Looking to give your school website a revamp? It’s important to ensure you include all the necessary information potential students and parents need. A good school website should be informative, user-friendly, and engaging. So let’s take a look at our school website checklist for the essential elements you should include on your site. Video content is one of the most effective ways to sell your school to prospective students – if you’d like to chat to the Small Films team about how we can help, then do drop us a line.
Meet the Head Teacher
Having a ‘Meet the Head Teacher’ section on your school website can be incredibly beneficial for both parents and students. It allows potential students to get to know their Head Teacher before they even enter the school. This gives future classmates and their families a sense of security, knowing who’s in charge and what kind of values the school stands for. For current students, it lets them gain more insight into who is running their school and why certain decisions are made. Instead of just a headshot and bio, why not capture the Head Teacher on film.
This page should include a brief introduction about your school is and what type of education you provide. The about page should be an overarching page that tells the story of the school, including its history, values and what makes the school so special.
Having a prospectus on your school website is one of the best ways to introduce prospective students to your institution. It provides an in-depth glimpse into the offerings of your school, from its mission statement and core values to its curriculum, faculty and student activities. Prospectuses give potential students essential resources like contact information, application deadlines and fees. They can also provide descriptions of particular co-curriculur activities that will be of interest to prospective students.
Holding the term dates on your website in an easily accessible spot is a useful page for parents to help plan their diaries. Make sure to include the term dates for the year ahead too.
As sustainability becomes increasingly more important, schools may start to find that their eco practices are what makes them stand out. If your school is pioneering the way with sustainability, then it’s a great idea to build in a page for this. Why not capture everything you’re doing on film, and create a piece of focused content for it.
History of the school
Does your school have a fantastic history that you can shout about? The history and prestige of the school is a huge selling point, so dig up all those facts and stories and create a cracking history page.
Showcasing your academic facilities is one of the most important parts about your school to feature on your website. We recommend splitting it out by each department, such as science or languages and detailing why the facilities are so great for each. This is a great part to incorporate video, showing footage of classes taking place, interviews with Head of Departments and behind the scenes footage.
From drama to sports, the co-curriculum is just as important to talk about as the academic curriculum. For those prospective students who may be less academic but excel in areas such as art or music then parents considering a school will want to see the facilities and selling points of each department.
>> READ OUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MARKETING YOUR INDEPENDENT SCHOOL (2022)
Whilst supporting a students emotional and physical welfare might feel part and parcel of running a school, it’s still important to pull out how you approach this on your website. Especially if you’re a boarding school. This might include elements such as anti-bullying policies, how parents can raise a concern and how students can receive support throughout their time at the school
If you offer boarding at your school, then detailed information on every element of boarding is a really important part of your site for prospective parents. Consider all the information that would be helpful to a prospective student who may have never boarded before, such as what to expect at the boarding houses, how often they can go home, what support they’ll receive and how they’ll be supported with making friendships.
Scholarships and Bursaries
For students who may not be able to afford the school fees, scholarships and bursaries are an invaluable offering. Create a page that discusses the scholarships and bursaries available, showing the reduced fees, and the criteria a student would have to meet to be eligible.
A film by the Small Films team for Eton College’s Orwell Award
A fee page is a really important page to include on your school website. Prospective parents will likely shortlist their favourite schools, and the fees will be a key deciding factor. If you don’t list them, then a parent will have to take that extra step to find out.
Blogs are a fantastic resource for not only sharing news with your audience but also helping prospective students/parents find your school through Google searches. Create a blog hub and section it by areas, such as co-curricular, departmental or boarding highlights.
Links to social channels
If your school has social media channels, then make sure to link to them on your website. At Small Films, we always recommend linking to your social channels where your audience will expect them, which is usually the footer of your website
Open Day details
Open Days are such a crucial part of selling your school to prospective students that having a page with clear information and the dates is key. On this page, consider everything a prospective student would like to know about an Open Day, such as location details, timings, meals provided and the agenda for the day.
School promotional video
Video is such an excellent tool for showcasing life at your school. It can really help to visualise to parents what their child may experience whilst in your care. From different departments to Sports Days to an interview with the Head Teacher, it’s a great snapshot of how your school runs behind the scenes.
A promotional school film from the Small Films team for Blundell’s School
The sports facilities can be a big driver for a parent wanting to send their child to a school. Their child may excel at a particular sport, so giving a deep dive into whether you offer an Olympic size swimming pool, lacrosse pitches or a golf course on your doorstep could help swing their choice towards your establishment.
Your website is the perfect place to advertise open positions. Create a page that shows all the vacancies, whilst also allowing for users to directly apply through the website.
Depending on the year that a student starts there might be a differing admissions process. We always recommend detailing what’s required during each level of the admissions process, whether it’s examinations, interviews or auditions.
