Debden Park is a secondary school near Loughton in Essex which is a Specialist School in the Performing Arts. The school is a vibrant community and so they needed a website that would reflect its style, professionalism and expressive nature. A media portfolio of photos and videos is vital for a school such as this…
So let’s begin at the front page: A strong header was created with photographic content from the school highlighting the dynamic nature of the school environment. The homepage serves to give you dynamic up to date information about the school and some useful links for pupils, parents and visitors. It also includes the mission statement of the school at the request of the headteacher.
The website employs a blog-style news centre with a scrolling feed on the front page (pictured), a link to the main news section and an RSS link for those that wish to subscribe to the RSS feed. This allows up to date news to arrive on user’s browsers (usually as an RSS bookmark).
Current and archived newsletters can be viewed/downloaded as PDF files right from the home page and large button-style links are provided for important information such as the latest Ofsted Report, school calendar, term dates and latest GCSE results.
On the right there is a notices box which is regularly updated with school notices and reminders – a great feature which can be easily managed by the school’s admin staff. There is also a link to “Take a tour” – this is linked to a welcome video to give visitors a flavour of the school.
One of the key features that was particularly important to the school was the ability to keep pupils, parents and visitors up to date with the latest Expressive Arts events and provide post-event feedback and reviews. This is achieved on the Expressive Arts Subject page, the Expressive Arts Calendar page (which syncs to an easily updateable Google Calendar) and the Events and Reviews page (an AJAX-style dynamically updating page). The Calendar allows users to keep up to date with future productions and pupils can also know when auditions and rehearsals are! The school has its own production company called ‘VOYAGE’ which has its own microsite!
This section showcases, both photographically and through embedded video, events both inside and outside the school. Not only Expressive Arts events (Specialism Portfolio) but also whole-school events such as Open Days, Sports Days and school trips.
The top section contains videos that are hosted on a media server and embedded into the page which means less strain on the school’s server! The videos can be viewed in the window or full screen.
Beneath the video section are two sets of thumbnails which activate slideshow galleries which also have a full screen option.