Schools are truly starting to embrace the web and use it to it’s full potential especially when it comes to school websites. This seems to be largely due to demand as parents want to be able to access school information using their mobile devices like tablets and mobiles. In addition, we’ve seen the number of enquiries about ‘apps’ soar in the last year as the amount of people accessing the Internet predominately via their mobile device continues to grow year on year.
The top ten features to please your student’s parents are:
1. Online school calendar that parents can subscribe to
Provide simple and clear online calendars that could be specific to each year group or banding. We can integrate with your existing school calendar system, meaning you don't have to update two systems with the same information. It also means your website calendar will always be up to date! You can see this functionality on our web projects for Bedales School and also The Queen's School.
2. Mobile apps to provide one-touch updates
Technology will be a huge part of your students’ futures, show their parents that your school embraces modern technology by providing apps for their mobile devices. Apps make the web even easier to access quickly on the go. Oyster have a solution that takes the info you enter into your website and outputs it via an app directly to parents, without having to use a separate system! Our clients at Ampleforth college have this functionality.
3. Downloadable forms or online forms where appropriate
For some parents their child’s school bag can be a black hole for school letters and forms. Provide an online alternative that the dog cannot eat.
4. Online curriculum guides for parents
Help your parents to help their children with homework. Curriculum guides help parents to be involved in their child’s learning. These might also be available via your school VLE, but you might consider making them available on your website to make them even more accessible.
5. Online payments for school trips and lunches etc
Make it easily for parents to pay money to your school. Provide secure online payment systems. You have lots of choices when picking a payment gateway, or you might decide to just provide your bank details online or easy bank transfers.
6. News stories
Keep your parents up to date with what’s happening at school and show prospective parents what life might be like as your school for their child...
7. An online prospectus that is simple to use
Online prospectuses are a green alternative and can be a good way to keep costs down, but its really important that they work well! A poorly thought-out solutions can be very frustrating and annoying to your parents/prospective parents. You might decide to use a tool like ISSUU (issuu.com) or you might decide to simply provide a PDF so that everyone can access it!
8. Timetables and schedules
Keeping on top of timetables and schedules can be treacherous for parents, especially those with more than one child to think about! Make sure everyone has all the information they need at their fingertips...
9. Registration for parent evenings
Allow your parents to schedule the appointments that they want quickly and easily... it might be a simple form system, or we can integrate with your school MIS (database).
10. Secure parent login area for providing and receiving private information.
Secure the information that you share with parents online with a secure login area customised for parents.
To read more about our work with schools and colleges, visit the education section of our website.
If your school is thinking about updating their website, why not talk to Oyster about how you can encourage greater evolvement from parents using the web. Call 01243 389713 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.