Management Information System (MIS) for schools
Expert ideas for a better working life at your school or trust
Category : Blog
We’re proud that Arbor and ScholarPack share the top spot as England’s most-loved MIS, according to a recent survey by The Key. But what is it about our MIS that schools and trusts alike enjoy? This Valentine’s Day, we thought it would be nice to share a handful of the lovely things that have been
We’re proud that Arbor and ScholarPack share the top spot as England’s most-loved MIS, according to a recent survey by The Key.
But what is it about our MIS that schools and trusts alike enjoy? This Valentine’s Day, we thought it would be nice to share a handful of the lovely things that have been said about us by individuals in the Arbor community.
Win a box of our famous brownies by sharing what you love about our MIS on Twitter and LinkedIn – make sure to tag us so we can see your entry!
Not yet using Arbor but want an MIS that all your staff can fall in love with? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Arbor Community | ArborFest
We were delighted to recently welcome hundreds of school leaders to King’s Place and via livestream to our biggest in-person customer conference to date! ArborFest 2023 was a day packed with inspiring talks and workshops – all exploring the theme “Transforming the way schools work.” With schools and trusts facing squeezed budgets, the challenge of
We were delighted to recently welcome hundreds of school leaders to King’s Place and via livestream to our biggest in-person customer conference to date!
ArborFest 2023 was a day packed with inspiring talks and workshops – all exploring the theme “Transforming the way schools work.”
With schools and trusts facing squeezed budgets, the challenge of Covid catch-up, and rapidly evolving policies, there has never been a more important time to explore the different ways schools can innovate to support students, staff, and their wider communities.
Our exciting programme took a look at the ways schools can drive positive change both using Arbor and in their broader day-to-day.
We kickstarted the day with a welcome address from our CEO, James, and our Chief of Customer Success, Sonia. Our Head of Engineering, Damien, and Head of Product, Hilary, also took to the Main Stage to speak on Arbor’s vision and roadmap.
Also on the Main Stage, we welcomed David Jones, Head of Personal Development at Saracens Rugby Club, who shared how to build a resilient team in tough times. And our keynote speaker, Laura McInerney, CEO of TeacherTapp, presented her three key methods of influencing change across the education sector.
Over on our Data Stage, our Lead Sponsors HfL Education discussed the importance of democratising your data – we’ll be posting more about what they had to say on our blog, so keep this page bookmarked!
Luke Mulhall and Chris Berry of GFMAT spoke on how they have used Arbor to create a data-first culture across their trust, and the Department of Education gave an in-depth talk on the importance of national benchmarking, and the data they have available to help schools.
We had two exciting panels during ArborFest 2023. In the first, James spoke to three school leaders about how Arbor has helped to transform the way they work. In the second, Phillippa, our CRO, spoke to three MAT leaders on how they are handling the cost-of-living crisis across their trusts.
There was lots more MAT content on our dedicated MAT stage, where trust leaders gathered to watch Louisa Mason speak on how and why she centralised systems across her trust. Mark Greatrex, CEO at BPET, also gave a well-received talk on why autonomy always wins – if you missed Mark’s talk, you can download his written piece for free in the third instalment of our Cohesive Trust series.
As ever, we wanted to use ArborFest as an opportunity to encourage the Arbor Community to network, share best practices and give suggestions for the future of our MIS. We hosted feedback forums, customer roundtable discussions and a Genius Bar where school leaders and staff could meet, mingle and chat with the Arbor Team!
And most importantly, it was great to see Arbor users coming together and enjoying the day – we hope you had as much fun and learned as much as we did!
If you missed out on tickets to the event, don’t worry! We’ll be sharing highlights, insights and write-ups of lots of the talks over the coming term. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss out.
Join us at ArborFest 2023 – our biggest in-person customer conference to date! This year’s ArborFest explores different facets of the theme “Transforming the way schools work.” With schools and trusts facing squeezed budgets, the challenge of Covid catch-up, and rapidly evolving policies, there has never been a more important time to explore the different
Join us at ArborFest 2023 – our biggest in-person customer conference to date!
