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We are all going on a summer holiday – aren’t we?

19/07/2016 11:43:04 | John Cannon

With the 2015/16 academic year drawing to a close many staff are able to enjoy a summer break.

However the summer period is often one of the busiest times for non-teaching staff.

IT are often using the time to upgrade software, servers, IT infrastructure and other such projects that cannot be done when the academic year is in session.

The Bursary is busy preparing and sending Bills to close off the last academic year and open up the next one.

Grounds and Maintenance teams are busy keeping the school in tip top condition ready for next year and working around any activities that may be taking place over the summer period such as sports clubs, language schools, summer camps, etc.

Also spare a thought for the Exams Officer who may have two key dates fast approaching: when results need to be downloaded from the exams board and sent to pupils, not to mention the statistical analyses likely to be required to go with this.

How can such people reclaim some of their summer back?

Having the right tools for the job in hand is a start. You wouldn’t expect the grounds staff to cut the grass with a pair of scissors so in the same way I am sure we would all want Management Information Systems that make our lives easier and make the performance of complex tasks straightforward.

Below are just some of the ways a management information system should help you enjoy more free time over the summer period.

Year End Rollover

At the end of the year pupils typically move classes, forms, tutors etc. and a simple process of uplifting all the pupils in, say Form 1a to Form 2b next year should be available. Once the relevant mappings are in place it should be possible to prepare most of the next academic year at the push of a button.

Timetabling

The ability to build and prepare a timetable in advance of the new academic year is vital. Depending on how the timetable is built, routines should be provided to make this as simple as possible. If timetabling packages such as Timetabler, GP Untis, etc. are used then the Management Information System should be able to share data with these (rooms, staff, etc.) and import a timetable rotation. Timetables can then be printed and handed out to pupils or for those schools with a Portal displayed to both pupils and parents online in advance of them starting in the New Year.

Admissions

Having a fully integrated Management Information System with an admissions module will mean that new starts can be created at the push of a button ready for the New Year and for the Bursary to generate a fee bill.

Reports should be available on the admissions process to track things like conversion rates, best source of inquiries, open day attendance and also reason why a pupil does not come to the school. Where third party admissions software is used it should be possible to import a file containing new starter details without the need to manually re-key data.

Billing

At year end Billing brings its own challenges. As well as the normal fee bill run, bills have to be generated for leavers, deposits refunded (or retained), new starters invoiced and extras managed for the coming year. Having a fully featured Billing system that caters for all of this is surely a must for Independent Schools.

Exams

Last of all let’s spare a thought for the Exams Officer who has to manage probably the two most stressful days of the year - A Level and GCSE results days. Having a system that communicates with the exam boards and allows them to download the results file in advance of the publication day is vital.

Once downloaded, such a system should also provide analysis of the results e.g. XX% of students achieved an A* (or equivalent) or XX% achieved grades A*-C (or equivalent). The reporting should be able to cater for the internal reporting requirements and also the external publication to pupils and possibly parents. This could be in paper format via letter, e-mail or even via a portal depending on the schools preference.

To find out how WCBS can help you make more of the short summer we have contact us either by phone +44 (0)1458 833344 or e-mail.

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