As most people are aware, schools have a legal duty to arrange for specific information to be published online. As part of their pre-inspection preparation, Ofsted Inspectors are instructed to check the school website for statutory compliance. There is even evidence that non-compliance can trigger an inspection.
Greenhouse School Websites have analysed data from over 1,000 school websites they have built. As director Andy Williams explains: “From analysis of our systems and extensive backtesting of schools who have been inspected, it’s clear that Ofsted give the school website an extremely thorough check.
“However, this is not all bad news, as our research has shown that these patterns are detectable. In many cases we are able to predict an inspection and provide schools with around five days notice with our Ofsted Inspection Early Warning System.”
Of course, schools still need to ensure that their statutory content is in place well in advance. The guidance is not always clear cut, and there are various myths in circulation, for example:
1. While providing a contact name for your school is now the law, this does not have to be on the homepage. It can be anywhere on the website - the contact page might be the best place. Surprisingly, an email address is not a requirement.
2. Only a handful of policies are required by law. However, you may find it useful to publish additional policies such as policies concerning snow and bad weather, holidays in term time etc.
3. A statement about your school's ethos and values is a legal requirement. There is however no guidance on format or word count so just label yours clearly.
You can request a FREE checklist from Greenhouse School Websites which covers these requirements and other useful suggestions for information which should be on your website.
We asked Olaia, content manager at Greenhouse School Websites, for her top tip: “Rather than force an inspector to rummage through your whole website, why not create a page of links to direct them to the relevant content? You’ll create the impression of a super organised school which is on top of everything!”
If the changes are still daunting, or you'd like an easier to update website, Greenhouse School Websites can help. They have an extensive, searchable portfolio of over 1000 school websites for ideas and inspiration.