This year’s ArborFest explores different facets of the theme “Transforming the way schools work.” With schools and trusts facing squeezed budgets, the challenge of Covid catch-up, and rapidly evolving policies, there has never been a more important time to explore the different ways schools can innovate to support students, staff, and their wider communities.
ArborFest will bring 400 Arbor customers together at Kings Place, London on 26th January 2023 to do just that. Our exciting programme will look at the ways schools can drive positive change both using Arbor and in their broader day-to-day.
Plus, it’s all completely free! Sign up for your free spot here.
The day will be packed with inspiring talks from both experts within the education sector and school staff using Arbor. Explore everything we have on stage by stage.
Plus, Laura McInerney will be giving a keynote speech on how we can all create meaningful change across the education sector – including what makes a powerful message, which messages get through to the DfE, which get lost, and what you can do to change it.
By popular demand, we’ve combined our best-selling MAT Conference series with ArborFest with a dedicated MAT stage full of thought leadership talks from experienced MAT leaders from across the country.
You’ll leave with clear, actionable insights you can bring back to your trust and implement, all focused on growth, sustainability, and creating a cohesive MAT.
This year, we’re inviting our customers to three roundtables on integrations and Behaviour.
You’ll leave with new ideas to take back to your school, based on other Arbor schools’ tips and advice. Perfect for schools looking to share best practice, or who want to learn from others.
At Arbor, we’re always looking for new ways to help schools work better. It’s essential to us that we create our Roadmap by working hand-in-hand with our schools. Our termly Feedback Forums are one of the key ways we ask for your feedback and thoughts.
Come along to one of our feedback forums on Assessments, Innovation and Parental Engagement to have your say on what our Product and Engineering Team should focus on next.
Arbor customers will receive their ticket in their email inbox!
What will I get with my ticket?
Can’t make it in-person? We’re live streaming the day too – keep your eyes peeled for the first release of our virtual tickets.
What will I get with my online-only ticket?
We can’t wait to see you there! Look out for updates across our Twitter and LinkedIn, and share your experience using #ArborFest.
We can’t wait to see you there! Look out for updates across our Twitter and LinkedIn, and share your experience using #ArborFest.
Arbor Community | Customer Support
We’re proud to take part in National Customer Service Week (NCSW), run by the Institute of Customer Service. NCSW is a week-long celebration of all the great things that teams across the country do in order to make the customer experience as positive as possible. At Arbor, we are committed to making sure schools thrive,
We’re proud to take part in National Customer Service Week (NCSW), run by the Institute of Customer Service. NCSW is a week-long celebration of all the great things that teams across the country do in order to make the customer experience as positive as possible.
At Arbor, we are committed to making sure schools thrive, which means providing school staff with plenty of avenues of support so that they can get the most out of our cloud MIS. To make this mission possible, we have lots of different teams in place.
Each day in National Customer Service Week is dedicated to a different aspect of customer service. We spoke to different people across Arbor’s Customer Team to see what these days mean for them in their roles, giving you an opportunity to meet some of the fantastic people behind Arbor’s top-rated support system for schools.
Our Help Centre is packed with articles, videos and how-tos, providing Arbor customers with a detailed online library for all their questions and queries.
To make sure schools are getting the best use of their MIS and to guide them along the way, we have a dedicated Account Management team.
Arbor’s ever-evolving Training Team is committed to providing top quality training to our schools and trusts. The team is always expanding their knowledge and offering, to make sure that schools and trusts can easily pick up all of Arbor’s best bits.
Whether schools are in the process of moving to Arbor, or have been using our cloud MIS for years, our MIS support and project teams are there to guide schools, help them overcome any obstacles they come across and answer all their questions.
There are now over 100 individuals in our Customer Team, made up of trainers, project and programme managers, 2nd and 1st line support staff, success analysts, administrators… and more! The whole team works hard to make sure that every school and trust is thriving with Arbor.
We’ll be celebrating Customer Service Week across our Twitter and LinkedIn – keep an eye out there for more!
If you liked hearing about who we have in our team, you might be interested in this blog, where we speak to Arbor team members about their role as school governors.
Not yet an Arbor customer? Get in touch with us here to find out how our MIS could transform the way your school or trust works.
