THE internet is changing the way schools communicate with pupils and parents.
More than 25,000 UK schools have a working email address and many more thousands of teachers and students are being allocated them each year. Most schools also have a website, although many are still very basic homemade efforts by staff. Ofsted inspections now include a school's website.
Email and online messages are rapidly becoming an integral part of schools' communications strategies. This signals an end to the problem of letters 'lost' on the way home and parents missing vital announcements or meetings.
During last winter's heavy snowfall, school websites played a critical role in keeping parents informed about closures due to the bad weather. Many thousands of children made journeys in hazardous conditions to schools that were closed, despite the valiant efforts of staff and local radio stations and the value of a website was brought into sharp focus.
But it's not just during extraordinary circumstances that a school website comes into its own. A recent survey revealed that 82% of parents feel “left in the dark when it comes to their child's schooling”. A school website can help overcome this.
Professor Tanya Byron, child psychologist and government advisor, says: "By harnessing the new and exciting technologies that enable seamless communication between school and home; and – most importantly – by involving children in after school communication that is fun, relaxed, open and well timed, we can all help them to maximise their academic potential and enjoy their school and further education years."
So a new initiative has now been launched to get more schools online and students and parents enjoying the benefits of the communication revolution. A Peterborough-based technology company that specialises in building educational websites has launched a service that will allow schools to set up a fully-featured website in just minutes from any computer with an internet connection.
Myschoolwebsite.co.uk offers schools exciting and easy-to-use websites at a fraction of the cost of hiring a developer. There is an annual charge of just £99 for the myschoolwebsite.co.uk service.
And because pages and content can be uploaded from any computer, staff can maintain the site from work or at home. All the words and pictures on the site are managed through a simple editor in a web browser window.
John Roach, managing director of e4education, which developed myschoolwebsite.co.uk, believes this affordable service couldn't have come at a better time.
“Primary school budgets will come under pressure over the coming years and schools will need an affordable option. My School Website delivers exactly that.” he says. “With myschoolwebsite.co.uk a school can be online and interacting with pupils and parents in minutes for less than £100 a year.”
With an engaging website, schools can excite students with the possibilities of publishing on the web. The My School Website system is versatile and affordable enough to allow ICT clubs and even indivdual pupils their own websites.
In addition to parents accessing its website for information about the school, students can use the online service for valuable learning support. Teachers can create links to trusted reference and study aids – information that is not always easy to find without guidance. Pupils' written work can be showcased, galleries can present students' art and audio or video podcasts can feature performances of music or drama.
Myschoolwebsite.co.uk will be officially launched on June 1, 2009 and schools can even enjoy a 30 trial of the service absolutely free.
For more information go to: www.myschoolwebsite.co.uk
Photo 1 caption: The My School Website development team. L to R: Mike Armstrong, designer; Greg Palmer, lead developer; Stuart Elmore, user interface engineer. Download image from this link.
Photo 2 caption: John Roach, managing director, e4education. Download image from this link.
e4education provides professional website design for schools. The sites are powered by an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) that helps schools to bring their website to life. The e4education CMS allows schools to quickly and very easily use video streaming, podcasts, blogs, secure areas, forums and e-shops on their websites. e4education, which is a registered UK trademark through the Trade Mark Registry, is part of Bluestone Creative.
Bluestone Creativewas established in 2001 by company directors John Roach and Chris Banks. Its principal business is designing and developing websites within the education and health sectors. It currently has a portfolio of over 800 customers nationwide, with the majority of these being within education.
For more information about e4education and Bluestone Creative contact:
John Roach, managing director, e4education, 29 Commerce Road, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6LR. Tel: 0845 257 0224. Mobile: 0773 049 7078. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.e4education.co.uk
Press and media enquiries can also be sent to:
Martyn Moore, director, NorthLight Media Limited, 94 Thorpe Park Road, Peterborough PE3 6LJ. Tel: 01733 759077. Mobile: 07768 261276. Email: email@example.com
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