Convey confidence & competence to school website visitors in just 3 letters – SSL

Here’s something that not a lot of people know.

There’s a goal in mind for the web and that is to enable every website address to begin with https:// instead of http:// so that the data that passes between site and sender/visitor is encrypted.  Google are big supporters of it amongst others.

Here’s something that not a lot of people know either.

This is the how the various web browsers that people use globally compare and yes, back there in the distance is Internet Explore & Edge with Chrome beating way out in front.

browser stats for dec2016

Source: https://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php

Why are these ‘pub trivia’ facts important?

Well, at the end of January this year, Google’s latest version of Chrome (v56) (the dead popular one) will ultimately start telling visitors to your school website whether it’s secure or not.

secure

What are the benefits of going secure?

  1. When you’re logging in to your school website to update it with new content, an encrypted secure connection (Secure Socket Layer Certificate) comes into it’s own.  SSL means that when you enter your username and password to update the site for example, the login information travels securely to it’s destination making access to your website even more secure.
  2. Noone wants Ofsted raising their eyebrows when they visit your site – life is hard enough complying with DfE information requirements – and every little helps. (there is no requirement for SSL from DfE or Ofsted as of 17/1/17)
  3. Your parent & carer community will see ‘SECURE’ being directly associated with the school which has to be good.
  4. In 2011 Google announced that they were making changes to help secure sites do better in searches and to date this has remained the same.

What can your school do about it?

Your web site host will have a very easy and quick method of applying a security certificate to your website thus making it secure for visitors and site managers.   It’s pretty rare that the school tech support would touch this job so unless they’re the person who built and hosted your website we suggest leaving them well alone.  This Google site has a technical guide for how to implement an SSL so if your tech is the person they may want this link.  Schools who have a Blippit Site are already compliant with SSL in place.

 

Our suggestion would be to get the ball rolling tomorrow with a quick email to your provider saying:

“Hi,

We’d like you to apply an SSL certificate to our school website please. We’d like to do this for 12 months initially and need this in place by February or March at the latest.  Can you let us know what we need to do on our part to do this e.g. forward an email from the certificate issuing authority to you when it comes?

Thanks,

<School Who Knows What They’re Talking About>”

What happens if we don’t get a security certificate applied to the school website?

Nothing!

You can carry on as you are and everything will stay the same. The main issue is that the world’s most widely used web browser will start telling visitors that your site is not secure and in this day and age that’s probably not what you want.

Good luck & support a more secure web!

Further Reading:
LetsEncrypt runs the certificate authority that issues free SSL certificates so cost is no longer a barrier to using HTTPS and both Google and Mozilla to actively promote and recommend the use of HTTPS as standard.

Improve response rates mid year on Ofsted Parent View Questions & other surveys too!

FlierIf, like us, you know that it’s ‘a bit challenging’ sometimes to get parents to fill in the mid-year Parent Survey that you’ve created based upon Ofsted’s Parent View form, this may be an innovative approach that will go down well.

FREE TO BLIPPIT SOCIAL SCHOOLS!
This is very low friction from a parent point of view because school is already engaging parents via Facebook so delivering and completing the survey actually ‘in’ Facebook makes the process nice and easy.

Data collection and collation is all taken care of too.  The moment a parent hit’s SEND your data is saved and automatically presented for easy interpretation by SLT & Governors.

NOT A BLIPPIT SCHOOL?
Prices for non-Blippit Social schools are listed below.


FAQs

No. This was just an example of a survey that we created.  You can survey parents on any topic you need to at any time
Yes. You can have unlimited space for comments.
Easily done – give out a school code/password to each family by text or letter and make entering that code a part of the survey.
A survey can be set up to cater for either.
We can include a compulsory question for people to enter their full family name so as not to rely on a Facebook profile names which may in the odd case be less helpful. Knowing who has responded and who hasn’t will be much simpler. Participation in surveys can also be incentivised via FB – i.e. we can use a prize draw feature to generate a random winner as a ‘thanks for participating’.
This is a free and ‘on demand’ service to all schools who use our Blippit Social service.  Schools who don’t use our Blippit Social Service can buy in ti Social Surveys at the rates below.  (Small school discount of 20% applies if you’re a Nursery, Infant or Juniors only school)

  • up to 10 questions  £  59
  • 11-20 questions      £  69
  • 21-30 questions      £  79
  • 31-40 questions      £  89

  1. Here’s how it would look on your school Facebook Page timeline except customised to your school
    Parental Survey on Facebook
  2. Below is one version of a survey which would normally just be seen in Facebook so that parents don’t get stressed moving off to another website but for this blog post we’ve placed it here as well.  You’re welcome to fill it in to get a feel for it 🙂

Communicating with parents heading in to the festive season within the structure of the Aristotelian Dramatic Arc!

