school website is crap ..is yours?

(85 Posts)
ggirl Sat 26-Jan-13 15:08:00

I know they have better things to worry about and it's more important they are teaching and they may not have time to keep it up to date
but
there isn't even a school calendar on it
it's woefully out of date
and basically shit

sorry having a gripe

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 15:23:49

DSs are actually quite good. But I have seen some really woeful ones. They are never updated are they and there's a calendar but it's blank. confused Not great for prospective parents trying to get info.

I love DS2's. His class has a page and a blog with pictures, they update every week. smile

Yep, ours is too. The photos on it are all 4 years out of date, no Policies attached, the Moodle has never worked, no one monitors it or changes Staff/Governor info.

ggirl Sat 26-Jan-13 15:26:17

there is however a recent photo of the head hmm

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 26-Jan-13 15:30:10

Ours is like that too.

tribpot Sat 26-Jan-13 15:40:10

Ours is very poor too - it looks like something designed about ten years ago (and inevitably crashed on Monday when people were trying to get to it for snow updates).

I can fully understand why it's not a priority for them, but they'd be better off really with a single, well-designed page of basic info and perhaps a Facebook page which would be easier to keep up-to-date. (My suspicion is they don't actually know how to maintain the website themselves - again, understandable).

After the snow-pocalypse (the SMS service crashed as well) I am going to suggest they think about moving to something with a better infrastructure and embrace Web 2.0. I predict this will go down like a lead balloon smile

HumphreyCobbler Sat 26-Jan-13 15:42:06

ours is ok - all the newsletters there and we could look at see if the school was open or closed during the snow

mrz Sat 26-Jan-13 15:42:56

we've just had a new web site designed unfortunately no one has been given access to update items yet. The idea is staff will update their own class eventually.

EcoLady Sat 26-Jan-13 15:43:41

Well done to all you willing volunteers for contacting your schools to generously offer to update their website for them.
hmm

<Goes back to creating innovative resources to engage and inspire my pupils...>

HumphreyCobbler Sat 26-Jan-13 15:45:22

I think you are right tribpot, most teacher don't have the knowledge to maintain it themselves. I also agree about Facebook page, I also use that all the time.

There are so many things need doing, as a class teacher you are NEVER on top of it. In my last school the head gave someone paid time to update it which worked well, but not every head will do this.

tribpot Sat 26-Jan-13 15:47:43

Eco - actually that is what I intend to do. I think we've all acknowledged it's unlikely to be a priority for the school but as a lost opportunity to communicate with parents and prospective parents it's probably better to say something than nothing. My practice has similar problems with keeping the information current for their patients. So we have a staff-patient group that looks at online services for this very reason.

ggirl Sat 26-Jan-13 15:54:14

am quite sure that I would be no help whatsoever in helping with a website ecolady.
They've never asked for help as far as I am aware. Maybe they should.

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 15:54:28

Our is pretty good. Lots of information, very up-to-date etc.
It is maintained by a parent volunteer - although individual teacher's can upload information about their class activities (photos etc.) as and when they like.

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 15:54:31

The school should put out a request for any parents that can sort the website for them.

mrz Sat 26-Jan-13 15:55:37

I actually created and updated our previous website (when I was the ICT coordinator) tribpot but it became a little neglected when I changed roles which is why we have a sparkling new if fairly empty new site

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 15:57:14

I think a good website should be priority. It would put me off a potential school if their website was out of date TBH.

EcoLady, 'willing volunteers' told that the company who designed and adminstrated the website would not allow anyone else to make changes and as the money had been spent on this company no one else would be permitted to offer alternative ideas on how to improve the website.

PeachActiviaMinge Sat 26-Jan-13 16:21:47

We don't have one sad Last week the school was closed on Monday due to the snow we had to figure this out by looking out DD's window to the school to see closed gates trying to call 3x and no-one answering and then no-one walking past to go to school. It wasn't even on the local news/bbc or council websites.

Haberdashery Sat 26-Jan-13 17:07:59

Ours is pretty rubbish. And yes, I have contacted them and offered help, walked the ICT Coordinator (!) through the CMS, been in to school to help, told them they can contact me any time at all for help, spent hours creating graphics for them to use on the site etc etc etc. Not sure what more I could do, tbh.

ipadquietly Sat 26-Jan-13 17:54:41

Our chair of govs updates ours, along with the secretary who updates a google calendar. It's pretty and new!

