Custom CMS to reduce school admin

We are often asked what makes our school websites stand out from the rest? Whilst we take great pride in the custom designs we offer schools, the area we have invested most of our time in has been our bespoke CMS system.

We understand that school resources can be quite stretched which means administration tasks need to be as easy as possible. Our system is built very much with this in mind, implementing a carefully designed user interface. Schools can have multiple logins, with varying levels of admin rights.

Over the years many agencies have relied on WordPress as the ‘go-to’ CMS system. We used to do this ourselves. They can offer many different widgets and plugins which can work for some businesses. What they don’t do is create a solution bespoke to a target audience, in this case the education sector.

Before spending close to 12 months developing our system, we carried out a wide range of research on school websites. This included speaking to students, teachers and parents. We wanted to find out what each group wanted from the website and how we could help use the most modern technology to make their life easy.

School staff said they wanted a clear dashboard where they could find sections easily and not worry about breaking anything.

We are based in the North East but work with schools across UK and Ireland. We are more than happy to visit your school to give a live demonstration of the CMS system and show how the website would look with your school branding.

Contact us on 01642 955681 for more information or email team@academycreative.co.uk

Nursery School Website Platform

Last year we successfully launched our school website platform which has proved a big hit with those operating in the education sector. We are now in a position to roll this service out to nursery schools.

The main benefit to our website system is an easy to use admin system which is built to make updating the website as simple as possible. We understand not every nursery school will have dedicated IT support and the websites are built with this in mind.

The aim of our pricing model is to provide you with the highest level of customer support. The monthly payments include all of your website hosting, ongoing support, training and updates. Technology can constantly evolve, with our subscription sites we will be providing updates to sites on an on going basis meaning there is no need to worry about your nursery school website becoming dated.

We are happy to visit your nursery school to show you how the platform works and talk through your needs.

Pricing for a new nursery school website is £500 + VAT set up fee followed by monthly payments of £75 + VAT.

Contact team@acdemycreative.co.uk for more information.

Senior Developer role with Academy Creative

In April 2015 ​we launched Academy Creative​, ​an exciting new​ ​brand ​operating extensively in the eduction sector​​.​ The interest and growth of Academy Creative has created the need for us to build the core team, so we are now looking to employ a full time senior developer to head up the development team and provide insight on all things digital.​

​The role will focus on the web, primarily the LAMP and LEMP stack; so expertise in this area is essential. The ideal candidate will have a strong development background, with experience in the provision (and administration) of a dedicated linux hosting infrastructure. Familiarity with virtualised and cloud based infrastructures is also required.

You will be working alongside a team with years of experience in an open and relaxed environment where you’ll be able to drive projects forward, while also developing junior members of the team and supporting our growing business development. While prior management experience is not essential, you will be expected to shape and manage the development team to meet the needs of the business.

What are we looking for academically?

​- ​4​ or more​​ years​ ​experience in​ ​​a web development role
​- ​A degree level qualification in a relevant discipline

​And professionally?​

​- ​A proven track record working with web technologies
​- A creative thinker with good communication
– The ability to create and maintain project specifications and supporting documentation
– A proven track record managing and meeting project deadlines
– The ability to support existing web based projects
– The drive to monitor and maintain quality in all digital media produced

What kind of technology do we use at the minute?

​​- On the front end we tend to use HTML5, CSS, jQuery​ and bootstrap​
​- On the back end ​we tend to use ​​MySQL, PHP​, Laravel​
​- Our creative team use Adobe Creative Suite​
​- We work on Mac’s and store everything ​GIT

We’re offering a starting salary of up to £30​k​pa for the right candidate. ​If you you’ve got the skills but lack something specific in the above, ​thats not the end of the world​ and we won’t be offended so please feel free to apply.

Email team@academycreative with your up to date CV.

Trio of new websites to start 2017

January has been a busy month at Academy Creative HQ in Stockton. In the past week three new school websites have been launched on our bespoke primary school website platform. Errington Primary, Wheatlands Primary and St Bedes Academy have all been added to the new system which is aimed to provide staff with an easy to use system whilst also looking great.

If your school could benefit from a new website please get in touch on team@academycreative.co.uk or 01642 655681. We are more than happy to visit schools to show you live demonstrations on how the site works.

