City of London School for Girls is a leading independent school in the heart of London. Our brief was to create a new website that delivered on the objectives of generating applications from prospective parents, but also that conveyed the character of the school, its unique approach, and importantly dispelled some myths about what life is like at the school.
CLSG is situated in the heart of the City of London, surrounded by the brutalist towers of the Barbican and Roman ruins below. This does not match the typical idea of an independent girls’ school, and the perception is of a cramped, urban jungle, which may not appeal to prospective parents. In reality, the school has exceptional facilities and is a proud inhabitant of the square mile, and the opportunities this affords the girls.
It was a total delight to work with Wild Dog. They worked extremely hard - and imaginatively - with us to help realise our vision, and we could not be more thrilled with our new website.Liza Coutts, Communications Strategy Consultant, City of London School for Girls
Meanwhile, many years of academic success had given the school as a ‘hothouse’, which was unrepresentative of the breadth of learning, a focus on extra-curricular activities such as the arts, as well as a vision of what a well-rounded, modern education should be. And this was reflected in the warm relationship between the girls and the teachers, and the sense of fun in the pupils.
As well as working directly with the marketing team on the project, we ran a series of workshops with 7 discrete groups of potential web users: different age groups of pupils, alumnae, parents, teachers and the senior leadership team. This was central in our understanding of what it is like to be a pupil at CLSG, the personality of the school, and how they wanted this to be reflected in their new website.
Our approach to the website focused around bringing the strategic proposition of the school, “Finding Space to Pioneer”, to life.
Our interpretation of this was that the central, unique campus offered a huge amount of appeal, and there was much to be proud of the history and location of the school. Despite the urban location, the school includes exceptional facilities, from art studios, music studios, playing fields and swimming pools. Meanwhile, the school was not purely focused on churning out A* grades, but was intent on preparing pupils to pioneer in whatever field they chose.
We used the setting of the school as the starting point for visitors’ online journey, taking them on a journey from the top of Barbican skyscrapers, down to the Roman ruins below, in a single panoramic photo. Journeying down from the sky brings in a variety of key content areas, in a mixture of formats, from photos, video, as well as quirky illustrations to add personality and demonstrate the wit and warmth of the school.
A hand-drawn outline of the buildings includes a variety of interactive hotspots for users to uncover the school facilities.
Meanwhile, we introduced new features to help deliver the core business objectives – getting prospective parents to apply. This included an interactive application timeline, to help parents understand the process they would be going through. We also designed and build a catchment area map, showing parents the breadth of where the pupils came from.
The Information Architecture phase was crucial, re-organising the content and making it easier to find the crucial information, without hiding everything in endless drop down menus. Importantly, the new ‘wellbeing’ section was given equal billing to ‘learning’, to highlight the fact that the happiness of the girls was not an afterthought.