We used to have q website that we could update ourselves. Some of us updated photos and curriculum information regularly. However, a number of teachers couldn't be arsed to do anything, and as soon as that happened, it started to look sloppy and pointed fingers at the lazier members of staff.

heggiehog Sat 26-Jan-13 17:56:13

As a teacher I don't have time to update the website and don't have access to do it either...

Planning and paperwork takes priority over these things.

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 19:14:19

The children update the blog on their class page on the website. I think it's great.

DoItToJulia Sat 26-Jan-13 19:17:55

Ours is pants. It's really disappointing.

The head has scrapped the weekly newsletter as parents have complained about information overload hmm to be replaced by regular updates on the web page.

No of weeks without a newsletter? 6
No of times the web page has been updated? 0

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 19:20:40

How can schools not have a web page? It's 2013. confused Everyone should be on email for newsletters and letters home too. And the school should be able to send a text alert to everyone.

DS2's school to say the newsletter/school report is in bookbags. smile

mrz Sat 26-Jan-13 19:38:52

Whispers ...Do you know some people still don't have computers or the internet shock

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 19:39:57

Well they need to get with the times mrz. grin

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 19:42:43

My DS's secondary school's website is shite.

They don't list the school governors; there's no information about school trips (which I was trying to find); and they don't list the inset days.

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 19:44:25

Secondary schools don't really have an excuse do they Line? That's terrible.

mrz Sat 26-Jan-13 19:45:58

We use e books and literacy and maths programmes that pupils can access at home but a number of parents have complained they haven't got access because they can't afford to buy computers or pay for the internet ...

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 19:48:42

sad mrz. DS2 (year 6) gets some of his his maths homework through MyMaths and I don't know how DS1 (year 9) would manage without a computer for all the ELPs he has to do.

Down to the library, I suppose.

ipadquietly Sat 26-Jan-13 19:49:39

From Sept '12, there have been new Ofsted requirements for school websites. If you follow the ' handy checklist' link on this website, it provides all the details:
info:http://blog.e4education.co.uk/?p=951

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 19:55:25

All our Y6's get loaned a laptop/netbook for their final year.

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 19:56:16

That's good pip. smile

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 19:58:28

It evens out the playing field a little grin.

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Sat 26-Jan-13 19:59:26

I'm technically responsible for ours.
The LEA insist we use a platform that is unweildy and not user friendly at all - for example, to add a single document or photograph takes me 5 or 6 steps whereas on something like WordpressI could upload it with one click or use an app.

Indivdual staff are meant to update their class pages - they haven't been done for over a year - despte the fact that I have repeatedly run training sessions.

My class pages and class blog are updated at least weekly, I try to keep the front page updated with school news but I don't have any extra time (or money) given to me for this and I sometimes I just don't have the time.
The school website (and technically inept staff) are the bigggest bane of my working life.

DoItToJulia Sat 26-Jan-13 20:04:09

I don't think anyone would blame you PantryBoy, but there should be resource enough for you to do that part of your job properly. That's the issue.

Our school has a dedicated ICT coordinator and the school has 35 iPads for the kids to use as well as an ICT suite, so I can't work out the problem for our school.

MumVsKids Sat 26-Jan-13 20:04:59

Ours is great, any letters sent home are uploaded by year group, there is also a timetable for each year group.
The latest newsletter is uploaded straight away and all term dates, calendar dates, year assemblies etc are added as soon as they are decided along with inset days and important announcements.
Each member of staff has written a short "about me" piece, as have the governors (I am vice chair) and then the class representatives.

The only thing not currently on there are photographs, mainly because the staff are very security conscious and as yet have not got a fool proof way of stopping photos being copied and reproduced - which I think is fine. Once it is sorted and photos cannot be lifted from the website, then I think they will go for it.

One of the office ladies built the website for the school (in her own time) and she maintains it too and does a fantastic job. At the last governors meeting we agreed to make an ex-gratis payment to her for her time, and upped her salary by a level on the agreement that she will continue to maintain as she does currently.

It took off quicker than we hoped it would, and has actually cut costs of paper quite a lot as school no longer print off everything, every letter etc. they use the website in conjunction with the SMS service and text parents when there is a new newsletter etc.

If anyone wants a look, it's at www.astonontrentprimary.org.uk

MrsWeasley Sat 26-Jan-13 20:05:08

Could it be that they are currently updating the website and once it is ready for it parents it will be fab?

DoItToJulia Sat 26-Jan-13 20:05:16

By the way ipad, I can't get that link to work.

