Top tips to get your school’s website is Ofsted ready
Most of us are familiar with Ofsted taking a peak at a school’s website ahead of inspections and are keen that our sites are Ofsted ready. This pre-inspection check can help Ofsted form a good first impression and get a feel for the lifeblood of a school. But often too, Ofsted are checking that key information that should be there is there, and have certain ‘hot topics’ where brownie points may be scored if they’re seen to be included.
Of course, these change from year to year and are ever growing in number, so it’s always a good idea to be actively thinking about all areas on your school’s website that can be freshened up and Ofsted ready.
Ofsted are keen on schools that show an engagement with those issues in the wider world that affect kids’ education. Recently, they indicated the below areas as ‘hot topics’ they’d like to see both prior to and during inspections:
- A school’s ethos and values.
- A ‘broad and balanced curriculum,’ with evidence of effective SMSC.
- Pupils’ understanding of radicalization and extremism – and the support available, as well as the school’s response to extremist or discriminatory behavior shown in pupils.
- Evidence of activities promoting ‘tolerance and respect’ for diversity and difference. E.g. Assemblies, faith community visits, pupil volunteering, or visits to the school from faith leaders & followers in the community.
Not all light and fluffy issues, you’re probably thinking. So how best to include this important information, ensuring that you are Ofsted ready, while maintaining what you already have and not overloading a site? The trick is probably not to treat each section uniformly. They all require different responses and modes of interaction. So let’s have a look and break a few of them down.
Radicalization and Extremism
The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty of care on schools to prevent people being drawn into terrorism that will come into place for schools on 1st July 2015. Being transparent with how you achieve this on your website is vital.
One really good idea is to have an e-safety page for parents. This is established best practice and shows concerned parents the practical things they can do if they think their child is being exposed to extreme content. You may have such a page already. But how about producing a sister page, written for the kids in plain English, pitched at a suitable reading age?
Such a page provides the opportunity to explain to children how they can get help if they see or read something that worries them, whatever it may be.
Add this link to your e-safety page for parents: Families Matter – Extremism Online
Make sure also that your school’s safeguarding, equality, inclusion, e-safety, PSHE and behavior policies are online, clearly signposted and display content that reflects and makes transparent your approaches and values with regards to extremism, radicalization and protecting children.
Finally, think about making reference to some of these approaches, including where and how to get support with the topic of radicalization and extremism on all relevant pages e.g. your safeguarding page, equality page, behaviour, PSHE, RE and e-safety pages.
Watch out for more blogs on this coming soon!
A Broad and Balanced Curriculum
Having information on your website about the curriculum you provide is statutory. Many schools have long term plans, topic overviews or department info, but to really showcase the school and go the extra mile, you could have a ‘by subject’ page, with a welcoming quotation from the department lead and a brief overview of the kinds of topics covered. On each page outline your school’s approach to the curriculum for that area and possibly add plans and/or examples of work or displays.
Extra top tip:
Include regular items in your news that cover activities and achievements in all subject areas.
Ethos and Values
Publishing a statement regarding your school’s ethos and values is also mandatory, but this could be added to by explaining your approach to diversity, British values, the curriculum, safeguarding and SMSC development – and then to link all these areas together. How about a British Values page too? This is certainly a trending area.
Tolerance and Respect
Publishing regular news on your news page about cultural and religious visits in and out of school, workshops, and assemblies is really useful.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
Many of the points already covered will support in demonstrating the value you place on children’s SMSC development but it would be a good idea to create a SMSC page in your curriculum area and link to your PSHE and RE pages – and vice versa. Again use news, galleries or class pages to evidence activities that promote SMSC.
Going the extra mile
A good way to tackle linking all the areas is to think like Wikipedia and use internal page links. Remember, each user will come to your site from various directions so by linking pages you help direct them to other related areas without them having to think about it or find them themselves.
It could be as simple as linking words in the text to a page or maybe even a section at the end of a page called ‘If you want to find out more’. These areas are also ongoing, bigger picture items which can’t just be shown in a single page. It’s more a long term game of evidence building. Similarly, the power of a news area and calendar cannot be underestimated in supporting this. Both provide a quick way to flick back over a year and see the breadth of opportunities provided to the pupils in your school – and what the school is committed to.
Lastly, the child’s point of view is invaluable, so where you can we suggest you use comment pages or children’s work and articles. The children will not only enjoy participating but they can be the schools biggest advocates and provide, by far, the best evidence of what you do as a school to guide and shape them.
As a final note, don’t forget that your determined arrangements must legally now be published on your website.
There is an awful lot for schools to think about when ensuring their site is Ofsted ready but it can be achieved if planned carefully. Some of our other blogs may help you with this:
If you want more help and advice with auditing your site please contact Lisa Savage on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7404 3400.