IT Support for Schools
81% of teachers say their school has been hit by financial cuts.
When education is the foundation of progress in every respect, it’s tragic to think that schools are missing out on vital improvements.
We can’t wave a magic wand to lessen the reduction in local authority budgets. But we can work together to drive positive change independently.
Digital Transformation in Education
Many schools are joining forces to share knowledge, procedures and resources to counter detrimental cuts.
In their local areas, education leaders are collaborating to improve every aspect of school life for students, teachers and other staff.
Even former head teachers are stepping in to help. Acting as ‘consultants’, they’re employed to help schools run collaboration projects: their experience and talent for communication is an invaluable tool in igniting transformative improvements.
One such consultant recently approached Matthew Simmons of San-iT. He had connected an impressive twelve schools together in Morley, Leeds, and needed an IT system to help facilitate their collaboration.
San-iT took on the task to build a solution for the group, incorporating:
- SharePoint – for central storage and access of content and information
- Skype – for virtual meetings, demonstrations and training sessions to take place
- Office 365 – for email synergy and the creation of documents, spreadsheets and presentations
The project was a huge success – a catalyst for more exciting work.
Sharing Knowledge: SharePoint and Office 365
On the back of this project, San-iT were approached by another group: The Armley and Farnley family of schools (thirteen institutions altogether).
They wanted to collaborate and share learnings on:
- Lesson plans
- Best practice on policies and procedures
- Self-evaluation schemes
- Meeting and surpassing Ofsted criteria (evidence of good practice, lessons learned etc)
- Operational best practice
San-iT knew exactly how to achieve this. Adding SharePoint and Office 365 to the group’s IT infrastructure was the most effective way to secure seamless communication and knowledge sharing.
SharePoint specifically is the king of online collaboration. No matter how large a group or organisation, users can bank on this software for a secure and flexible way to manage and update shared documents. And SharePoint’s instant messaging feature enables multiple people to work together in real-time.
It also empowers teachers and other school staff to get things done through easy access to important information. Tasks can be automated too, enhancing productivity by eliminating time-consuming admin. This has massive benefits.
Improved Data Entry
Without SharePoint, admin tasks can obliterate time. San-iT has helped school groups minimise their paperwork so they can dedicate more time to making an impact through educating.
Teachers alone amass piles of paperwork containing student information. They then use a management information system (MIS) to log student assessments and results.
Data entry is extremely labour intensive and this takes them away from teaching:
“Many UK teachers are spending the equivalent of more than a working day on marking and assessment every week.” – Helen Ward, TES
Often, they have to produce spreadsheets, manipulate them and save them on school files. They generally have to update multiple files with the same work: an unnecessary task that wastes precious time.
San-iT can help speed up this process through Power BI. By linking MIS and other systems automatically, data can be duplicated across multiple files with a click of a button, helping teachers save masses of time.
And when they need quick access to information, rather than wading through piles of paperwork, the system can provide reports and data insights in an easy-to-understand and visually appealing way. Teachers can also automate powerful reports to share with heads, governors and staff, unlocking collaboration across all levels.
Need IT Support for Your School?
We work with many young apprentices and their talent, passion and drive never fails to impress. The value of education is clear.
“Our job is obvious: we need to get out of the way, shine a light, and empower a new generation to teach itself and to go further and faster than any generation ever has.” – Seth Godin
We will continue to work alongside managed service providers offering specialist consultancy and IT support to school groups that are taking the future of education into their own hands. To learn more about the technology discussed in this article, get in touch or read more in the San-iT blog.