Sustainability in schools – how can your school MIS help?

Amy Underdown - 22 April, 2022

Category : Blog

Sustainability in schools – how can your school MIS help?

It’s Earth Day, which means many people will be thinking hard about how they can make their school greener. But how can a school MIS improve sustainability in schools? There will always be an argument that cloud-based technology is simply better for the environment than going server-based. But we wanted to explore more into the

It’s Earth Day, which means many people will be thinking hard about how they can make their school greener. But how can a school MIS improve sustainability in schools?

There will always be an argument that cloud-based technology is simply better for the environment than going server-based. But we wanted to explore more into the tips and tricks within your MIS that can help you reach your school’s sustainability goals. 

Paperless – how low can you go?

Cloud-based MIS are designed to bring together policies, people and processes, meaning workflows become more automated. This should displace the need for the exchange of information on scraps of paper, or save energy and time spent manually setting up and sending a spreadsheet by email. 

One of the clearest ways that schools can reduce wasting paper is in their communication with parents. Your MIS should enable you to communicate entirely through app or browser, particularly for things like consents and permissions, paying for trips or setting up parents evenings online. In Arbor, this can all be done through the Parent Portal without any need for extra slips and letters. 

However, what is clear in many schools is that they are doubling up this process and still sending paper copies to parents, just in case. Interestingly, only 2% of households in the UK do not have a mobile phone, and only 3% have no access to the Internet. One way schools could move forward would be to run an internal audit and find out how many parents would be happy to be contacted by app or browser alone. 

Make the most of UDFs

Having a walk-to-school week, running an initiative to save water at school, or only offering vegan meal choices on certain days? There are lots of different ways to think about sustainability in schools, but make sure to take advantage of User-Defined Fields to help you keep track of which student has done what. At the end of your sustainability initiative, you’ll have exciting data to present to the students and you’ll easily be able to spot and reward those who have, for example, taken part every day. This could be an especially useful tool for Trusts who want to push down a UDF to all their schools or run an inter-school competition. 

You could even take the information you collect one step further, by comparing the dataset with attainment. Some interesting patterns could be spotted here: does walking to school improve attendance, or does eating vegan food improve Attitude to Learning grades after lunch? This could transform the way your school thinks about sustainability as something that not only helps the environment, but has a positive impact on students’ learning too. 

School sustainability clubs

If you’re a school looking for sustainability or after school club ideas, it could be a good initiative to combine the two. Be it planting trees or making artwork for the school from recycled bottle caps, sustainability clubs are a great way to bring students together, spend time outside and learn about saving the planet. Clubs are designed to be easy in Arbor – you can manage consents, club size, length and schedule sessions all from one place. 

Make sure to tag us on Twitter or LinkedIn if you’ve used Arbor in your sustainability initiative!

Want to see how our cloud MIS could transform your school? Meet us at the Schools & Academies Show!

If you’re an Arbor customer with great ideas about sustainability in schools, we’d love to hear from you! Have your say in the future of MIS on our product board. 

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