As a parent of two boys at the school, I was delighted to be asked to re-design the St Katharine’s website which had become difficult-to-update, was not mobile responsive and therefore had a very dated look and feel that was not in keeping with current trends.
As with every website project we undertake at Callia Web, our starting point is always to take a good look at the purpose of the website and its intended audience. Of course, as a parent myself, I see the website as the ‘go-to’ place for parent information such as key dates and times, school uniform, school dinners, and newsletters. However, looking at the wider picture, we saw the website as an important marketing tool for prospective parents looking for future placements for their children. Also a priority was ensuring that the website was ‘Ofsted’ compliant and that key policies, documents, resources, and privacy statements were accessible both for parents and professional education organisations.
In essence, the brief was to design and build a future-proof website with a high-impact design to showcase the school to prospective parents as well as communicate key information to existing parents and Ofsted.
Achieving the high-impact design required was the easy part. Katie d’Ath kindly donated her time to provide some outstanding photography of the forest school, classrooms, and outside space of St Katharine’s. She has truly showcased the unique and beautiful location of our school providing a framework to design the website around.
We were able to re-use a lot of content from the old website, and Ms Jones had the unenviable task of writing and collating fresh content where needed – typically the real ‘pain-point’ of any website build.
Key Information and Where to Find it
The St Katharine’s website is essentially organised into four main areas which include: About Us, Our School, Learning, and Parent Info.
This area of the website focuses on the St Katharine’s team and supporting communities. The welcome message from Ms Jones sets the tone and ethos, particularly for prospective parents, and is followed by key information about teaching staff, key roles, Governors, School Committee and PTA. In time it’s hoped that we’ll be able to create a welcome message video from Ms Jones (maybe a little more convincing required) and expand the PTA page to include more information about the upcoming events and school fundraising campaigns.
This section of the website contains key information that relates to the functioning of the school. It has been organised so that policies and supporting documents, results, and information about funding can be easily accessed. As part of the Excalibur Academy, many of the policies link directly to the Excalibur website so that the information is kept up-to-date and in line with the Trust.
As the title suggests, this area focuses specifically on learning at St Katharine’s. Here you can find information about the curriculum and St Katharine’s approach to ‘Purple Learning’ and ‘Growth Mindset’ which supports the children both in the classroom and at home.
The forest school also features here, again showcasing a remarkable setting and opportunity for the children.
The Learning section of the website will no-doubt expand in time to provide more information about topics and activities that support the children’s education.
Here we focus on making all the day-to-day information about ‘school life’ quickly accessible for both new and existing parents.
Particularly useful is a calendar in the ‘Term Dates & Planner’ section with all the key dates for the academic year (to date). By clicking on the events you can find further information, if relevant and published. The print button (located at the top of the calendar) also allows you to print off each month – handy for sticking up on the fridge!
You’ll find current Newsletters in this section, and we have started the new academic year with the first newsletter in the green ‘Autumn 2019’ tab. If you click and expand the accordion you will find all the newsletters as and when they are published. Supporting documents are found in the grey ‘Newsletter Attachments’ accordion (click to expand).
Finally, I just wanted to mention that some areas of the website are still work-in-progress and will grow and expand as more information becomes available. However, if you have any feedback or suggestions about the website we’d be happy to hear from you – you can contact the school at email@example.com.