As a trust leader, you will be familiar with Ofsted or the Government’s requirements for your MAT website. These include things like having the name of the CEO, a whistleblowing policy and financial information easily accessible.
But when it comes to creating a website that’s appealing to all of your audiences – that includes current staff and parents, but also prospective staff and parents, as well as schools that might be considering joining a MAT – what are some of the ‘musts’ to make your site an asset rather than something that damages you?
Here’s what we think are essentials for your website:
The chances are the majority of parents won’t be using a desktop to look at your website. Compatibility for a mobile device is a 21st-century must. This is especially true when it comes to checking information. Ask yourself, is a PDF really the best way to be sharing important details?
Think about it this way – a PDF has to be downloaded on to a mobile device and is often difficult to read with small font sizes.
By displaying information, such as a newsletter, directly on your site you’ll be encouraging more parents to engage with it. And, yes, this is something that Comms for Schools can do without taking up any of your important admin time.
Professional images give a site a good feel. They make the site look professional and they emphasise that you are professional. Find out more about the benefits of professional photography.
You may think that this minor detail should be further down the list, but don’t underestimate the importance of using a font size that is easy to read. If the font is too small, people will be less inclined to spend the time on the site they need to be finding out important information about your MAT.
By easy navigation, we mean a simple menu bar that is easy to decipher and straightforwardly directs people to the information they need.
We often see menu bars that are overcomplicated, and where simple things such as contact details or key information about the leadership team are hard to find.
By streamlining your site and making the most important details easy to reach, you won’t only be creating a site that is easy to engage with. You will likely be reducing the number of phone calls you receive from prospective parents and staff asking simple questions that could easily be answered on your site.
Brand identity is important, even within a school or MAT. Make sure your website uses consistent font style, colours and logos across all of its pages. This is important because it helps to establish your MAT’s unique vision, values and ethos.
Consistent branding is also something to consider when it comes to the websites of the schools within your MAT – how easy it is to recognise that a school is a part of your trust?
A consistent brand across all of your school websites will help prospective parents, staff and even SATs who may be looking to merge with your trust easily identify your MAT.