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Website requirements: what your trust and schools must publish
Be clear on what you’re required to publish online. Use our checklists to audit your trust website and your individual school websites. Make the most of your trust website with good practice suggestions for what else to publish.
7 October 2021: we updated our checklist for individual schools' websites to clarify that schools with secondary-aged pupils who participated in the DfE's 2021 summer schools programme must publish information about it on their website by the end of October 2021. This should include what funding they received and how they spent it.
13 September 2021: we updated the checklists to reflect:
- The updated Academy Trust Handbook
- That your schools can carry over unspent COVID-19 catch-up premium funding to the 2021/22 academic year
See the 'significant updates' section below the checklists for more details.
You should have your own trust website
Although it's not technically a statutory requirement, we recommend your trust has its own website, in addition to individual websites for each of your schools. This is because there's information you must publish at trust-level about your trust as a whole.
Trust website: checklist for what you must publish
Download our checklist to make sure you're meeting all the statutory requirements for what you need to publish as a trust:
Please note: we've based this checklist on a variety of sources and legislation, and covered all the information you're required to publish to the best of our knowledge. However, as there's no centralised list of publishing requirements for trust websites, this list may not be exhaustive.
School websites: publishing requirements
There are separate requirements for what each of your schools need to publish on their websites.
Download and use the checklist below to help you audit your individual school websites too. There's likely to be some overlap between your schools' websites and your trust-wide site.
For example, with admission arrangements, you're best adding this to both the trust and school website. This is because it's a requirement for trusts to publish this (as the admissions authority), and it's sensible to have the admissions arrangements for a school available on its own website.
If in doubt, make the information available on both.
Significant changes to this checklist
We updated our checklist to clarify that schools with secondary-aged pupils who participated in the 2021 summer schools programme must publish information about it on their website by the end of October 2021. This should include what funding they received and how they spent it.
We updated the checklists to reflect:
- The Academy Trust Handbook update around what you must publish on your trust website in relation to someone who's not an employee (find a summary of all the handbook changes here)
- That your schools can carry forward any unspent funding from the coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium grant from 2020/21 (and should publish how they plan to spend it and how they'll assess the effect of the grant on pupils' educational attainment)
We updated our checklist to clarify that your schools must publish a written statement of their relationships and sex education (RSE) policy. Note this requirement is not included in the DfE's list of what must be published online.
However, the requirement is outlined in section 12 of the The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019. We clarified with the DfE what the written statement should contain, and it said the statement should include the same information as the school’s RSE policy.
What else should your trust publish online?
Use the additional suggestions below for what else to include on your trust website. Some are suggestions from one of our education experts, Joe Nutt.
Data on meeting the public sector apprenticeship target
If you have 250 or more staff in your trust, you have a target to employ an average of at least 2.3% of your staff as new apprentices. Trusts, as of April 2019, have to provide an annual return on progress towards this target. This return is made to the Department for Education (DfE), and is in 2 parts.
As well as submitting the return to the DfE, you also have to publish the first part. Technically, you're not required to publish this on your trust website – the government isn't prescriptive about where it's published, as long as it's easily accessible. But, to make it easily accessible, your website is a good place to publish this information.
There's more information on what the data publication has to include in the DfE guidance.
If you have any trust-wide policies or documents not listed in the checklist above, make sure they're on your trust website. Read our guidance on which policies you should set centrally for more information.
If there are policies that are different for each of your schools, these should be on the individual schools' websites. Trust-wide policies should still be linked to on your schools' websites, but don't have to be hosted on them.
Set out your ethos and vision
Make sure your trust's core values and ethos are set out clearly on your website (and on school sites). Try to sum these up in a short paragraph, less than 5 bullet points, or in an infographic.
You could also include:
- Information about your trust's journey – your history and your vision for the future
- Your trust's aim(s) and objectives – remember, these need to be applicable to every school in your trust
Have information about your individual schools
It may seem obvious, but the main reason parents and pupils visit your website is to find out about the schools in your trust. Make sure you include:
- How many schools are in your trust
- Names and locations of schools
- What kind of schools they are: primary, secondary, faith academy, special school
- Links to the schools' individual websites
Promote recruitment opportunities across the trust
Many trusts have a 'work for us' or 'careers' section on their website. Use this to advertise job vacancies across your trust and promote what you can offer applicants.
Consider separating this into 2 sections:
- Central team/trust-wide vacancies, e.g. CFO, HR director
- School-specific vacancies, e.g. headteacher, class teacher or teaching assistant at a specific school (you might also advertise these on the school's website)
Be clear on how schools can join the trust
Schools interested in joining your trust will also visit your website. Consider including information about:
- The process of joining the trust: what are the steps and stages the school will go through? How will you support schools through the process? What will you consider before supporting a school’s application to convert?
- The benefits of joining your trust: what can you offer? What are your shared services?
- FAQs: what are the most common questions maintained schools ask you, and what are your answers?
Use our resource toolkit to assess your capacity to grow and conduct due diligence on joining schools.
Showcase the trust central team
Just as you might have a 'meet the staff' section on your schools' websites, it's a good idea to have a 'meet the team' section on your trust website. Introduce who works in the central team with a friendly picture and information about each person and their role.
You might also have a welcome message on your homepage from the CEO of your trust and/or the chair of the board of trustees.
- Your trust's logo (or those of your individual schools)
- Photographs of your schools, staff or pupils – make sure you seek permission from the individual and/or their parent/carer if you use photos of people on your website
- Links to your trust's social media pages (if you have them)
- Make information available in an accessible format, and explain how people can request paper copies of information they need
UK GDPR and equality requirements for your website
- Tell users that the cookies are there
- Explain what the cookies are doing
- Obtain users' consent to store a cookie on their device
Consent must be actively and clearly given. This is outlined in further detail on the ICO's website.
You must make your website accessible
You're required under the Equality Act 2010 to make your website accessible. This is explained on pages 148 to 149 and 160 of the Code of Practice for services and public functions.
If you collect personal data, you must publish your privacy information
If you collect personal data through your website (e.g. email addresses for your newsletter) you'll have to provide the privacy information at the point the individual enters this information.
See our model privacy notices for help with this.
You may need a copyright licence
You may require a copyright licence if your trust website or individual school websites use material that was not created by pupils or staff.
Use Copyright and Schools to find out if you need a licence.
Mary Groom is partner in a law firm, and specialises in advising schools, charities and social enterprises on general corporate and governance matters. She also has experience as a charity trustee and is a director of a multi-academy trust.
Joe Nutt is an education consultant. He has completed strategic reviews of multi-academy trusts and has worked as a school improvement partner in a free school.
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