Arbor Community | Case Studies
Last month we introduced our Pay-for-One Promise – giving schools locked into paying for SIMS until 2025 a way to switch to Arbor now without double-paying for their MIS. But we know that deciding to change MIS isn’t just about budget, which is why the Pay-for-One Promise isn’t the only commitment we’ll make to your
Last month we introduced our Pay-for-One Promise – giving schools locked into paying for SIMS until 2025 a way to switch to Arbor now without double-paying for their MIS.
But we know that deciding to change MIS isn’t just about budget, which is why the Pay-for-One Promise isn’t the only commitment we’ll make to your school. We believe passionately that a good MIS is one which is also committed to transforming the way schools work for the better.
So, we asked our schools to tell us #WhyMySchoolSwitched. Hear below how Arbor is making their lives easier and why it’s worth switching to Arbor before your SIMS licence is up.
Use the Pay-for-One Promise to move to Arbor in 2022/23, even if you’re locked into a SIMS contract
Switching MIS isn’t just a system change – it’s a real opportunity to change the way you work for the better. And given the impact switching MIS can have – on everything from workload, to staff happiness, parental engagement and school collaboration – you shouldn’t be prevented from switching by your budget.
The Pay-for-One Promise is our commitment that your school should only pay for one MIS at a time. Put simply: if you’re locked into paying for SIMS, we won’t ask you to pay for your core Arbor license until that contract ends. You get all the benefits of switching to the UK’s leading cloud MIS, but don’t have to worry about double-paying in the process.
Find out more about the Pay-for-One Promise here.
We’re excited to announce the latest ArborFest, our twice-yearly conference for the Arbor Community, taking place on Thursday 5th May 2022. This ArborFest, we’re focusing on all of the exciting new releases we’ve recently launched and giving you a sneak peek of what’s to come over the next two terms. ArborFest: The New Features Edition
We’re excited to announce the latest ArborFest, our twice-yearly conference for the Arbor Community, taking place on Thursday 5th May 2022.
This ArborFest, we’re focusing on all of the exciting new releases we’ve recently launched and giving you a sneak peek of what’s to come over the next two terms.
ArborFest: The New Features Edition is designed to spark ideas about the different ways you could be using Arbor at your school. We’ll be shining a spotlight on the latest releases in our MIS, talking about where the system is headed next, and hosting forums for you to share your views.
After the success of our last three virtual conferences, we’ll be going fully digital again for this special edition of ArborFest. Join us from your office, playground or home to get the inside scoop on everything new in Arbor MIS.
See the full programme and book your free tickets here: https://sites.google.com/arbor-education.com/arborfest-may-2022/schedule
Whether you’ve just joined Arbor, been using it for years or just want to get a behind the scenes look, you should leave ArborFest with plenty of inspiration and practical steps to start using the new features we’ve released this year. We can’t wait to see you there!
All you need to do to join is:
How can I keep in touch?
Arbor Community | Arbor MIS
Introducing Creating a Joined-Up School, our brand new ebook for secondary school staff. Collaboration is often talked about as one of the key elements of a successful secondary school. But legacy IT systems and processes can make it hard for teams to work together seamlessly. Accessing data is difficult, reporting is complex and over-customisable, and
Collaboration is often talked about as one of the key elements of a successful secondary school. But legacy IT systems and processes can make it hard for teams to work together seamlessly. Accessing data is difficult, reporting is complex and over-customisable, and student data is spread across multiple systems instead of being in one place. All of this leads to high workload and unnecessary stress, with roles becoming isolated, and staff singing from different hymn sheets. Crucially that means important information about students falls between the cracks.
At Arbor, we believe that your MIS should help your team work more efficiently and effectively together in a more “joined up way”. Our philosophy is that an MIS should be built to be used and loved by all staff – from office staff, to teachers and senior leaders – giving schools one shared workspace to support each other and encourage collaboration.
Diving into the benefits of a shared workspace
We wanted to dig deeper into exactly how our MIS is helping secondary school staff work better, together. In February 2022, we spoke to four pairs of secondary school staff to find out how they are making the most of Arbor to work more efficiently, effectively and collaboratively.