The story arc of your school should ideally be less Aristotelian and more ‘Downton-ian’ where the peaks and troughs are relatively gentle and you could be forgiven for thinking that nothing much is really going on!

When school is on the front foot & leading communication it helps to make responding to parents less of a drama. We think Facebook is a key factor in taking the lead towards reclaiming school’s position as the authoritative news source.

Fishing where the fish are does work & if you’d like to know more you’re welcome to call 01772 657 100 or support@blippit.co.uk

Facebook: My story as a Primary Head

As a primary school headteacher, I have always been conscious of improving home-school communications. As a working Mum, I am all too familiar with the ‘What have you done today?’ ‘Nothing!’ conversation’ while struggling with guilty mother syndrome of missing special events and occasions in school. So when approached to discuss the concept of a ‘Social School’ with John Bidder at Blippit Social I was intrigued and my mind began to work.

An initial mind mapping session with John channelled my thinking and enabled me to explore the possibilities that lay ahead. On the mind map was the all too familiar ‘Facebook’ logo which I have got to admit did get the warning bells tinkling. Facebook conversations within the school setting tended to be negative ones centred around the tricky world of e-safety. However, chatting with John opened my eyes to the possibility that it could also be used as a powerful tool if well-planned and supported.

I wanted:-

  • To be able to give informal snippets of school life quickly
  • To point parents in the direction of things to read and watch
  • To access parents at any time of the day
  • To provide links to school for absent parents
  • To provide real experiences of school life that parents sometimes have to miss
  • To provide a forum for discussion between school, parents and community

John listened to my wish list and came back with a skeleton model for a Facebook page which looked really exciting. The social environment was tailor-made to suit our requirements yet had the potential to change as we wished.

I was keen to learn as we went along so made the decision to go ‘live’ very quickly. We have now provided a space where parents can engage with school informally, where parents can receive information, reminders, updates and tasters of school life at their fingertips.

One of the most powerful tools is the ‘Whittle Boo’ tab where we quickly upload sound files of school life e.g. tasters from music events, reports of sports events and visits. To do this, I use Audioboo – a simple tool which needed no time to prepare. I simply press record on my Iphone and by pressing ‘publish’ I immediately send content to our Facebook page and Audioboo. Parents have loved having the opportunity to hear their children mid-enthusiasm which is sometimes lost between the journey home, tea, bath and bed!

Quick and timely reminders e.g. Don’t forget it’s non uniform day tomorrow have been appreciated by the busy, working parent who has not yet found the newsletter buried at the bottom of the school bag.

It has also helped to send out messages about what our school is all about. We are a family oriented, friendly school and I think this is evident to others through our Facebook page. New places for our school have just been allocated to parents and we have had a few families this year who have been offered a place with us which was not their first choice! Not a good start! However, it was great to hear that they had logged on to the Facebook page and loved the tone of it. They then went on to visit the school in a much more positive frame of mind and are now happy with their allocated place. As a school, we don’t often have the chance to reach parents before they came to us yet our Facebook page could.

We are in the very early stages of being a ‘Social School’ yet already aware of its massive potential. I have been able to share snippets of video material for parents, plea for help with the Summer Fair, share songs from our school Choir, spread our celebrations at Sporting events, upload pictures, provide parents with access to ICT equipment via The Whittle Shop and let our parents know our Year 6 children have arrived safely at their residential trip. [UPDATE: 07/12 We’re now using Blippit Social’s Facebook app to manage our page]

Most recently John connected us up with University of Salford Business School and after meeting Dr Aleksej Heinze and Dr Gordon Fletcher there’s going to be some really exciting collaboration coming up for the school.

I have valued the ICT expertise of John to ensure it was tailor-made for us and was as safe as possible, I’ve had a few ideas that I want to get out there but would not have actually done it without the technical ‘know how’ and the fear of crossing the lines of internet safety. I have also found the tools I use to be simple and immediate which is crucial in our busy working days. As I mentioned, we are in the first steps of a journey with this project but I feel there is so much more potential in being a ‘Social School’.

[UPDATE: Clare is now Head at Salesbury Primary School Sept 2014] Clare Berryman (@whittleprimary)

Headteacher

Whittle-le-Woods C.E. Primary School

Just before the Head Teacher arrives…

I’ve got to be careful what I say today as there’s a Head Teacher going to be posting here shortly and I don’t want to get into trouble for poor sentence structure or rocking (spinning) on my chair.

My observation as we keep our foot down now with 80 likes on the primary Facebook page is that the parents are stepping up.  It’s the start of crowd sourcing plain and simple in some cases.

The school asked the question:

How can we increase the number of families engaged with our Facebook community?

The answers came back via the wall.
This last two weeks has seen real impact – even a popcorn maker.  Who’d have thought?