Switching MIS during lockdown: How Woodland Academy Trust moved to Arbor 100% remotely

Dan Morrow - 8 July, 2020

Category : Blog

Switching MIS during lockdown: How Woodland Academy Trust moved to Arbor 100% remotely

Over the last few months, we’ve welcomed over 250 schools and MATs to Arbor who we’ve onboarded, migrated and trained 100% remotely. Most of these schools chose to move to Arbor MIS (Management Information System) to replace their server-based system which was preventing them from managing their schools remotely, and meant they weren’t able to

Over the last few months, we’ve welcomed over 250 schools and MATs to Arbor who we’ve onboarded, migrated and trained 100% remotely. Most of these schools chose to move to Arbor MIS (Management Information System) to replace their server-based system which was preventing them from managing their schools remotely, and meant they weren’t able to adapt to the new DfE guidelines quickly. 

We use a simple, personalised process to move your data to Arbor and to get staff ready to use the system confidently, with expert guidance every step of the way. If you’d like to see a brochure about the support we offer from signing with Arbor and throughout your journey, leave your details here and we’ll send you a copy

Rather than take our word for it, it’s often most helpful to hear how real schools and MATs have found the experience. Recently we caught up with the team at Woodland Academy Trust, a Primary MAT in Bexley and North Kent, who have moved to Arbor during lockdown. 

You can read our conversation below with Dan Morrow (CEO) Sue Ashton (COO and Deputy CEO) and Yvonne Bruce (School Business Manager).

 

How have you found the support from Arbor during your move? 

Our MAT Programme Manager Joanna has been very supportive and approachable from the start. She and her colleague Kate have ensured that we have been on target in the run up to the data migration, with regular calls being made to our Arbor Champions and School Business Lead. 

There was a level of nervous excitement during our Discovery Day. Being a SIMS user for so many years, it was difficult feeling 100% about moving to a new system. Again, Joanna was very supportive and explained each step from the Trust & School’s priorities, operational priorities, module role out, training and data migration, going live and third party applications, ensuring that we understood the information we needed to provide.

The Discovery Day was very useful as it allowed us to really look into the applications we were using, and to look at the key successes and challenges we were currently facing when it came to deciding on which applications to migrate over.  

 

How did the data migration process go? 

The migration was very smooth and lived up to the expectation I had from the seminar I attended, when other users assured me that this process was seamless. The response from other members of our team has been that they were able to find the answer to their queries through your help page and only needed to speak to a trainer on very rare occasions.  

Whilst this is clearly a structured process, there was some clear anxiety from our executives and data users over it. The security and assuredness of the project framing from Arbor’s side ensured that these could be addressed and the actual delivery was without any issue whatsoever.

 

How have you found the training you’ve had so far? 

The training has been very thorough and relevant to our needs. The trainers have made their way through the areas at a good pace for everyone on the call to take in and understand. They have each encouraged questions and answers after every section to make sure that everyone on the call understands what has been said. The recording of the training sessions has allowed us to reach out to other members of staff to review. 

In a number of our sessions we have had different groups of staff with different focuses and areas of interest. The training has meant that the universal concepts can be delivered and that more bespoke training is then brokered and arranged as needed. The clear respect for people’s time and the subsequent thought and care put into the whole training programme has been a clear win, as it’s meant that our whole team have then engaged with the training. 

 

Since Arbor has been live in your schools, how has it been received?  

The response from our Office and Business Management teams across the Trust has been very positive; with comments that Arbor is easy to navigate, especially around reports and is a far superior system to what we were using previously. Setting up the new academic year has also had positive responses; with many of the team saying the step-by-step guide was the easiest they’ve come across, that it’s quick and time-saving and the ability to save as you go has ensured confident use of the system. 

 

Have you had any challenges? 

The permissions around business roles has taken some getting used to as not all roles in Arbor have the permissions for the business roles we are used to, but again, your help centre has been on hand to show that we can add ad hoc permissions to specific roles.

 

What has it been like making the move during Covid-19? 

I would say this has been the perfect time to move! Firstly, It has allowed more personnel to sit on training sessions than perhaps would have been possible under normal circumstances.  

Equally, to have a positive change project that has been so well scoped and framed has given us a boost to be able to “control the controllable” and see robust and rigorous systems introduced to further underpin the care that our children and communities deserve. 

 

Is Arbor helping you manage your schools during Covid-19? 

The news bulletins from Arbor have been helpful with regards to tips for setting up the new academic year and the attendance information required by the DfE. 

It has provided a “blank page” to reconsider the way we collect, store, monitor and report our information and at a time when we are looking to reimagine as well as return within education, the timing has been far from a threat; it’s a golden opportunity.

 

If you’d like to find out more about how Arbor MIS could help you manage your school or trust flexibly next Term, you can book a free online demo or contact tellmemore@arbor-education.com. You can also reach us on 0208 050 1028.

About Author

Dan Morrow

CEO of Woodland Academy Trust

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