Each of our interviewees emphasised that one key benefit of having a shared workspace was having visibility and transparency over every student, at all times. As well as this, having all changes made by any member of staff automatically update across the MIS, meaning every staff member is kept in the loop and information is always up to date. These benefits were felt across the range of roles we interviewed, including Headteachers, Data Managers, Exams Officers and SEN Admins.
Our exciting ebook for secondary schools
We’ve compiled all of these interviews into a brand new Arbor ebook, featuring staff from Baxter College, Ralph Thoresby School, Droitwich Spa High School and The Grove School, part of Marches Academy Trust. The book explores what it means to have a joined-up secondary school, and how your MIS should encourage collaboration across all roles in your school.
Each of these stories is intended to shine a light on why schools work better when they have access to a shared workspace – something that’s become all the more important in a post-Covid world.
You can download Creating a Joined-Up Secondary School for free by clicking here.
Enjoying our blogs? Get stuck in with more of our content, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn to be the first to know about new articles.
Arbor Community | Arbor Updates
Click here to find out about ArborFest: The New Features Edition, taking place virtually on May 5th, 2022. It’s not too late to get your tickets to ArborFest, which is now just days away! We’re looking forward to bringing leading schools and MATs from across the country together, with the shared goal of transforming the
Click here to find out about ArborFest: The New Features Edition, taking place virtually on May 5th, 2022.
It’s not too late to get your tickets to ArborFest, which is now just days away! We’re looking forward to bringing leading schools and MATs from across the country together, with the shared goal of transforming the way we work.
This year, we have six different (virtual!) stages, each packed with talks, workshops, and masterclasses on both the 2nd and 3rd of December.
Browse and book your free tickets by stage below or click here to see our full programme.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, with partner talks and a brilliant mindfulness workshop by our very own Danielle Arkwright making up some of the other must-see moments within ArborFest.
Stay in the loop by following us on Twitter or LinkedIn.
And if you haven’t already, join the Arbor Community – your online space to ask questions, share best practice and learn from, and support, fellow Arbor schools and MATs.
Look forward to seeing you soon!
I’ve never written a blog about a competitor before – I’m of the belief that you should just let your good work speak for itself. However, last week we became aware through public forums that ESS SIMS and ParentPay have written to schools and will be changing their contracts from an annual renewal to a
I’ve never written a blog about a competitor before – I’m of the belief that you should just let your good work speak for itself. However, last week we became aware through public forums that ESS SIMS and ParentPay have written to schools and will be changing their contracts from an annual renewal to a 3 year renewal, effective from 1st April 2022. This means however good our MIS system may be, schools would not be able to choose an alternative to SIMS until 2025….
This news has come very late in an already busy school term, and we have already been contacted by a large number of schools who want to know what their choices are. So rather than give my opinion on SIMS, I wanted to dispel a few myths and highlight what options schools have:
At Arbor and ScholarPack, we’re proud to be the UK’s most-loved MIS providers – giving schools a choice of systems which are easier to use, offer fully integrated modules, and save you 30% on average price-wise compared to SIMS.
To support schools who would like to move MIS by Easter, we’ve put together a dedicated “fast track” programme – designed to give you and your team everything you need to decide whether Arbor or ScholarPack is right for you before the holidays.
If you want to speak to me about any of the above, you can reach me anytime at email@example.com. Happy to chat through in more detail!
A few clarifications
Click here to find out about ArborFest: The New Features Edition, taking place virtually on May 5th, 2022. We’re extremely excited to introduce the latest edition of Arbor’s bi-annual conference, ArborFest! ArborFest is your chance to meet (online!) the growing community of over 2,000 schools and 200 MATs using Arbor to transform the way they
ArborFest is your chance to meet (online!) the growing community of over 2,000 schools and 200 MATs using Arbor to transform the way they work.
On 2nd and 3rd December, discover six stages packed with sessions designed for schools and MATs of all sizes. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re already using Arbor or just want to get a behind-the scenes look.
Join us for masterclass sessions, where you’ll learn new tips and tricks on specific Arbor modules, an interactive workshop on mindfulness, and feedback forums where you can help shape our roadmaps!
For the first time we’ll be combining our best-selling, MAT Conference series, “Building a Resilient Trust” with ArborFest. In the next couple of weeks we’ll be launching a dedicated MAT stage at ArborFest, full of thought leadership talks from experienced MAT leaders from across the country. Keep an eye out in your inbox for your special invite to this.
