TweetHere are three simple uses of advanced search techniques that can help you find out more about how a school is run:
- “Senior management team” site:sch.uk will look for pages that mention the exact phrase “senior management team” on school websites. Only schools can have a website ending with .sch.uk, and “senior management team” is a particular piece of jargon that refers to people with specific responsibilities at a school.
- Board meeting minutes site:sch.uk will look for pages that mention those words on school websites. There are no quotation marks here because we don’t want to match an exact phrase – results include “board of governors” and “minutes of board meeting”
- “Cluster meeting” site:sch.uk will look for pages on school websites that mention that particular exact phrase – more jargon to refer to meetings that teachers, governors and the senior management team participate in to share information, skills and knowledge between schools and other bodies. You can also try “cluster group” (explained here).
How does this work?
The above searches use three core techniques of advanced searching:
- Putting phrases in quotation marks restricts results to pages that contain that exact phrase, rather than pages that might contain those words spread around the page.
- Using the site: operator restricts results to pages on websites that end in the domain you add on the end. Site:uk would limit results to sites that end in .uk (including .co.uk, .nhs.uk and so on). Site:sch.uk limits results to sites that end in – you guessed it – .sch.uk. And site:bham.sch.uk would only give us results from schools in that particular area. You can even use this to specify a specific school website, or what are called ‘fourth level domains‘, like chadvale.bham.sch.uk. Note that there is no space after the colon.
- Using jargon that we expect to find used on the page we want means we are more likely to find it than if we simply searched for what we want. All industries have their own jargon, and taking the time to find out about it will save you much more time in tracking down the information you want.
There’s also another technique which we haven’t used: limiting results by type of file. You can do this with filetype: – for example if we expected to find information in a PDF (such as a report) then filetype:pdf would only give us PDFs in the results. For spreadsheets, word documents and Powerpoint presentations you would use filetype:xls, filetype:doc and filetype:ppt respectively.
Do you have any more tips or jargon that would be useful to people trying to find out how schools work?