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What we did in the holidays

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The summer holidays have been a busy time for our research and quality assurance teams.

Together our websites hold over four thousand articles. Summer is a good chance to review and update them with further guidance and case studies - a  meticulous task that our team actually enjoys! When school leaders are on holiday the volume of new questions drops, and so researchers have time to think about what extra sources would enhance each published article, as well as making changes to reflect new official guidance or regulations. For example, we've brought these articles on the new STPCD and Ofsted's revised inspection handbook bang up to date.

Another summertime task is reviewing the way we group articles under headings and sub headings on each website. Every year we look afresh at how the content has developed, according to all the new questions asked and answered, and which topics are of growing interest. We use the summer to change categories or create new ones, and move articles to where they will most easily be found by members browsing each website.

For example, on our service for governors over the past 12 months we’ve answered more questions on school staffing than expected. So we decided to create an area of the site where we can categorise these articles, meaning governors can now find answers to questions about headteacher appraisal or what happens at a staff disciplinary panel more easily.

We are also creating an ‘In the News’ article for school leaders. This rolling piece will gather interesting news stories from across the sector.  Look out for this - it should appear soon.

Improved tools

In addition, our researchers have been making good use of some new tools. We aim to fix any broken links in articles as soon as possible, and the link checker has helped speed up this process.

We've also developed a custom research tool which brings together information from different sources in one place. This means we can point our members to specific examples of good practice based on factors like a school’s size, location, Ofsted grading and other characteristics. It's a refinement that helps us get quickly to excellent material; we can access sources the every-day browser would not find easily elsewhere.

Our aim is that these improvements will help members of The Key explore topics more easily and quickly find the best possible answers to their questions. You might also notice that the websites look rather different. We've updated the format and presentation to make them easier to read on hand-held devices. Now The Key should be more of a friend than ever.

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