Plus, Dr Emma Kell will be giving a keynote speech on building resilience and creating a sustainable work-life balance, there are talks from Arbor’s CEO and Chief of Customer Success, and the best thing is – it’s completely free!
Click here to see the full programme and book your free tickets!
This year we’ve got sessions including:
Sign up for the keynote speech from Dr Emma Kell here – everyone is welcome!
Who should come?
ArborFest is open to all schools and trusts – whether you already use Arbor MIS, or are interested in learning more about us. We’ve also curated special sessions for the partners we work with.
How can I join ArborFest?
ArborFest is completely free to attend. All you need to do is:
What do I need to join ArborFest?
All you need to join a session at ArborFest is a computer, laptop or tablet, and a good internet connection. If you’re joining a Feedback Forum, you’ll also need a microphone and video camera so you can share your ideas with the group.
Stay in the loop by following us on Twitter or LinkedIn!
Look forward to seeing you in December!
Arbor Community | Popular
We were honoured to welcome education advisor, writer and speaker, Mary Myatt, to give the keynote speech at this term’s ArborFest – our two-day virtual festival exploring innovative ways of working with Arbor MIS. Mary gave a brilliant talk about how schools can carve out time for satisfying work on the curriculum by focusing on
We were honoured to welcome education advisor, writer and speaker, Mary Myatt, to give the keynote speech at this term’s ArborFest – our two-day virtual festival exploring innovative ways of working with Arbor MIS.
Mary gave a brilliant talk about how schools can carve out time for satisfying work on the curriculum by focusing on fewer things in greater depth. You can read her talk below – or catch the recording here.
You don’t need me to tell you how demanding, exhilarating, exciting and exhausting it is in schools, even in normal times (and it has been that to the power of ten recently). So while there’s nothing we can do about what’s happening in the wider world, I think there are some things we do have control over.
I often hear staff in schools complaining that they’re not as far ahead as they’d like to be in certain areas such as curriculum or school improvement. But what I encourage them to recognise is that they only have so much bandwidth. Sometimes we must accept how things are and not beat ourselves up.
On flights when they give out the health and safety instructions, they say that in the case of an emergency, if we’re travelling with someone vulnerable or a young child, we must put our own masks on first. Why is that? Because we can’t look after other people unless we’re safe and sound ourselves.
Greg McKeown talks about rest as a responsibility. It’s not a luxury. It’s really important, for example, that we eat proper food on a regular basis, that we get a bit of fresh air every day and that we go to bed at a reasonable time.
Trying to do everything is a problem for us as a sector. We want the best for our children and our communities, but we simply can’t do everything.
A real mantra of Greg McKeown’s work is the need to cut back in order to set clearer prioritie that are likely to make the biggest difference. And in the context of education, priorities need to be framed around a focus on what is likely to make the greatest difference to children’s learning. As McKeown says, if we have too many priorities, we’re simply not going to do anything really well.
Pareto’s 80/20 rule is also worth remembering. In Italy in the 1890s, Pareto found that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the population. What has emerged from this insight is that across many sectors, a relatively small amount of input has a disproportionate impact. And this broad 80/20 rule also applies to schools. If we cut out some of the processes and resources we use, for example in the curriculum, that have less impact, we’ll be able to focus on the things that make the greatest difference.
There is overwhelming evidence from all quarters, not just my own work, that it’s the quality of the curriculum that makes the greatest difference for the greatest number of children. The quality of the curriculum has certainly gone up the agenda recently since the addition of the “quality of education” judgement to the latest Ofsted framework in 2019.
There are eight main things we need to get right when thinking about quality education:
1. Realign priorities
Both my work and Ofsted’s research have found that in some schools, priorities have become distorted. In some primaries, for example, in order for children to do well in their SATs, they are given a diet of SATs in the mistaken belief that that will produce better results. But if you look at the scores for the children who didn’t do so well in the reading papers for 2019, it was because of a lack of vocabulary. So how do we develop children’s vocabulary? Through a broad and balanced curriculum, not just a list of spelling.
