Part 2: do online incident logging systems improve school efficiency?

“In fact, the only thing it really doesn’t do is make a cup of tea!”

I recently asked all the subscribers of The Newsgroups, “Are online incident logging systems more hassle than they’re worth? Or do they really improve school efficiency?”

First of all I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who sent me an email sharing your thoughts on the matter, and I’m also grateful to Ed Whittaker of Schools Data Services Ltd who has provided me with a wealth of information to share with you.

In reading your responses, not one mentioned that an online incident logging system had impacted negatively upon the school’s working efficiency, but in fact quite the opposite.

However, it did become apparent from the responses that for schools to get the most out of an online incident logging system it should be tailored to the school’s needs.

Everest Community Academy’s Facilities, IT and Health and Safety Manager, Kevin Gardiner, wrote: “Fortunately we have a talented IT team who have written a bespoke in house admin software programme we call Black Bear.

“As well as logging all incidents and enabling us to collate the data and produce graphical representations, it also manages our intervention database, our detention system (automatically texting parents), our classroom support system, our CPD, Holiday and Absence logging and our Premises and IT Support tickets.

“In fact the only thing it really doesn’t do is make a cup of tea!

“We couldn’t do without it.”

Ed Whittaker explains, “There is a need for the school to be able to clearly demonstrate its performance and to show progress for individual pupils.

“A good electronic system, fully customised to the school, can provide all the necessary data and analysis instantly, in real time; providing the school management with all the information they need for Ofsted, governors and to inform the school development plan.”

If you have any questions about electronic/ online logging systems, you can contact Ed Whittaker at ed@sds.ac.

——————————————————————-

All today’s educational news stories appear on www.ukeducationnews.co.uk – the free news service for UK schools.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

The Administrator – Efficiency, effectiveness and job satisfaction

What is the simplest way of improving efficiency, effectiveness and job satisfaction, without any expenditure?

It is a simple fact of life that most of us like to think that we are fairly efficient and effective at managing our time. When we do consider our work and how we do it, we generally see that yes, given the constraints of the job, we’re handling the time available to us fairly well.

But the reality is that almost all of us could be much more productive. Not in a way that makes life more unpleasant, that turns us into a machine or makes everything into a remorseless round of drudgery, but in a way that actually makes our work more amenable to us. And which at the same time gets each job done in less time.

The most common objection to this is that we feel it is the constraints of our own job that force us to behave as we do at work. The office is crowded, new work keeps coming in, there are interruptions, we are not properly consulted on changes, and so on.

But the reality is that almost everyone can take one part of the day in which they are not very productive and turn it a period of the day when they are much more productive. It is possible; we just need to know how to do it.

In short, more gets done in a shorter amount of time if only we knew how to organise our work in a time-efficient manner.

It is to help everyone involved in the administration and finance of schools to make more effective use of their time that the School of Educational Administration and Management’s report on Time Management in Schools was produced.

The report itself is kept short so that you don’t need to spend too much time studying it, while still containing the key elements of the issue and a range of suggestions on how you can improve your own time management to gain immediate positive benefits.

The SEAM Time Management Report is available from the School of Educational Administration and Management as a download for just £6.00 – to buy please go on-line at http://shop.firstandbest.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=78&products_id=679

Should you wish to place a school order for the report instead of ordering it on-line there is an additional charge of £2.50.

You can order:

  • By telephone with a credit card or school order number at 01536 399011
  • By fax to 01536 399 012
  • By email to sales@firstandbest.co.uk
  • By post to The School of Educational Administration and Management, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Rd., Corby, Northants NN17 4HH

The School of Educational Administration and Management was set up in 2006 with funding from the Dept of Trade and Industry and support from the Faculty of Education at the University of Northampton in order to enable an interchange of relevant information between business management and school administration. Full details of our work can be found on www.admin.org.uk
Tony Attwood
Director, School of Educational Management and Administration

What is the easiest way to improve my working life?

