School Website Accessibility

– Is Your School Compliant?


Your school website serves as a crucial link to your school community and also as a way of engaging with new students, families and visitors who are interested in finding out more about your school. Your website therefore needs to be fully accessible, operable and inclusive to all who use it.


On the 23rd September 2018, the government released a document detailing the legal requirements for websites in the public sector. It states that all websites must adhere to the International WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard and an accessibility statement that explains how your website meets these standards must be published on your site.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have outlined a set of guidelines to ensure your website content and design can be accessed by all users. These include users who have disabilities such as; visual impairments, auditory impairments, motor difficulties, learning difficulties and cognitive impairments. 

To meet the WCAG 2.1 Principles of Accessible Website Design, your school website must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. To make it easier for you, we have taken the key points from each of these principles and put them into a simple guide below; 

Principle 1: Perceivable 

To ensure your school website meets the perceivable requirements, your users must be able to recognise and use your service with the senses that are available to them.

Key Points:

  • All Images need to contain text alternatives (‘alt text’). To do this you must describe as simply as possible what’s in each picture, eg. ‘Girl holding football’
  • Provide transcripts for all audio and video material for users that have hearing impairments.
  • Provide captions for videos which accurately describe the content. 
  • Use the correct label for every feature to ensure the relationship between content is defined accurately. 
  • Don’t use colour as the only way to explain or distinguish something.
  • Pick text colours that are clear and stand out against the background colour.
  • Check that all features can be used when the text size is increased by 200% and that your content reflows to a single column when it’s increased by 400%.
  • Refrain from using images of text.
  • Make sure the website is fully responsive to the user’s preferred device, page orientation and font size.
  • Check your website functions with assistive technologies and that the important messages on screen still remain clearly visible on screen readers.  

Principle 2: Operable

To meet this principle, your school website has to display content in a way that ensures users can find and use it, regardless of how they choose to access it (for example, using a keyboard or voice commands).

Key Points: 

  • Check everything works for keyboard only users.
  • Ensure that all moving content can be played, paused and stopped at any moment.
  • Provide your users with a ‘skip to content’ link.
  • Use descriptive titles for each page and frame.
  • Make sure users can move through content in a simple way.
  • Refrain from blinking or flashing content – or let the user disable animated content.
  • Use descriptive links so your user knows exactly where a link will take them, or what the downloadable content is.
  • Use accurate headings and labels, ensuring that any accessible labels match or closely resemble the label you’re using. 
  • Make it easy for keyboard users to see the item their keyboard or assistive technology is currently focused on – this is known as ‘active focus’
  • Only use things like mouse events or dynamic interactions (like swiping or pinching) when they’re strictly necessary – or let the user disable them and interact with the interface in a different way
  • Make it easy for users to disable and change shortcut keys.

Principle 3: Understandable


For principle 3, you have to make sure the people using your school website can understand your content and how your website works.

Key Points: 

  • Use simple words and keep sentences as short as possible. 
  • Don’t use words and phrases that people won’t recognise.
  • Explain all abbreviations and acronyms, unless they are well known and in common use.
  • Make sure the features on your site look consistent and behave in a predictable way.
  • All form fields must have visible and descriptive labels. 
  • Make it easy for people to identify and correct errors in forms.

Principle 4: Robust

For the final principle, you must check that your content can be used reliably by a wide variety of web browsers, plug-ins, media players and software (including reasonably outdated, current and anticipated browsers and assistive technologies)

Key Points: 

  • Use valid HTML (e.g. complete start and end tags) so however your user can accurately interpret and follow your content ( including with assistive technologies) 
  • Ensure your code allows users with assistive technologies know what every interface component is for, what state it’s currently in and if it changes.
  • Check that all important status messages or modal dialogs are coded in a way that informs your  user of their presence and purpose, and lets them interact with them using their assistive technology
  • Ensure your user can then return to what they were doing before they interacted with the status message or modal input.

What we do at hi-impact

Don’t worry if this all seems a little overwhelming, we can help make accessibility a simple process for you! Our media team are experts in school website design and are experienced in creating websites that are fully functional and accessible to all who use them. Accessibility is at the forefront of our design process and we can work with your school to achieve an inclusive site that meets the needs of your users.  

Alternatively we can help take your website to the next level by installing an accessibility feature throughout your site that has every accessibility tool you can imagine!

Go to our brand new school website for more information about our media services for schools or contact our team today; [email protected] 

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