2. Address curriculum misconceptions
I notice some misconceptions around the curriculum, such as focusing on skills and thinking of them as “cross transferable”. Just because a child can evaluate and dissect something really well in geography doesn’t mean to say they can do the same in history if they don’t know any history. We need to think of skills and knowledge as being like conjoined twins; through rich exposure to and engagement with the curriculum, skills develop.
3. Remember children’s entitlement
It’s also important to consider the idea of entitlement. What I’ve found is that some children who need additional support get so many interventions that they actually miss out on the wider curriculum with their peers. Interventions are important but they need to be bespoke and have impact as quickly as possible, so that children can rejoin their peers.
4. Be more ambitious
For the first time, the Ofsted framework now has a discussion of ambition. We should be asking to what extent the curriculum is ambitious for all our pupils, regardless of their starting points, and what the children themselves are saying about it. Pupil voice is a strong thread in my research, and I’ve found that at the heart of it, children want more demanding work.
5. High challenge, low threat
According to Daniel Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, “human beings are curious, but thinking is hard”. If we make things too easy, then the learning is likely not to be so secure. We should therefore not dumb things down for our children.
About 18 months ago I was working in a school in London with some students who were identified as high priority but underachieving. They said the only lesson they engaged with was geography because the teacher gave them really difficult, demanding stuff to do, such as articles from National Geographic. The teacher would say “You’re not going to understand it all, but that’s alright.”
When I looked at the results for geography in that school, these students were the highest by a margin. The teacher wasn’t giving those students work that was above their “pay grade” in order to get great results; the great results followed from the students relishing the high challenge that was accompanied by low threat.
6. Be prepared to be surprised
One of the most worrying results of our current system is the reading deficit. In 2019, over a quarter of our children did not reach the expected standard. Research a few years ago found that only about 30% of children are read to on a daily basis, and in 2018 Teacher Tapp found that only 15% of all children are read to in class every day.
Research from Sussex University found that simply reading challenging, complex novels aloud at a fast pace in each lesson repositions poorer readers as good readers, giving them a more engaged, uninterrupted reading experience over a sustained period. The teachers were actually surprised at what the students achieved.
7. Underpin learning with high quality texts
When introducing new units over time, we should underpin them with high quality texts. Why? Books contain complex ideas and sentences of greater lexical depth and complexity which enrich children’s vocabulary. Through rich resources we’re able to draw out the important vocabulary we want our children to be fluent in by the end of the unit.
For example, a high quality text to support the Year 6 science unit about the theory of evolution and inheritance could be Sabina Radeva’s “The Origin of Species”. Sabina trained as a scientist and then she retrained as an artist, which gives the book two threads: high quality information and beautiful imagery.
For more examples of high quality texts to use across the curriculum, see the recording of Mary’s talk here
8. Use meeting time to talk about books
So what should we be cutting in order to find time for these marvellous resources? Firstly, we should think about how we use staff meetings. There are plenty that could be handled in an email or just a brief summary. Instead we should turn our meeting time into opportunities to discuss the books and reading we’re going to do with children.
Harvard professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter talks about the six keys to doing good work in any organisation. I think these are useful when thinking about curriculum work:
As a final note, let’s remember that we’re human beings first and we’re professionals second. The young people we work with are human beings first and they’re learners second.
If you enjoyed Mary’s talk, make sure you download her further reading list to learn more.
We’d love to show your school or MAT how Arbor could help you work faster, smarter and collaborate more. Arrange a free demo here, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0208 050 1028.
Arbor Community | Case Studies | IT Support
Local Authority IT teams have been working with schools in new ways over the last few years. Joining forces with cloud-based MIS suppliers, many are now able to give their schools more choice of systems, whilst still providing the local support and advice that schools value. At Arbor, we work with a wide range of
Local Authority IT teams have been working with schools in new ways over the last few years. Joining forces with cloud-based MIS suppliers, many are now able to give their schools more choice of systems, whilst still providing the local support and advice that schools value.
At Arbor, we work with a wide range of local IT support teams and Local Authorities in all regions of the country. We run an established accreditation programme to certify our Partners to provide schools with training and support with Arbor MIS.
