perspective – you also want to make sure that the fun things are portrayed, showing that it’s a great environment for their children as opposed to the strict all-work-no-play schools that many parents are familiar with from their own childhoods because, after all, if you can make education fun and interesting then the children are likely to react positively.

Parents also want quick and easy access to things like the school prospectus and information about uniforms – what their children can and can’t wear and what they’re expected to wear each day. If they can find out information like this and school dinner prices, when they can and can’t take their children out of school for holidays and the resources they will need to buy such as textbooks and stationary all over the Internet, it can save them significant periods of time and also means they don’t have to find the time go to the school and speak to a busy member of staff.

I touched upon the importance of easy access to the news section from a school website, and the reason for this being such a key element of the site is that a lot of communication from the school to home gets ‘mislaid’ by the children. When a school produces a newsletter or sends home an important letter it can be left in the bottom of the child’s bag and the information is never passed on until it’s too late. However, with all of the information produced on the school website, parents can go onto the page themselves and find out all of the important news for themselves at their leisure.

This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson.  Follow her on Twitter: @katht35

1 Comment

  1. Ali

    December 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Great article – I agree with all of your points.

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