New Boys & Girls
Starting a new school can be daunting, and so giving information on what a new boy or girl can expect is a great way to help them settle in. Consider information such as what their first few weeks will be like, how they will be supported and the boarding house they will be in.
If you’re a boarding school, then giving a glimpse of your boarding houses is a great idea. Why not combine a mix of photography and videography or even a virtual tour so that parents can explore every area in the houses, from the dorm rooms to the chill out areas.
Introduction to departments
It’s a great idea to build in a web page for every department that your school has. This means that if a child has a particular interest in a subject, they can better see the facilities of each department. This is another great area where you can create specific video footage around each department.
A promotional school video for St Margaret’s School from the Small Films team.
Universities and careers
When a parent is choosing the perfect school for their child, they’ll be considering the career prospects that the school will give the child when they leave. If a percentage of your school leavers have ended up at many of the top universities in the country, then this is a great selling point to feature on the site. Detail also how you’ll support students with their future careers, whether that’s through coaching, workshops or a lecture programme.
School trips in 2023/24
Do you have some great school trips coming up? Whether it’s a theatre trip or you’re heading further afield, listing out upcoming school trips will help parents understand what you offer beyond the classroom. Plus, it helps them to plan their diaries accordingly.
Sports fixtures, teams and results
If your school has a focus on sports, then it’s a great idea to include your sports team fixtures and results. This allows for parents to plan around watching the matches, whilst also showing prospective parents the level the sports teams play at.
Whilst it’s important to have your video content peppered throughout the site in the appropriate places, it can also be a great idea to hold all your video content in one area so that users can watch each video in one batch – helping them to get a more rounded view of the school.
Getting to the school
The school’s location should not only be clearly marked in the footer of the website, but it’s worth having a dedicated page on ‘getting to the school’. Make sure to include by car, train and plane for overseas students.
Request a prospectus
The ‘request a prospectus’ tool is one of the most elements on a school website. Not only does the prospectus give a great overview of everything about the school, but it’s a mechanism to gather prospective parent email addresses. Once you have the email addresses, you can put them into an email sequence to help sell your school and keep it front of mind.
Heading to a new school from overseas can be a daunting prospect for many, so it’s important to arm someone with as much information as possible if they’re considering that move. This can include information about the potentially different fee structure, ways they will be helped to settle in and what’s available to them at the weekends when other students may be heading back home.
FAQs are not only great for SEO, but they’re a great way to handle any objections a prospective parent has about your school. For each page, aim to have a comprehensive FAQ section relevant to the page, whilst also creating a dedicated FAQ page.
Has your school won some big awards? Don’t forget to shout about them. We always recommend including these above the fold, to help with building trust when a prospective parent/student lands on the site.
Nothing sells a school better than hearing from students how much they love being there. Instead of written testimonials, take it one step further and capture students on film speaking about life at the school.
Here at Small Films, requests for virtual tour footage skyrocketed during the pandemic, but whilst prospective parents/students can now visit in person, a virtual tour is still such a great way to show every angle of a campus. Consider doing virtual tours of the full school, from different departments through to the boarding houses.
Does the school have a great chef that can whip up an exceptional lasagne? Or is there a vegetable patch that supplies all the ingredients for the meals? Capture some food videography and showcase what’s on the menu.
Meet the admissions team
Whilst a student is going through the admissions process it can really help to know who is part of the admissions team. Why not include headshots of the team plus bios, or even better interview the admissions team on camera.
An admission video for Marlborough College from the Small Films team
Arranging a visit
Consider that prospective parents or students may want to arrange a visit outside of an open day. Therefore detail everything they need to know about visiting. From who they need to contact, to links to the how to get to the school page.
Vision and values
Whilst your visions and values should be incorporated throughout the website, it’s always worth having a dedicated page purely for your visions and values. This helps parents and students to see at a glance what your school stands for.
Consider a map of the campus on your school website. This helps parents to see at a glance the departments and facilities of the school. Even better, show a virtual walk through of the campus.
If the school has old girls/boys association then we always recommend including a page around how ex-students can be kept up to date.
Support us (donations)
For many schools, donations are a hugely important way for them to make improvements for facilities. If your schools accepts donations, then detail how this can be done, and the process that someone might need to follow.
Sixth form entry
For students entering at sixth form, they’re likely to have a different set of needs compared to a student entering at 11+. There may be sixth form scholarship options, a different set up in the boarding house, a more focused careers programme and a differing support structure for how a new student integrates. This is another great opportunity for video content, showcasing a day in the life of a sixth former.
Having an excellent website is vital when it comes to creating an inviting environment that encourages potential students and parents to sign up for enrollment at your school. With all the above pieces included on your website, prospective parents will be much more likely to consider enrolling their children at your school. If you’re looking for support with a promotional school video, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Small Films team.