A recent report revealed that over a third of education professionals have experienced a mental health issue in the past academic year, with an overwhelming number citing unmanageable workloads among the chief causes.
With the possibility of additional resources and further funding uncertain, it seems that in the meantime schools are going to have to look elsewhere to offer their members of staff more support.
Can technology help to reduce workloads?
At iSAMS, we don’t just believe it’s reasonable to expect technology to support us with these challenges, but that it’s increasingly necessary.
The requirements of the education community are continually evolving and edtech needs to adapt with it to ensure that it can keep meeting the needs of education professionals around the world. One such example at the core of every school or college is a management information system (MIS).
Every school needs an MIS of some kind to function effectively. So, regardless of which system you use, why not maximise its impact to ensure it does as much as possible to help reduce the workload of every member of your school?
Heads and deputy heads of school
Sitting on the senior management team, your heads and deputies face a huge amount of pressure among those responsible for your school’s overall success. To help ensure its continued growth and development, they require quick access to the crucial information they need to support them in their decision-making processes.
It would therefore be helpful to look for an MIS that offers you top level reporting functionality, with the option to drill down into more detailed information where needed. Something like the iSAMS interactive dashboard will give you an instant overview of key insights, whilst enabling you to easily navigate into more granular detail on a variety of custom reports on financial information, staff management, academic performance and more.
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In addition to this, being able to access this information remotely, wherever your headteachers are in the world and whenever they need to, is a big bonus.
As Marcel Blackbeard, group ICT manager at Braeburn Schools Limited said: “Having a centralised system, like iSAMS, that can be accessed anywhere, whether you’re in or outside of school, is not to be underrated. It’s really useful, both for my team and other staff members, that you only need a supported browser to access the system at home.”
Not only does this save huge amounts of time, as your heads of school no longer need to be on site to view essential school information, but it also makes it even easier to communicate with staff and parents as needed.
The backbone of your school community, your bursars are also pivotal to the day-to-day running and future success of your school. The problem is that often your school’s MIS and financial systems run in isolation, without options to fully integrate them.
This can lead to duplicated work, inputting details into two systems, and increases the chance of any errors that may emerge in the process.
That’s why we recommend supporting your finance team by improving the efficiency of your financial budgeting, reporting and forecasting, with a fully integrated system that helps you effectively track and monitor your finances all year round.
Not only would a full system integration help significantly with some of the daily challenges your finance team face, but so would automating some core processes such as paperless POs and invoicing, enabling key stakeholders to see live budget statuses, creating pre-defined and fully-interactive reporting, and retaining clear paper trails to help trace expenditure.
Making use of every one of these features with a comprehensive accounting system such as iFinance from iSAMS, Michael Coles, bursar at St Edward’s Cheltenham, said: “iFinance has enabled us to have better reporting, particularly at management and board level, which has meant that we’re able to make better strategic decisions.
“It’s also given me greater ability to place my hands on the relevant information I need, making it much easier and quicker to see where key figures come from.”
As an IT director, an awful lot of your time can quickly become engrained in sourcing and granting access to information for other members of staff. So, to alleviate some of this, it makes sense for you to empower staff members to get hold of their own records and data.
Not only does this provide you with wider-reaching solutions for multiple stakeholders across the school, but it could save you and your team valuable time.
As Ben Whitaker, head of IT services at Bury Grammar School, discovered: “It’s not just my team benefitting from their time being saved by iSAMS. It’s now so quick and easy to access data, members of staff across our schools can get all the information they need directly from the MIS.”
Beyond this, many of your key concerns will surround the efficient management and protection of the large quantities of data held across your school or group of schools. However, this is also something that could be effectively managed by a holistic MIS.
That’s one of the reasons that, in keeping with the latest technology available, we’ve introduced 2FA and features to protect staff members from using known breached passwords, amongst other enhanced security features to assist with ensuring your school’s information is secure.
With support in minimising security risks and the ability to set permissions across the school community so staff, students and parents can instantly access the information they need, your IT directors will be able to dedicate their time to other essential tasks.
Teachers are always on the front line, supporting their students throughout school in their journey to higher education. Facing daily pressure, which often extends beyond school hours, effective MIS technology and supporting apps can be fundamental to supporting your teaching staff with their workloads.
First and foremost, making it even easier to access key information can significantly reduce the time spent on lengthy administrative tasks so teachers can focus on what they’re fundamentally there to do: teach. The data and exams manager at Aylesbury Grammar School, Chris King, said that since introducing their chosen MIS, iSAMS, “data management has been far easier for all our staff members, including lesson by lesson registration” and “the ease of use is really appreciated by our teachers”.
With functionality enabling teachers to take the register, input and amend student information, communicate with parents and colleagues, monitor student wellbeing and write school reports – all on desktop and/or mobile devices – an all-inclusive technology offering is a huge help for rebalancing workloads so they’re more manageable for your teachers.
Marketing and admissions
In charge of onboarding new students and processing their applications, your marketing and admissions teams are an essential part of your school’s ongoing growth and progression. However, this can often involve some of the most labour-intensive paperwork going at school.
Working with paper is hugely time-consuming, as it’s harder to organise, involves more time-consuming processes and makes it more difficult to find key information when you need it. That’s why looking for a paperless, online solution is so important; you can save hours each month that would otherwise have been spent looking for and replacing files.
Combining an online platform to manage your school’s admissions process and a module which seamlessly syncs our admissions portal and MIS, our unique Admissions package gives you everything you need to take back control over every aspect of the admissions process and make consistent record-keeping fully automated.
It’s not just your admissions team that’ll benefit from moving web-based either. Your marketing team can design a fully branded and customisable admissions form that’s hosted on your school’s own website, so you can collect and the important information you need from prospective parents and ensure your brand is recognisable from the very beginning.
iSAMS understands that an MIS is never going to be able to replace the hard work that your staff members do day in, day out, but the right MIS and supporting apps could transform the way information is shared and accessed across your school community.
By investing in edtech such as this and maximising the use of a platform like iSAMS, you could save your staff huge amounts of time and alleviate some of their daily stresses by automating administrative processes and reducing the duplication of work, so they can focus on other key tasks and responsibilities.