Hertfordshire (Herts for Learning) and The City of Bradford (E-ICT Team) are Local Authorities that we work especially closely with. Both teams are Arbor Accredited Partners and support a growing number of schools in their local areas. We recently spoke to them about their experience of working with us – check out their case studies below.
Whether you’re a Local Authority looking to provide more MIS options to your schools, or you’re a school who’d like to move to a cloud-based MIS with the continued support from your local IT team, these case studies will give you a feel for what a support partnership with Arbor looks like.
Why did you choose to partner with Arbor?
We have been aware for some time that the MIS market is beginning to fragment, as competition increases and more schools begin to look at moving to the cloud, not only for MIS but teaching and learning too. A few Hertfordshire schools had been using Arbor for some time and Herts for Learning weren’t able to support them at the time they migrated. As more schools started to approach us about providing them with support for a cloud MIS, it made sense to invest our resources into accreditation with Arbor as we had an established customer base and it meant that we could provide schools that want to retain HfL support with more choice. It helped that the Arbor ethos is a good fit with HfL.
How did the accreditation process go?
It was straightforward; we took the decision to start with a small, focused project team, given that we had a limited number of schools to support at the time. Since then, we have rolled out the training to the whole HfL support team, so that customers don’t see any difference in the high level of support for Arbor that they’ve come to expect from us.
The support from Arbor during the accreditation process was good, I think both sides learned a lot from it. We were able to feed back to the Arbor team about what worked and didn’t work for us, and that was taken on board.
How have you found working with Arbor so far?
The relationship we have developed with Arbor is really positive, we’re all working to the same goal ultimately – to improve outcomes for schools. Collaborative working and effective communication has been really key in getting the support we need, in order to be able to provide a great level of service for our schools.
How have your schools that use Arbor found it so far?
The positive feedback from our Arbor schools has been great. As a local support team, we have been able to provide the added value that Arbor are not able to – we provide some very specific guidance that reflects what the local authority requires from schools in Hertfordshire, which schools and the authority really value, as it saves every school re-inventing the wheel in their MIS.
We have also produced tools in Arbor, so that schools can continue to use HfL’s Easy Tracker assessment, part of our PA Plus subscription service which supports schools and academies analyse pupils’ attainment and progress from Early Years to Key Stage 2.
How do you hope to develop your relationship with Arbor in the future?
Working with partner organisations is a key part of HfL’s success and we sincerely hope to continue working closely and collaboratively for the benefit of the schools we support, both now and in the future.
Schools are now looking at moving to cloud-based systems and Arbor seems to be one of the preferred options with good feedback from schools already using it. From the demonstrations by other cloud-based systems, the majority of schools fed back that Arbor was the one that impressed them the most.
It was not rushed and easy to access all the information needed. It was a new way of learning for us as we’re used to a more classroom-based environment but all the information was there.
Very approachable and forward thinking. Arbor makes adjustments that are relevant and on time to make school life easier – they give prior notice with training, and documentation is available early enough to be able to advise schools when needed. We’ve had no problems at all in contacting Arbor for help when needed.
The fortnightly Product Update meetings are very useful and keep us abreast of any changes coming along. We are very impressed with the speed that changes are made to the system. The Team is helpful, friendly and professional.
It is particularly helpful that we have Dominique who works with Bradford so we have someone to contact directly. When we requested a training session on a particular area of Arbor recently, as we weren’t sure which route to go through with our schools, this was set-up very quickly and Dominique answered all our questions.
If you’re a school who’s thinking about switching MIS but would like to continue to work with your Local Authority for support, we’d love to speak to you. Get in touch with us on email@example.com
Similarly, if you work for a Local Authority and would like to find out more about the benefits of supporting your schools with Arbor MIS, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
I feel like we’ve turned a corner in good news after what has been a fairly glum year, and I wanted to share ours to add to it! I’m delighted to announce that we’ve joined forces with The Key Group to help propel Arbor to the next level on our mission to transform the way
I feel like we’ve turned a corner in good news after what has been a fairly glum year, and I wanted to share ours to add to it! I’m delighted to announce that we’ve joined forces with The Key Group to help propel Arbor to the next level on our mission to transform the way schools work. I wanted to explain a bit more about why this is good news and how it changes our ambition for what we want to accomplish over the next few years.