Every week we answer the key questions that senior management in secondary schools are asking. And we do it all without charge.

Each week we look at a key issue in the life of senior management in secondary schools across the UK, dealing with questions such as “Is there more to the gender gap than disengaged boys?”.

Or perhaps a little more challenging, but still perfectly doable, “To what extent does teenage truancy affect future employment status?”

On another occasion we might ask, “What is the reason for one student appearing more anxious about their exams than the next?”

Or, staying with exams, “How can we limit the extent to which hay fever affects students’ exam performance?”

We’ve even looked at, “Can having the ability to forget really improve our productivity at work?” And the answer is yes, it can.

All these questions and many, many more are tackled each week in the free Secondary Educational Management Newsletter, which is published by Hamilton House Mailings Ltd.

To subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter, just visit our registration site.

To sign up for the Secondary Educational Management Newsletter, follow the ‘Click here’ link in the upper box. If you feel any of your colleagues elsewhere in the school might also be interested, you will also find a whole range of free newsletter available for them to subscribe to.

And finally, here’s the reassurance. The form only asks for your email address, nothing else. There really is nothing to pay, and you can unsubscribe at any time. We guarantee never to release the email addresses of any of our subscribers to anyone else at any time, ever.

If you have any questions, please do email me at Tony@hamilton-house.com or call me on 01536 399 013.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

Making the best use of the time available

What is the simplest way to get more work done more efficiently and effectively at no extra cost?

When we do consider our work and how we do it, I believe most of us like to think that, given the constraints of the job, we generally do as much as we can with the time available to us.

But the reality is that almost all of us could be much more productive. Not in a way makes everything into a remorseless round of drudgery (and precludes the occasional chat with colleagues), but in a way that enables us to take more control over our time and how we use it.

At this point it is human nature to become defensive, pointing out that it is not our fault that the office is crowded, that new work keeps coming in, that there are unplanned interruptions, that we are not properly consulted on changes, that the pupils are disruptive, and so on.

This can be a particular problem in the school office where administrators can perceive themselves to be at the beck and call of teachers, parents and even pupils and to have little control over the management of their day.

But the reality is that almost everyone can take one part of the day in which they are not very productive and turn it into a period of the day when they are much more productive. It is possible; we just need to know how to do it.

In short, it is possible to do more in a shorter period of time if only we knew how to organise our work in a time-efficient manner.

The SEAM Time Management Report discusses the key elements of this issue and offers a range of suggestions on how you can help your colleagues to improve their time management to gain immediate and positive benefits both for themselves and for the school. The report itself is kept short so that you don’t need to spend too much time studying it!

The SEAM Time Management Report is available from the School of Educational Administration and Management as a download for just £5.95 – to buy please go on-line at http://shop.firstandbest.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=78&products_id=679

Should you wish to place a school order for the report instead of ordering it on-line there is an additional charge of £2.50.

You can order:

  • By telephone with a credit card or school order number at 01536 399011
  • By fax to 01536 399 012
  • By email to sales@firstandbest.co.uk
  • By post to The School of Educational Administration and Management, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct, Earlstrees Rd, Corby, Northants NN17 4HH

Anne Cockburn
School of Educational Management and Administration

Sustainability in Education conference 2015

Making your school the greenest it can be!

Sustainability in Education are inviting heads, deputy heads, business managers, bursars, teachers and heads of estate to attend their annual conference – free of charge – in order to share knowledge on how schools can save money and reduce their environmental footprint.

At the conference there will be a wide range of topics up for discussion, from carbon reduction initiatives and sustainable solutions for Estates, to the costs of getting it wrong and drafting a Procurement Policy. To see the full list of topics on the agenda, click here.

The all-day conference will take place on 9th July 2015 at the CoRE Conference and Demonstrator Centre, Normacot Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 1PR.

To find out more about the conference, including how to book tickets, you can visit the Sustainability in Education website, or alternatively, you can contact Paul Anthony by phone on 0161 270 3330 or by email at Paul@4allofus.org.uk.

