We are proud to announce the launch of two new and affordable website templates for school departments. This is a website that you own and you can take with you when you move school. All the resources are also all your own… not the schools.
As Head of Department, I remember it being a challenge to share resources electronically with students. Students did have school emails… but they never checked them. Now there’s a surprise! The school had a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) as I am sure your school will. Unfortunately, accessing it was so convoluted for both staff and students. As a result, students could rarely be bothered to access the resources. Of course, this might be the case no matter what I did. However, like most teachers, I am the eternal optimist.
It may sound sad but I always wanted to create my own site which I would then have complete control over. I wanted a site to promote my department and also be a useful place for students. I also needed something I could take with me when moving to another school. There was no way I wanted to go through the pain of setting everything up again! I played around with Google Sites for a couple of terms but could never get it set up quite the way I wanted. For some reason, it also seemed hard for students to access. This might, of course, have been my own ineptitude! It was more likely that I just never had the time to get it the way I wanted.
Several years ago I came across a great content management tool called WordPress. It is a free resource that allows you to create professional looking websites. To make the site it does take a while to learn the basics but the results can be impressive. Once created updating the content couldn’t be easier… and there is no need to learn code!
The Cost Of Setting Up Your Own Website
While WordPress is free you do need to purchase your own domain name (e.g. www.wisdomwhale.co.uk). Creating your own domain name means you can create a name which students will remember so there is more chance they will go to your site. Always a plus! Domain name costs are quite minimal but ultimately it will depend on your chosen name. Usually, it is around £12 per year.
The only other regular cost is that you will need someone to host your site. Prices will vary depending on your hosting firm. Hostgator provides an affordable (Hatchling) plan for approximately £4.50 per month. For me, the costs were worth it since I knew I owned the content and WordPress gave me the flexibility I wanted.
School Departments Templates
As a busy teacher creating the site in the first place can be quite a challenge. Not so much in terms of skills but in the time which is needed. With this in mind, we have created two WordPress templates for departments to use and adapt. There is the ‘modern‘ and ‘traditional‘ style. The traditional style has a more familiar layout with a page for each year group.
The modern layout has a page for a Key Stage and on each page, there is a section for each year group. On the latter, there are icons at the top of the page which allow students to easily scroll down to their respective year groups.
You can take a look at the sites below. They are for Business and Geography but the content is quite generic so that they can easily be adapted for different departments.
Creating your own website is a great way to promote your department’s fantastic work and share essential resources and information with students.
The templates are easy to adapt to suit different departments. For example, it is easy to change:
- font styles
- colours used
- written content
It is also straightforward to upload the resources that you want students to access. It could be past exam papers, homework, PowerPoints or handouts from the lesson.
The templates provide a really good structure but the content for each department still needs to be added. To help make this easier we can add the content for you (for a minimal cost!) or alternatively you can make free use of our guidance videos to upload content and adapt the site to your own needs.
Interested? Have a look at the example sites above. We would love to hear from you – drop us an email.