10 Creative School Website Design Ideas

by | Jun 5, 2020 | Blog Posts | 0 comments

Today I decided to take some time to look at a few school website design ideas to get the creativity and inspiration flowing. After a few hours and a blog post later, it turns out there are some pretty outstanding candidates! I’ve put together a list of my top 10 favourite school websites for you in this blog post so that you can get some inspiration for your school website. Whether it be simply updating a section or redesigning a new school website, these examples will inspire your creativity.

Before we get into it, what makes a school website so important in the first place? Don’t schools overdo it and fuss too much when it comes to website design? Actually, research has shown that parents do A LOT of their research online. If your marketing strategy were a car, your website would be the engine because all roads point to your website in this digital age. I’ve seen too many expensive advertising campaigns lead to a poor website and we often are unaware of the loss because of it.

There are a few key elements that every school website should have, overall they should perform these three main functions:

  • School websites act as a marketing tool for prospective families and convert cold traffic into enrolment enquiries.
  • School websites provide information to families and the community on our school’s points of difference, programs and offerings.
  • School websites act as an information source for what’s happening at your college, including events, news and dates.

School Website Design Judging Criteria

What makes a good website in my eyes? For a starting point, I recently did a video on how school websites have the tendency to look cluttered and have complex navigation which results in a poor user experience, and parents not being able to find the content they are after. A great website is able to simplify complexity into a clean interface and user experience. I’m looking for websites that understood their audience and have a clear pathway for each audience to follow.

Of course, aesthetics play a huge role and what I saw while doing my research is that strong school websites start with strong brands. The colours, typography and photography make the website so if these elements are not strong to start with, the end result will be average. I also took a look beyond the aesthetics to weigh in on the likelihood of these websites successfully completing their task of converting prospective families into enrolment enquiries. At the end of the day, these are the top 10 websites that I feel meet all the school website design requirements.

Without further hesitation, here are my top 10 school website designs:

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School

URL: https://www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls school is a day and boarding school for girls from Pre-Prep to Year 12. Located in a competitive area in the inner-northern suburbs of Brisbane, St Margaret’s has a fine reputation of ranking as one of Queensland’s top schools.

What I loved: The stunning header video so succinctly communicates their rich history contrast with their leadership in today’s world. The home page is uncluttered with a clear focus on attracting prospective parents with well placed calls-to-action. I feel they have successfully engaged both prospective parents and current parents with a well-structured site.

Mobile friendly: Yes

Considerations for improvement: They may want to introduce a second corporate colour to their school website design to better highlight calls-to-action.

Barker College

URL: https://www.barker.college

Barker College is an Early Learning, Primary and Secondary co-educational day and boarding school based on the North Shore of Sydney. The school is founded on Anglican traditions and welcomes students from all traditions into their culture. Barker is known for its wide variety of student opportunities within a magnificent campus and learning environment.

What I loved: The unstaged action shots of students throughout the site depicts the wide variety of opportunities students can participate in. I also love the creative placement of photographs within the letter B through the site. The navigation is easy to use and generally you can find pages where you would expect to. Overall, I love the colour and creativity of the website.

The virtual tour videos are well done and give you a great feel for the College prior to visiting the school.

Mobile friendly: Yes

Considerations for improvement: I would add more content to the home page that is focused towards prospective school enrolments. Also, the opt-in form is very long which may lead to a low fill-in rate.

KNOX Grammar School

URL: https://www.knox.nsw.edu.au

Knox Grammar, named after John Knox, is a day and boarding school for boys with two campuses located in Wahroonga and the competitive area of Sydney’s Upper North Shore. Knox boasts excellent results as a top performing, non-selective school and was founded in 1924 by the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

What I loved: The central X on their home page header. The fun and engaging photography style throughout their website. The image gallery navigation on the home page is well done, contrasting students with staff below. I also love the ‘What’s happening at Knox’ section on the home page as it is a clean and well structured way to have College updates front and centre.

Mobile friendly: Yes

Considerations for improvement: a simplified mega-menu structure.

Cooloola Christian College

URL: https://ccc.qld.edu.au

In full disclosure, Cooloola Christian College’s website was designed by the Roberts Digital team.

Cooloola Christian College is a K-12 Christian school in Gympie, Queensland. The school is well-known in it’s local community with a warm inclusive and safe learning environment. The College is a top performer for their region with the innovative application of the Walker Learning Approach being implemented in the school.

What I loved: The striking header image makes a great impact on arrival. The ‘Every Child Matters’ navigation is a more personalised way to navigate the year level categories with photos of students representing each category rather than the usual icons used. The website feels uncluttered – a unique approach for a school website. The website also has testimonials that are prominent throughout the site, highlighting its excellent community.

