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Making Sure Your Website is DfE Compliant

Published on 09/11/17

First published on September 18th 2014, the guidance for ‘What maintained schools must publish online’ by the Department for Education (DfE) was intended to help create more consistency and transparency amongst schools.

Since then, the guidance has been updated a further six times, with the vast majority of updates taking place in the last few years. With the introduction of free schools, academies and 16-19 colleges, a second guidance paper was published.

Whilst the guidance for schools maintained by their local authority is an absolute requirement, the guidance for free schools, academies and colleges is just an overview of the information that the DfE recommends is published on their school website.    

Why Does It Matter

For maintained schools it’s a legal requirement in order to comply with The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016. For free schools, academies and colleges, unless it specifically states otherwise in their funding agreement, it’s simply best practice.

Regardless of whether it’s a requirement or not, making this information accessible not only increases transparency amongst your school community, but it can also win over Ofsted Inspectors next time they visit your school. It has long been documented that Ofsted Inspectors visit a school website prior to visiting the school, to check what information is made available, and to use this as a barometer for parental communications and how well the school is run. Doing everything possible to adhere to the guidance provided by the government will ensure you make a great impression.

What Does It Include

The things schools should publish online includes admission arrangements, key school policies, information on pupil premium and how it’s spent, exam and assessment results, governor’s information and more. To help schools, we’ve put together two checklists summarising what is required.

Frequent Reviews

Some of the information you have to publish, like your school’s value and ethos, will likely remain unchanged. Information on Governors and exam results will need updating more regularly. To make sure your school remains compliant we suggest conducting a content audit at least once a year, making sure that you are updating all of the relevant information. Since the guidance can change at any time, we recommend subscribing to our mailing list to get notifications of any updates to the guidance provided.

That Little Bit More

Some schools are getting creative with their school website content, by either putting up more information than is required to show they are on top of everything, or by creating a quick link to a hidden page that details the location of all of the content across their website in one place. Anything to make the lives of Ofsted Inspectors easier will always stand you in good stead.

In summary, regardless of your type of school, you should try and make sure you are following the guidance set out by the DfE. It’s important to stay up-to-date with any changes and to put policies in place to ensure this content is updated regularly.