MrsWeasley Sat 26-Jan-13 20:06:00

the parents not it blush

ISeeSmallPeople Sat 26-Jan-13 20:06:54

Ours is pretty rubbish. I strongly suspect it's run by people who ony recently got a computer smile
The parent mail outpourings are worse. Every time we get 2. The second correcting the first.
Dates are out of date, applications for school listed 2009 start date!

The VLE is even worse. Homework meant to be out on on Monday, to hand in Friday. Sometimes gets up on Thursday night, at which point I send in a note saying if you can't be bothered doing your homework on time, neither can we and we have swimming & cubs on Thursday nights so are too busy

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Sat 26-Jan-13 20:09:33

Julia - I have said this repeatedly, mind you I would hate to think how much time I spend on ICT issues each week (Primary School)

They range from the plaintive cry 'the sound doesn't work on my desktop anymore' - yes because you removed the speakers because they were in your way
to 'my laptop has stopped working' - yes, it is plugged in but you haven't turned the socket on so it has run out of battery'

What heggiehog said.

What are the library opening hours where you are, mrz? Do they offer free internet access?

PoppyWearer Sat 26-Jan-13 20:55:30

Ours is frigging awful and the site is unusable on an iPad. In this day and age (and we live in a very affluent area!) to not have something better is a bit shock.

Agree the time/money is best spent elsewhere but so many of my fellow parents are clearly very tech-savvy, a few of us could probably lick it into shape quite quickly, but then it wouldn't be maintained.

DeafLeopard Sat 26-Jan-13 20:56:49

Ours is quite informative....but it is all in Comic Sans which for some reason provokes the rage in me

ipadquietly Sat 26-Jan-13 21:15:03
jewelledsky Sat 26-Jan-13 21:25:34

Mmm. Let's see. Planning, teaching, marking, assessing, sorting out pupils' problems, meetings with parents, staff meetings, team meetings, Government target driven paper work - to be competed in triplicate, planning... am afraid website very low on priority list.

If you need information, please feel free to phone the school office and ask.

educator123 Sat 26-Jan-13 21:26:19

The dcs school website is not great. It hasn't been updated in ages and annoys me as some other local schools websites are so informative - class planning, newsletters, pics/videos etc.

We do have parentmail and sms alerts though so i try to tell myself it shouldnt matter too much if the website is basic, to say the least. As long as the school itself is performing well. But i can't help wishing the website was better and provide a perfect area for reacher/parent communication!

Feenie Sat 26-Jan-13 21:34:06

Ours is quite good -one of our TAs has a dedicated half day each week to update.

A Facebook page isn't appropriate for primary schools - it is a constant battle to stop Y5, Y5 and even Y4 from having accounts, and much bullying arises from its use. It would send totally the wrong message to have a school page, imo.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 26-Jan-13 21:39:04

Our website is up, running and current. Newsletters, snow warnings, photos for this year, upcoming events. Run by the DH, the office staff and a select number of very IT literate people.
Minimum expectation for teachers and the VLE is that weekly homework is on there, plus any upcoming class events, useful weblinks for current topics and that it's checked every day in case parents have messaged.
Yes, it's a bugger to do. But we do it.

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 21:39:16

Our school has a FB page, but it is locked down so only the school can post.
Most of the parents also belong to our own FB Group. It is private and by invitation only, but is a very effective way of saying 'have class 1 got homework this week?' or 'DS has come home with an extra jumper' or 'remind me which week school dinners we're on'. I've never seen any of the school children on either of the pages.

Feenie Sat 26-Jan-13 21:42:37

Double standards though, innit?!

Feenie Sat 26-Jan-13 21:43:02

Not the parents' group, the school one, I mean.

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 21:43:05

I wouldn't expect it to be the teachers keeping the website up and running. I would imagine it would be done by Admin. Each class has it's own page though.

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 21:44:54

Why double standards? I don't think most primary age children should be texting or even own a phone, but the school still uses text messages for communicating with parents.

DoItToJulia Sat 26-Jan-13 21:51:39

I don't think anyone has said it should be a teachers priority. As a parent accessible information available in non school hours is a high priority. I work during school hours.

A decent website should be a school priority. It demonstrates transparency, commitment to communication and a window into the school.

Feenie Sat 26-Jan-13 21:53:23

You don't have to lie about your age to have a phone or receive texts though. And Facebook is a big problem in lots of schools.

Sparklingbrook Sat 26-Jan-13 21:54:05

Agreed Julia.

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 21:54:49

I'm sure it is. Perhaps they should model how to use it appropriately?

Feenie Sat 26-Jan-13 21:56:33

What do you mean - show them how to set privacy levels? That really would encourage lying and promote Facebook use!