——————————————————————-

A complete list of all the nation’s schools with links to their websites now appears in the Schools Directory at www.schools.co.uk If your school’s website link is missing or is faulty, please let us know the correct entry and we’ll get it changed. Tens of thousands of parents use this site every year to check potential schools for their children. All listings are completely free.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

Every week we answer the key questions that school administrators are asking. And we do it all without charge.

Each week we look at a key issue in the life of school administrators across the UK, dealing with questions such as, “What is the best way to reduce the level of interruptions in the office?”

Or perhaps a little more challenging, but still perfectly doable, “What is the simplest way to get something changed in the school, if your senior management colleagues don’t see the importance of what I am suggesting?”

On another occasion we might ask,

“How can I protect myself against abuse from parents?”

Or, staying with parents, “How to reduce the number of parents who turn up at the office with trivial questions?”

We’ve even looked at the issue, “How to reduce the number of filing cabinets in the office?”

All these questions and many, many more are tackled each week on the free School Administration Newsletter, which is published by the School of Education Administration and Management.

The SEAM was set up with government funding and support from the University of Northampton under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme in 2006, and has been providing free information services ever since.

We also run a number of distance learning courses for school administrators, and you can see details of these and our other activities on our website at www.admin.org.uk

Meanwhile, to subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter, just visit our registration site

To sign up for the Admin newsletter just click on the lower box. If you feel any of your colleagues elsewhere in the school might also be interested, there is a whole range of free newsletter available for them via the upper box.

And finally, here’s the reassurance. The form only asks for your email address, nothing else. There really is nothing to pay, and you can unsubscribe at any time. We guarantee never to release the email addresses of any of our subscribers to anyone else at any time, ever.

If you have any questions, please do email me or call me on 01536 399 013.

Tony Attwood

Chair, School of Education Administration and Management

Tony@hamilton-house.com

What is the most effective way to ensure that your school always gets Best Value when making purchases?

Despite its great promises of savings and improved quality, “Best Value” has turned out to be one of the most complicated and troublesome concepts in school purchasing.

The reason for this is largely because Best Value turns out to be very hard to define, including as it does issues such as price, quality, reliability, contracts, guarantees and alternative approaches.

However, Best Value remains an essential element of many schools’ armoury in terms of managing their budgets. Indeed for many schools it is the mechanism that is allowing them to balance the budget and move forward with financial confidence year on year.

Indeed, when one comes across schools that are actually saving £50,000 a year or more through having implemented a comprehensive Best Value programme, it is clear that there is something in Best Value that goes beyond a tick box on an order form asserting that this purchase is a “Best Value” purchase.

The School of Educational Administration and Management has spent the past three years working with schools that have participated in our national School Efficiency programme in order to resolve how it is that some schools are using Best Value to save significant sums, while in other schools the concept is having little or no impact.

We have now produced our guide to implementing a Best Value policy in schools, examining what it means, and what schools that are saving significant sums through implementing Best Value programmes, are actually doing.

The paper “How to ensure that your school always gets best value for money” is now available from the School of Educational Administration and Management as a download for just £6.95.

Should you wish to place a school order for the report instead of ordering it on line there is an additional charge of £2.50.

You can order:

Tony Attwood
Director, School of Educational Management and Administration

Win 30 new chairs for your school

Win 30 new school chairs and an inspirational assembly led by GB’s Olympic and World Champion,
Lizzy Yarnold MBE.

Don’t Lean Back (dlb) are offering schools the opportunity to win 30 Max II chairs (value of £1000) and an inspirational assembly by GB’s Olympic and World Champion Skeleton Racer, Lizzy Yarnold MBE.

