Cost-effective WordPress multisites for educational trusts & colleges
Multisite WordPress solutions that create unity for educational trusts while celebrating the individuality of schools
Website solutions for an educational trust
Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) are a variety of schools that work together as a collective, developing best practices and working together strategically. The challenge for MATs is channelling a secure holistic online presence that reinforces core messaging and maintains a sense of unity while celebrating each school’s unique branding, messaging, and individual strengths.
In addition, any website ecosystem developed for MATs must be flexible, with scope for integration with existing systems, and easily maintained. Several MATs – Ethos Trust, Leap and Prosper – required a solution that created unity across the trust, yet allowed for the individuality of the separate schools within. The trusts worked with us to develop a streamlined bespoke WordPress solution.
- Initial consutation to establish key objectives
- Cost effective for trusts wanting multiple school websites
- Each school gets its own CMS
- Schools look individual as required
- Easily distribute relevant content, such as policies, from a single location to the rest of the Trust, and set reminders to update things if required
We worked with the trusts to develop a core WordPress system that delivered a high degree of control over the individual layout, look and feel and messaging of separate school sites for optimal flexibility. By building out from a centrally-controlled system, integration of existing systems and future updates became easy. Therefore, making it possible for the rollout of changes across the entire multisite ecosystem
WordPress web builds for education
We developed a core system specifically designed to be built out and updated with the latest WordPress standards and security measures. Implementing a centrally-controlled core system is highly cost-effective, giving all schools in the MAT the same functionality while allowing for unique branding and messaging.
We built each element of the multisite system using WordPress, giving users complete peace of mind that updates would run without a hitch. In addition to the original design and streamlined functionality, a maintenance package ensures that clients get the most out of our maintenance time. For example, an update within the core system automatically applies to every linked site, cutting down the time required to maintain a fully functioning, secure solution.
Effortless updates for internal users
A series of objects were built to match the individual schools' requirements, meaning that internal users control future updates through simple page builder tools. The most recent versions incorporate Gutenberg functionality to ensure that all the latest benefits are available to users. No coding or branding is required; everything outputs on brand. The simplicity of the application programming interface (API) empowers users to focus on tasks within their core skill set and save valuable administration time.
Simple distribution of content
A vital requirement of the solution was that content needed to be specific to each school site. A complete content management system (CMS) was incorporated within each site, allowing each to control its content. For optimal efficiency, we utilise WordPress standards to develop a single point of setup for generic content. So, content managers can share the content across all sites within the trust.
For example, school policy copy can be reutilised as generic in the main but variables within the text allow the generic text to benefit from personalised elements for each school setting. This functionality saves valuable time for content managers, who often execute the admin-based tasks outside their regular role responsibilities.
A centrally controlled core system doesn't have to be inflexible. We introduced specific features to the build of each trust to allow each school to get the most value out of the system. For example, triggered email alerts to indicate when a policy is due to expire were introduced to specific school systems to ensure that published content was consistent with OFSTED requirements. In each instance, integrated automation reduced the burden of meeting the online publishing touch points relating to OFSTED inspections. Other examples of added value school features include high-visibility features and multilingual options for increased inclusivity and accessibility.
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Supporting Trust Growth
A final added-value feature of the WordPress multisite system is that it helps to future proof against growth in the trust. New schools can be brought under a trust banner very easily and added to the multisite network. As with the existing website under the trust’s network, new academies have control over their branding and benefit from consistent generic content and updates. The design of the solution as a network (with new websites built out from the existing system) means that the average cost of development per school drops with each new school added to the system.
The trusts we worked with have all benefited from a centrally controlled, easy to manage setup that allows for on-brand customisation of specific sites linked to the trust. This approach removes the headache of complex site maintenance (for updates and security purposes), and content management is simple for users. The trusts can be confident that each school site in the ecosystem is fully functioning and secure at all times.
Using WordPress as a base solution to build out the infrastructure is a cost-effective method, bringing the project within scope and without exceeding the allocated budget. Each trust has a reliable core system through which users can easily express the individuality of their institutions while retaining a sense of unity via consistent generic updates. Ongoing site maintenance is more effective as a result of the original system design.