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 22:04:31

No - that the school and parents can communicate via FB without the need to bully each other or post pouty photos.

Pyrrah Sat 26-Jan-13 22:10:22

DD's current primary (she's in the nursery) have a woeful website - but at least there is one and it gets updated. If I were the HT I might ensure that the person who did the updating could at least spell! Doesn't give me any confidence that she will care whether or not my child can spell.

When I was looking at schools for the Primary application form I checked out all the websites - the better the school, the better the website it appeared.

nailak Sat 26-Jan-13 22:16:52

i thought it was a legal requirement that has to be done by this year to have a website with accessible policies etc? the governors should be dealing with it.

Houseworkprocrastinator Sat 26-Jan-13 22:18:48

Our school have a Facebook page. It seems to work quite well, they also have a twitter account but the website looks like it hasn't been touched for years. The last news letter is from 2009 and the photo of the head teacher looks 20 years younger!

nailak Sat 26-Jan-13 22:19:13

“Information to be published on a website by the governing body

10.—(1) Subject to paragraph (5), where a website is maintained for a school by or on behalf of the governing body of a maintained school, the governing body must arrange for the information specified in Schedule 4 to be published on that website.

(2) Subject to paragraph (5), where there is no website maintained for the school, the governing body must arrange for the information specified in Schedule 4 to be published on a website, the address and details of which are made known to parents.

(3) The governing body must provide a paper copy of the information published on the website without charge to parents on request.

(4) Subject to paragraph (6), the governing body must arrange for the information published on the website to be updated as soon as is reasonably practicable following a change to that information and, in any event, at least annually.

(5) In respect of the information specified in paragraph 2 of Schedule 4, the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2) to publish this information apply to the governing body of a community and voluntary controlled school, but not to the governing bodies of other maintained schools.

(6) In respect of the information specified in paragraph 2 of Schedule 4, the governing body of a community and voluntary controlled school must arrange for this information to be updated not later than six weeks before the date up to which parents may express a preference for the school in respect of the admission year. ”

(4) In regulation 11 (supplementary provisions relating to published documents)—

(a)in paragraph (1) after “document” insert “or website”;

www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1124/made

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 26-Jan-13 22:20:45

'The last news letter is from 2009 and the photo of the head teacher looks 20 years younger!'

Teaching is very ageing I have found.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 26-Jan-13 22:22:27

So it's the governors' responsibility?
Good.

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Sat 26-Jan-13 22:24:04

Nebulous - Until the GB pass on the task to the most IT literate member of staff

nailak Sat 26-Jan-13 23:11:07

well I am on the governing body and we actually hired a service provider to do ours......

We considered tenders, including from some parents etc and accepted the cheapest one.

I would expect this is what most schools would do?

nailak Sat 26-Jan-13 23:11:51

we also have an a secretary who if anything needed done would be in charge of it. She has a lot of responsibility in our school.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 26-Jan-13 23:18:20

'I would expect this is what most schools would do?'

From the evidence of this thread, it would appear not.

'Nebulous - Until the GB pass on the task to the most IT literate member of staff'

Exactly, pantryboy. So many initiatives happen until the novelty wears off,and then the expectation is that teaching staff will just shoulder the responsibility.

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Sat 26-Jan-13 23:28:01

nailak - the staff in your school are lucky to have such a forward thnking GB.

In our LEA only the larger Primary Schools (I know of 3 out of about 60) have someone whose job is to run/maintain the website. For everyone else (most schools have between 2 and 6 classes) it is just another burden on a member of the teaching staff.
You get sent on a course and then booom - it suddenly becomes your responsibility.

Pancakeflipper Sat 26-Jan-13 23:42:48

Our school website is great. It has something new on it weekly if not every day.

One of the Governors built it and has trained the HeadTeacher and staff on how to use it.

Its a bonus for Ofsted Inspections as they look to see if policies are on there and what the website says about the school.

It's a chore but essential and a great asset for the school if it's reliable and up to date.

SE13Mummy Sun 27-Jan-13 14:07:19

My DCs' school used to have a great website - it was designed in response to a questionnaire and so included things that were a priority to parents/carers, staff, pupils and the wider community e.g. photographs included examples of children's work and of the classrooms rather than 30 pictures of each child in a class doing the same thing, the PTA had a page to promote their events, class curriculum maps and termly letters were available on a year group page, there was a login page for children to access certain resources at home/school, clickable e-mail contact to the teachers (albeit with a health warning explaining that it may take a few days to receive a reply) a 'how to support your child' page with youtube clips of how to pronounce the phonics sounds, printable resources etc. and a 'coming soon' feature on the homepage (in addition to the regularly updated calendar). It was maintained by a teacher who updated it once a week when she uploaded the weekly newsletter.