To enter into the competition, all you need to do is subscribe to dlb’s Newsletter in any of the following ways:

  • Send an email to lucy@hamilton-house.com containing your email address, full name and school name – I’ll pass this information on.
  • Or sign up to receive the Newsletter on dlb’s Facebook page

dlb design and develop school chairs that are comfortable, supportive and prevent students from leaning backwards. The Max II chair has health and safety at the forefront of its design, encouraging good posture and preventing injury.

Furthermore, dlb’s research into students’ posture and physical well-being revealed that 84% of Year 10 students found their school’s chairs to be “very uncomfortable” and 64% of secondary school students have suffered from back or neck pain in the past year.

There is more information about dlb’s research, chair products and collaboration with Lizzy Yarnold MBE at http://www.dlb.co.uk.

——————————————————————-

The School Procurement Site (www.top5.org.uk) is a free listing of hundreds of UK school products and suppliers, with details of numerous free resources, divided up by subject area. There are also links to their websites in each case.

Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

Is your school paying too much?

What is the most effective way to ensure that your school always gets Best Value when making purchases?

Despite its great promises of savings and improved quality, “Best Value” has turned out to be one of the most complicated and troublesome concepts in school purchasing.

The reason for this is largely because Best Value turns out to be very hard to define, including as it does issues such as price, quality, reliability, contracts, guarantees and alternative approaches.

However, Best Value remains an essential element of many schools’ armoury in terms of managing their budgets. Indeed for many schools it is the mechanism that is allowing them to balance the budget and move forward with financial confidence year on year.

Indeed, when one comes across schools that are actually saving £50,000 a year or more through having implemented a comprehensive Best Value programme, it is clear that there is something in Best Value that goes beyond a tick box on an order form asserting that this purchase is a “Best Value” purchase.

The School of Educational Administration and Management has spent the past three years working with schools that have participated in our national School Efficiency programme in order to resolve how it is that some schools are using Best Value to save significant sums, while in other schools the concept is having little or no impact.

We have now produced our guide to implementing a Best Value policy in schools, examining what it means, and what schools that are saving significant sums through implementing Best Value programmes, are actually doing.

The paper “How to ensure that your school always gets best value for money” is now available from the School of Educational Administration and Management as a download for just £6.95.

Should you wish to place a school order for the report instead of ordering it on line there is an additional charge of £2.50.

You can order:

Tony Attwood
Director, School of Educational Management and Administration

What is the difference between one school office and the next?

How can it be that in some school offices no one does any overtime, whereas in others there is always a struggle to keep up?

One of the most fascinating things about school offices is that there is no set or standard model for running a school administration. Each one in each school is run in its own unique way.

And yet there is a tendency to believe that the way each office is run is the obvious way to do things.

This notion is perhaps best summed up by the thought that “interruptions are inevitable”. In some offices this vision determines the focus of the administrative process, in others the office is organised in such a way as to reduce interruptions to a very low level – an approach which those who follow it find very helpful.

But of course the way we handle interruptions is not the only issue. One can look at the level of backup there is to cover a sudden illness, the level of communication between senior management and the office, the involvement in decisions which affect the office, an awareness of the amount of work coming into the office from various quarters…

And there are other factors too which affect the contribution the office can make to the school’s progress, such as the way “best value” is handled, whether there are ever any checks over the following of agreed systems by members of the team, and so on.

Overall our research found 13 separate issues that can profoundly affect the efficiency or otherwise of the school office, issues which then go on to have a major impact on the effectiveness of the way the school works as a whole.

Indeed it is not at all uncommon for schools to report that making changes in just one or two of these areas can radically improve the effectiveness of the school’s administration.

These are exactly the issues that we consider on the on-line courses run by the School of Educational Administration and Management. You can read about our courses here

The SEAM was set up with funding from the Dept of Trade and Industry and in co-operation with the Faculty of Education in the University of Northampton to bring an awareness of how administrative systems can profoundly affect the success of schools.

If you would like to know more please do call 01536 399 007 or email enquiries@admin.org.uk
Tony Attwood
Director, School of Educational Management and Administration


The blog for bursars and administrators