“Appearance matters a great deal because you can often tell a lot about people by looking at how they present themselves.”
~Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill~
I had a really useful session with a few governors on our ‘vision’ today. We began thinking about how to write out our three year ‘visionary’ plan and how then, our more immediate school development plan fits into that. As part of this we began to discuss branding and the ‘feel’ of the school.
The question I posed is why, when you look at a private school’s website, are they tailor made and clearly present the school’s image. But, when you look at many state primary school websites, they all look the same and have the same pre-made feel. Budget, isn’t the answer. I truly feel as though state schools sometimes don’t aim high enough, they tend to settle. If we are trying to portray a feeling and ethos about our school, shouldn’t that come through on everything that goes out publicly or even privately? Our brand, the image that people are presented with, says a great deal about the school. So, why do we settle?
The headed paper, the newsletters, the prospectus, and especially the website, tell a story….they should reflect our school values and our ‘vision.’
The website has become a crucial part of the Ofsted process. I have been told that Ofsted inspectors can be notified almost two weeks in advance of where they will be visiting. This seems the ideal time for them to inspect the school website – to get a flavour of the school. What does your school website say? I don’t want our school website to be just like the one of the school down the road, or in the next county. I want it to reflect us, the values that underpin our school, to be personalised and tailor made for who we are and what we stand for. Inspectors could very easily have a pre-informed judgement of what they will be walking into, therefore, it is crucial that the website highlights the positive and unique attributes that make your school stand out.
It is about raising expectations. Understanding that appearance counts. Again, it is something that we don’t want to say out loud, but it is true. We all know this, so why do we allow ourselves to settle?
So, one of my tasks ideally before the start of the next school year, is to revamp the school website – to make it truly mirror our school, our parents, our staff, our community and most importantly our children. I am realising how much there is to do, and how quickly time flies by……things are just not getting done as quickly as I would hope! That is a lesson for another day…..
For now, what is the ‘appearance’ of your school? Does it reflect your vision?