However, in September this site was deleted and replaced with a horribly officious, not that useful, site to align it with the two federated schools that 'our' one is unfortunate enough to be in a partnership with. Apparently the site is aimed at prospective parents and supply teachers hmm. It no longer has up-to-date information re: closures, doesn't have photographs of children's work, doesn't contain information about what each year group is learning, doesn't give pointers on suitable resources for supporting your child at home, doesn't promote PTA events (although most of those have been stopped anyway to be honest). It's rubbish.

Fuzzymum1 Sun 27-Jan-13 23:55:16

Ours is pretty good and was done by the husband of one of the governors. The school have access to update it and the weekly newsletters and other items of news are on there - there were regular updates about the snow situation and about events that are happening etc.

takemehometoauntem Mon 28-Jan-13 00:17:48

What schools must publish on their website - Government guidelines

Schools must put on their website:

how much money they get from taking underprivileged children (the ‘pupil premium’), what they do with it and the effect it’s had
details of the curriculum
admission criteria
behaviour policy
special educational needs policy
policy on disability
links to Ofsted reports
links to performance data
the school’s latest Key Stage 2 and 4 attainment and progress measures

Guess a little more attention should be paid to the websites after all.

PastSellByDate Mon 28-Jan-13 05:49:41

Interesting discussion - I think our school ranks somewhere in the middle - the website isn't terrible, there is a diary of events, but it isn't always up to date and sometimes isn't corrected (i.e. wrong date for assembly so parents show up to be told wrong day).

Would love to have the link to these government guidelines on what should appear on the school web page because our school (probably out of shame) is definitely not openly publishing KS2/ KS4 results - and I have repeatedly been told they don't have to by the school.

For Ecolady and others who have suggested parents should volunteer - several of us parents have (either for the website or improving the VLE (they use Moodle - we wanted to set up group areas [green/ red/ blue/ etc...] with tailored homework to appropriate levels for maths, literacy and reading (phonetics worksheets, key words, etc...). We have all separately (although we compare notes) been told thank you for our offers but no, this would violate student confidentiality and apparently there was 'a problem' with a parent divulging student info in the past.

We've all given up bothering now.

Euphemia Mon 28-Jan-13 07:26:54

I think a good website should be priority.

Don't be daft. There are much more important things for schools to spend their time on.

In my area, it's unusual for schools to have fully-functioning websites, but they are obliged to have their school handbook online, and all schools' handbooks are available on one page of the council's website.

That seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

Sparklingbrook Mon 28-Jan-13 07:30:53

Being able to get information should be priority then Euphemia. I may be shallow but I would be more impressed if the school had a good website with lots of info on, than one that had photos of 2009 on. grin

I use DS1's school website a lot-everything is on it.

Euphemia Mon 28-Jan-13 07:35:48

I'm sure it's more important in areas where entry to school is competitive and you are comparing schools. Here, children just go to their local school so there's not the competition between schools to have a fabby website.

The handbooks are all we need, really. The council website also tells you school rolls, which in this area range from 400+ pupils to 6 pupils! Very useful info! grin

Sparklingbrook Mon 28-Jan-13 07:41:28

Our council website probably not so good Euphemia so schools are making up for it. There are 12 primary schools to choose from here, then two middles and one High School.

takemehometoauntem Mon 28-Jan-13 14:08:25

https://www.gov.uk/schools-admissions/choosing-schools

takemehometoauntem Mon 28-Jan-13 14:26:31

Take it the link doesn't work then, oh well never mind blush. I may be needing to see my sons schools disability and SEN policies soon (which in some instances can be tweaked by the school as some are guidelines only not something that has to be done) would it be best for me to a) be a PITA by asking the reception staff to spend their time photocopying these for me? b) sit and read through their files in the reception area while taking notes or c) get onto their well presented, informative website and print them off at home?

Pastsellbydate, my first thought was that there would be issues of confidentiality, although, when you think about it, they would be helping to make public information that the school wants and needs to share. Maybe the problem would be having to sort and select the information the volunteers could access; could be that that is more trouble than it is worth.

Sparklingbrook, it could well be that the teachers have priorities other than constantly updating the website, such as planning creative and innovative lessons, focussing on children who need extra help, putting up motivational displays, making the hundreds of cards, games, etc needed for maths and literacy, marking in depth and in detail .... Also, most teachers are not web designers and may not even be that good on the computer.

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