Mobile friendly: Yes

Mentone Girls’ Grammar

URL: https://www.mentonegirls.vic.edu.au

Based in Mentone (a bayside suburb of Melbourne), Mentone Girls’ Grammar is an independent, Anglican day school for girls. Mentone Girls’ Grammar school was founded in 1899 and caters for over 700 girls from Early Learning to Year 12.

In 2014 Mentone Girls’ Grammar School became the first school in the world to receive the Certificate of International Education with the Council of International Schools.

What I loved: The bright red brand colour makes for an impactful website that stands out. I love the unique look and layout for a school website and the photography used. The header section is also unique and an effective way to highlight content without the use of a slider.

Mobile friendly: Yes, with minor adjustments needed.

Considerations for improvement: Some images are cropped incorrectly and some content is missing or has been temporarily removed.

Belmont Christian College

URL: https://bcc.nsw.edu.au

Founded in 1982, Belmont Christian College has grown from a school of 12 to a Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12 College. Based in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, the College is providing a solid educational foundation and a variety of learning opportunities for their students.

What I loved: The purpose of the College is evident right from the home page with their vision and mission visible for all to see. Standout facts about the College are presented on the home page using storytelling, and links for prospective parents to book a school tour and enrol are clearly visible. I love the creativity used in the design, the bright bold photographs, and the use of curved lines to reinforce their brand feel.

Mobile friendly: Yes

Considerations for improvement: Clearer call-to-action.

Pedare Christian College

URL: https://www.pedarecc.sa.edu.au

Based in Adelaide, Pedare Christian College is a coeducational Anglican and Uniting Church school offering quality education from Pre-Reception to Year 12. Pedare enjoys a diverse and multicultural school community and is internationally accredited as an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program and Primary Years Program school.

What I loved: I must have a thing for red and blue because this is another school website design that I love. The contrast created with the red and blue corporate colours results in a striking school website design. Additionally, the unique layout of the school categories (Primary, Middle and Senior) is refreshing and looks great! I am also a fan of the circle logo in the middle of the site.

Mobile friendly: Yes

Considerations for improvement: Some of the site elements feel unfinished or added on with elements overlapping text.

St John’s Anglican College

URL: https://stjohnsanglicancollege.com.au

A leading Kindergarten to Year 12 co-educational school, St John’s Anglican College is based in Forest Lake, Queensland. The school commenced in 1994 and was formerly known as Forest Lake College until 2011. The College prides itself on ‘Faith, Service and Courage’.

What I loved: Overall, the design is visually appealing with clean content sections. I love the icon watermark and highlighted content sections. They have used their two brand colours effectively with red headlines and blue sub-headings. I love the prominent placement of the Principal on the home page (a photo of her with students) and the invitation to learn more about her. This could be done more on school websites. They clearly highlight their enrolments section with a tour booking link in an easy to find location for prospective parents.

Mobile friendly: Yes, very visually appealing on mobile too!

Considerations for improvement: The navigation font could be made one or two points smaller and tightened up a bit.

Cabra Dominican College

URL: https://www.cabra.catholic.edu.au 

Based in Adelaide, Cabra Dominican College is a private, independent Catholic College that began in 1886. Cabra is co-educational for Years 7 to 12 students with a focus on excellence in teaching and learning while supporting their teachers and students.

What I loved: The simplicity and clean design of this school website is pulled off with a sophisticated finish. The font, spacing and placement of images is all done in a way that is pleasing to the eye and results in a website that is functional, uncomplicated and effective. A small detail that I love is the fact that their contact details are so accessible with a button on the top right.

Mobile friendly: Yes

Considerations for improvement: Some of the text over images is not readable.

AGC Sunderland

URL: https://sunderland.acgedu.com

Founded in 2007, AGC Sunderland is located in Auckland, New Zealand. A private school from Preschool to Year 13, this coeducational school offers a wide variety of academic and co-curricular opportunities for its students to pursue.

In 2019, AGC Sunderland achieved 100% A Level pass rate and were awarded top in Chemistry, Physical Education, Mathematics and English.

What I loved: I am actually a big fan of the effective use of white space in school website design. I love the use of standout colours contrast with white space that results in a beautiful finish. ACG Sunderland’s unique brand look has been skillfully implemented on their website with the use of unique shapes and angles. The school also has well placed calls-to-action throughout the website.

Mobile friendly: Yes

Considerations for improvement: The navigation could be tightened up.

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