Landmark Teaching Alliance Conference

It was great to be invited along to the Landmark Teaching Alliance conference today. The group sees a number of schools in Redcar and East Cleveland come together to help each other through partnership.

We presented to the school heads our new primary school website platform, demonstrating the ease of use for staff and the different designs we have available.

We have a number of school marketing workshops planned at Academy Creative HQ in Stockton which we will be circulating dates in the coming weeks.

Improved Navigation Feature

Feedback we had from schools in the past was that the navigation was crucial to the success of the website. With this in mind we wanted to create a clear navigation system which would keep the front-end user happy as they browsed the site.

Integral to this is the drop down menu. In our v1 websites this was a full page width navigation, moving away from the traditional one column drop down.

The next phase was to improve this further, by creating sub-sections within the drop down. We understand the need for schools to publish lots of information and by adding this feature this can be done with the look and feel and of the site uncompromised.

The designers of the future!

You may have heard someone in the office say “that looks like it has been designed by a ten year old.” Whilst we have never had that feedback from any of our work (!) it might be something we start to hear more of.

During the summer term our design team will be working with a special group of interns at St Bedes Primary Academy in Marske. As part of our ‘design in the community’ programme, we will be delivering sessions on graphic design to students.

We will talk through the design process to the students before helping them create their own brands. We will then take their artwork and create digital logos with mockups on various types of media.

If your school is looking for some project-based learning we are more than happy to run something similar. Please contact us for more information.

Special offer for the summer term!

With the summer term in full swing, you may have started to think about your marketing plans for the 2016/17 school year. If a new website is high on your agenda, we are currently offering considerable savings to those who sign up for a new website before the end of July 2016.

You can save 50% on our usual set up fee, meaning you will have to pay just £250 upfront for your new website. Our sites are packed full with features, all aimed at saving you a considerable amount of admin time and improving how you communicate as a school. All of our sites are built with Ofsted requirements in mind, and ensure you meet the standards they set.

We provide full training on the websites to your staff to ensure you get the most from the site.

We are happy to visit you to run through how the sites work. Contact us today on 01642 955681 to find out more.

Time to refresh your brand?

Deciding to redesign a logo is a big step for any school or college. There may be sentimental attachment to the logo; perhaps it was designed by a student or is significant to another key moment in the schools history.

With the change in how people use media, it is crucial that the logo works across a range of mediums, particularly in digital. Understandably, when many school logos were created this wasn’t taken into account and the logo can look dated and pixelated.

The design team at Academy Creative are highly experienced in developing brands for schools. A rebrand can often be a frightening prospect, but the knowledge Academy Creative have in the industry means we can make the process smooth and straightforward.

Launching a new logo means there is a need for new stationary, template documents, prospectus’ and signage. These are all areas which Academy Creative can support schools with.

St Bede’s Primary Academy became part of the Nicholas Postgate Academy Trust in 2015 and viewed this as a perfect opportunity to refreshing their school brand. The brief was they were looking for a modern design which would look great across various channels, including uniforms and the school website. Anna Coulson, Executive Headteacher, St Bede’s Primary Catholic Voluntary Academy:

The support we had from mm&d was fantastic. They took on board the feedback from our whole school community and created a modern take on the previous brand.

The last school Ofsted inspection judged us as outstanding and we feel we have a brand to match the continued success of the school”

Contact the team at Academy Creative today to see how we can support your school.

Join the team at Academy Creative

We are looking for a PHP developer to join the Academy Creative team at our HQ in Hartlepool.

Working on an exciting project, the candidate will work as part of our website team, with regular communication with internal staff and clients and partners.

Daily tasks will include:

  • Front-end web development; using PHP, HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, Javascript and related technologies.
  • Backend web development; creating dynamic content that interacts with MySQL databases using PHP to sit with the front-end development.
  • The extension and maintenance and upkeep of our current client websites to ensure their smooth running.

Key skills:

  • HTML5 and CSS3 experience
  • PHP
  • MySQL database design & creation
  • JavaScript / jQuery
  • Knowledge of Ecommerce and payment gateways
  • Communicating with in-house team and clients
  • Server Maintenance
  • Adobe Creative Packages

Your abilities:

  • Creative thinker
  • Takes pride and ownership in their work
  • Excellent awareness of web trends
  • Excellent time management and organisational skills

How to apply:

Email an up to date CV with examples of your previous work to team(at)academycreative.co.uk

Deadline:

5th April 2016.