Improving staff efficiency and safeguarding
Getting staff to use the features of SIMS effectively, particularly remotely, has been an on-going issue for Chipping Campden School in Gloucestershire. Rhys Froggatt, Director of eLearning at the school wanted a better way for teachers to be able to interact with SIMS. He explains why:
“We’ve been a SIMS school for a long time and it is our primary MIS (Management Information System). Whilst it holds all our key data, it’s not simple and straightforward for our busy staff. I wanted something that was simple and user-friendly to put into the hands of our teachers.”
Given the school’s recent move to provide all their teachers with iPads, a mobile app approach made more sense. SIMS Teacher App was on their horizon until they discovered Edulink One at BETT 2017.
So, what grabbed Rhys’ attention after seeing a demonstration?
“It basically boiled down to the fact Edulink One was so easy to use, as well as the breadth of features it offered. Crucially I was interested in their plans for future development. With every feature suggestion I threw at Overnet Data, they would come back with an answer that was ‘yes, we can do that’, rather than, ‘no, we can’t’. This was refreshing.”
“Having Edulink One packaged as a native app, as well as a web app made this an attractive proposition. It makes the accessibility of student data so easy. The more data that’s in an easy format that can be put in front of our staff, the better they can tailor their teaching to the students in front of them.”
So, what was the rollout like?
Rhys explains, “I could not fault it. The support team were on the ball from day one. The reaction time from signing the agreement to having Edulink One set up and running was probably less than 48 hours! The support really is what Overnet Data do so well. It is second-to-none. I know I can phone or email them with a query and it’s responded to within one working day.”
Within months of deploying Edulink One, teachers were regularly:
- Taking registers electronically in every lesson from their iPads, even out on the sport fields for PE
- Recording achievement and behaviour points through Edulink One
- Accessing student contact info, particularly the senior leadership team
- Using the new resource booking system – saving the school £1,000 as they no-longer needed a separate booking app
They are also embarking on trialling the detention system.
Getting to the crux of matter, how has Edulink One benefitted the school?
Rhys explains how Edulink One is key to their safeguarding strategy:
“Safeguarding is the top priority in every school. The ability to take a register immediately at the beginning of every lesson and have that information of who is present or not reported instantly to our attendance officer is vital. They can continually monitor, looking at vulnerable people to make sure that they are where they should be. We’ve been able to react very quickly to incidents where students chose not to be where they should be. We’ve managed to locate them and return them to lessons within a few minutes.”
“Additionally, staff in our PE department were taking paper registers and having to send them with runners. Whereas now they can stand out on the Astroturf pitch with their iPad to take the register, and then get on with their lesson. They’re not worried about carrying paper and things like that.”
“Teachers love the feature where the Pupil Premium, SEN and medical alert flags are shown on the register screen. That’s a great feature. It means that we’ve now got at our fingertips information on who is in our class and what we need to do to support them.”
“Our designated safeguarding lead reviewed the attendance tab and looked through some of her students’ attendance graphs. She commented that it was a very powerful visual representation. Put that in the hands of the parents as well and they’ll soon understand the message that attendance is vitally important for all students.”
Rhys wraps up this case study by explaining their next phase of deployment for Edulink One.
“We are looking to roll out Edulink One to parents next. We’re hoping that this will make a big difference to communication with them. Certainly, being able to use the push notification messaging system will cut our text messaging budget quite considerably!”
“For example, we will be distributing student reports electronically via Edulink One. That’s going to save our Data Manager a huge amount of work, because at the moment we’re doing paper reports three times a year for the whole school. Plus, printing costs are going to cut right down.”