WordPress for Education
An engaging custom website build for Ofsted outstanding Roundhay School, Yorkshire
Roundhay School is a mixed all-through school and sixth form located in Roundhay Leeds, West Yorkshire. The school is one of only three secondary schools in Leeds to be rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted (2013). Sitting proudly at the heart of the community it serves, the school focuses on supporting its pupils to develop the skills necessary to succeed. Its mission is to instil a love of learning in its pupils while building character and developing confidence.
Roundhay School required a website that reflected its incredibly high educational standards and expectations, showcasing three distinct campuses. Integrations with existing solutions such as Calendly and Twitter were essential to the build. Roundhay School partnered us via educational specialist, Engaging Education, to develop an engaging website that met the brief’s requirements and enhanced the online presence of the three age groups.
We developed a single WordPress-based site that promoted an ‘All through School’ holistic educational approach while highlighting the unique offer of three separate campuses. The engaging solution utilised a WordPress content management system (CMS) to ensure that the website delivered the most effective experience for front and back end users. Our team, made up of developers who use WordPress, used the platform to develop bespoke features and custom functionality without an off the peg theme.
Three school websites in one
Showcasing multiple sections with WordPress
The Roundhay School website presented a challenge. The schools unique 'All through School' education service, which is continuous education with one establishment, required central promotion. Within the 'All through School' message (and within the same website), three distinct school age groups of primary, secondary and sixth-form needed to be showcased
A multisite approach, which we would usually have recommended, did not fit the brief for Roundhay Schools. Multisites are multiple websites controlled by one central solution. So, in line with its flexible ethos, we integrated specific custom post types within a WordPress framework. The post types allowed each of the three campuses to separate their content and provide their own colour choices and design flair to create a sense of individuality within the overall organisation.
Time-saving automation on generic content
Automatically mirrored content
A specific request for functionality with the Roundhay School build was that each campus had a dedicated website section. But because certain information, such as pupil wellbeing or opening hours, would be the same across all three campuses, we built in the ability to publish 'mirrored content'. The mirrored content feature allowed the school to create a single page of content in the content management system (CMS), which could then be mirrored across each campus section. As well as ensuring accuracy, automating the mirroring of content saved the Roundhay School team hours of data entry time.
A better user experience
Integrations with existing solutions
An essential element of the brief was that integrations with existing systems were factored into the website build to create the best possible user experience. For example, Office 365 Outlook integration allowed the website to regularly check a designated online calendar and pull all new events through. A copy of each event on the website, created as part of the integration, means the website can present a 'live' up to date calendar of events. This solution also worked with categorisation from the Outlook calendar so that events could be automatically associated with the relevant part of the website (e.g. primary/secondary/sixth-form).
Our Twitter integration allowed multiple feeds to be regularly checked, with the latest tweets automatically saved to the local website. The integration incorporated a ‘Twitter wall’, a combined feed from each of the school campuses and the headmaster’s dedicated Twitter account. The feeds are frequently updated to display the latest tweets and remove older locally-stored tweets to avoid excess storage of old data. Automating these processes offered Roundhay School the most convenient way to keep its users up to date and improve user experience.
Keeping the user and end user's needs in mind
We incorporated several features into the build that added value to both internal users of the CMS and external users viewing the site. Timed push notifications were factored in to benefit external users, ensuring visitors saw key messages around events and important information (e.g. COVID-19 notifications). We added in the options to switch to high visibility contrast mode and change the language the site was displayed in to enable everyone to view and read the site to their best advantage,
For internal users, we gave the option to set policy expiration notifications on upload of policies. Our team supported compliance with Ofsted regulations by helping staff be aware of policy expiration dates.
Individual to the client's requirements
Custom WordPress functionality
As a result of working with us, Roundhay School benefitted from a custom website. The site was built around WordPress functionality with custom theme development. A custom WordPress site met the requirements of the brief and presented the Roundhay School team with a familiar, easy-to-use CMS post-launch. Other benefits of a custom WordPress site in this build were:
The system was built to WordPress accepted standards meaning that updates run without a hitch (maintenance packages are recommended)
Flexible system. No coding or branding knowledge required.
A page builder was incorporated into the build to support flexible content creation across the site
Easy distribution of content.
A CMS houses the three school areas where unique content is stored. When users updated content, the solution automatically selected the correct colourway and branding to improve efficiency and user experience
Users could add in eye-catching features such as auto-playing video header banners to complement triggered animations that were built into the design.
We delivered an engaging website that met the initial brief to showcase the school's unique 'All through School' educational offer. The WordPress-based site highlights the three campuses with unique branding and colourways while making it easy for users to manage content updates behind the scenes. The website was well-received by Roundhay School which continues to work with us for regular ongoing support and development.