About St Peter's School

St Peter’s C of E Primary School and Pre-School is a well-established and reputable local primary school based in Coggeshall, Essex. They have a great profile within the community, providing a fun and engaging learning experience for their pupils, giving particular attention to the promotion of strong ethical foundations through a long partnership with the local parish.

Website project requirements

The St Peter’s headteacher had received feedback that their current website was hard to navigate and not user-friendly, especially on mobile. This caused issues for staff because parents were constantly calling to find out information, due to the fact they couldn’t find it online.

Additionally, it was hard for parents to find out about events and to get to key information. While the core information about children’s learning curriculum was all there on the site, it was very difficult to navigate.

Furthermore, the website was under an expensive contract. While the website had been built many years ago, they were still paying a high fee every few years to keep the website active – even though it did not meet their requirements and no extra features were provided. This meant the cost of the website was higher through this subscription model than it should have been.

The school then engaged us, as local website designers, to help them create a new website which would meet the needs of parents and the school, and would reduce their ongoing spend. Following COVID lockdowns, they also felt that improving the curriculum section would make it easier for parents to access information regarding the different parts of their children’s studies.

School website design

Building the school website

Following this discussion, it was clear that the first step was to understand how the current website was affecting both parents and teachers. We arranged meetings with parents (the primary users) to discuss how they currently use the website and how they would like to be able to use the website in the future. We also spoke with the headteacher to ensure the website covered all statutory points.

This allowed us to build a list of core requirements for the website and create a design wireframe and sitemap which effectively solved the problems of the users. It also gave us a clear indication of what new tools would solve problems such as communication between the school and parents. 

The meeting also helped us to understand how the teachers were updating the website, and to find ways to ensure this was streamlined to make it more efficient. 

Working with this knowledge, we created an easy-to-use large menu format and a simple homepage design to give users a clear starting point for their journey. 

The pages on the website were all built using flexible blocks of content in a modular setup. This meant staff could easily author new great looking pages and add them as required (including adding them to the main menu), without the need for intervention or support time. 

We created a completely bespoke content management system (CMS) so that teachers (often non-technical and time-poor) could very quickly and easily add, update and change website content without any need for support and minimal training. 

Finally we created new tools, such as the events calendar and curriculum builder, which were designed specifically with mobile in-mind. These tools provided a streamlined and simple way for parents to see upcoming events and their child’s curriculum. The curriculum page also made switching between children of different ages easy, which had previously been a challenge for parents who have different children in different year groups.

The calendar will also improve communication with parents, by allowing events to have associated pages. This means if an event is clicked on, it shows the page below. Given so many events have been on hold for a few years, many parents simply don’t know what ‘normal’ schooling looks like or how different events run, so require more information around them. 

Results from the new school website

The feedback from both the school and parents of students has been overwhelmingly positive. The lines of communication between the school and parents have dramatically improved.

The number of calls having to be dealt with has dropped and teachers are able to add new content themselves, without having to give up a significant amount of time for this task. The events calendar is more widely used and information on the website is clearly laid out for new users to learn more about the school.

The website is also accessible for people with specific requirements such as visual impairment and the website itself runs on 100% sustainable energy. The website also has bespoke security using the Laravel framework, making it exceptionally secure without slowing down site users.

We feel that these final elements, while not core to the project brief itself, are critical to our approach in helping organisations achieve the best standards possible and to make them more suited to a digital future online. 

View the St Peter's School website