We chose The Key as they share our values, support our mission, and can accelerate our growth with their network of over 16,000 school leaders and governors. At Arbor, we want to provide an experience that isn’t just slightly better than other MIS systems but which totally transforms the way schools work. This requires a step-up in terms of ambition and investment. We have chosen The Key as partners in this journey as they genuinely care about improving school outcomes, can accelerate our plans with their network of over 16,000 school leaders and governors, and will provide additional investment to enable us to make a measurable difference to even more schools, MATs and support partners!
We’re growing fast, and will now grow faster! Combined with ScholarPack, we are immediately the UK’s largest cloud-based MIS provider, and the most credible alternative to SIMS.
ScholarPack is the specialist Primary school MIS owned by The Key and used by over 1,500 schools – combined with Arbor this immediately makes us the largest cloud-based MIS in the UK! We’re also the fastest-growing, with 8 out of 10 schools who switch MIS choosing either Arbor or ScholarPack. Together we can challenge the monopoly SIMS has had on the sector, and create the most credible alternative MIS that offers outstanding value to schools.
Don’t worry, Arbor and ScholarPack will continue to be run separately for the foreseeable future, with investment into both platforms so schools can choose the solution that is right for them
There are no current plans to merge platforms, so customers of Arbor and ScholarPack will see increased investment into both systems. Schools will be able to choose between ScholarPack’s market-leading MIS for primary schools, or Arbor’s MIS that works across primary, secondary, specials and MATs, with no pressure to switch. I’d add to this that I’m not going anywhere and nor is Arbor’s team, so you’ll continue to work with the same people with the same values and passion. We enjoy our work, and we’re only just getting started!
In short, this means more investment into our product and platform, and a step-change in ambition to provide tools that transform the way you work for the better. Over the next few years we will use this to…
We are very focused on providing an incredible MIS, but for all the other tools and support partners you love to work with, we want to provide a completely seamless and smooth experience too. Imagine if all your tools and IT providers worked together in harmony. Well, you might not have to wait much longer!
Schools contain a sea of information, but too often staff end up drowning in endless charts with no real insight. Imagine logging on to your MIS as a teacher and seeing the three most important tasks that are stuck waiting for your approval, the five students who you should check in on today and why, as well as recommendations for interventions and praise. This will completely change how teaching staff see the MIS, making it an essential tool for daily school life.
Schools don’t just provide education, they cater to large and complex local communities. We want to bring support staff, students, guardians and external providers together using Arbor to help them communicate, coordinate and collaborate around each child’s progress through school, so everyone is kept informed and up-to-date.
I hope that gives you a bit more of an idea of what’s in store for Arbor over the next year. COVID has meant that schools are demanding a different way of working and this will lead to a rapid adoption in cloud-based MIS. As the cloud-based MIS designed to make a measurable difference to the way you work, Arbor is really well positioned to help, so I’m really excited about what the future holds.
I can’t wait to meet you online and hopefully soon in person to tell you more about it!
CEO and Co-Founder, Arbor Education
Arbor Community | Arbor Updates | IT Support
With all the challenges of Covid-19, now may seem like a difficult time to switch your Management Information System (MIS) – but what if you had an Arbor expert in your local area, who could support you every step of the way? Working with one of Arbor’s 30 accredited Support Partners located across the country
With all the challenges of Covid-19, now may seem like a difficult time to switch your Management Information System (MIS) – but what if you had an Arbor expert in your local area, who could support you every step of the way?
Working with one of Arbor’s 30 accredited Support Partners located across the country means you can start reaping the benefits of a cloud-based MIS right away with expert support, so you’re freed up to focus on what’s most important – running your school and keeping your community safe.
Your local Arbor Partner will organise a demonstration at a time that suits you and advise you on which of our three simple packages would suit your school best. Once you decide to switch, they’ll help you check and migrate your data, train your staff and be there to support you as you discover your new MIS.
All our Partners go through a detailed training and accreditation process to make sure they know Arbor inside out – and many of them can also support other aspects of technology at your school, from audiovisual equipment and laptops, to network and infrastructure.
Choosing to be supported by one of our Partners means you get the best of both worlds: a future-proof MIS that helps you work better, collaborate more easily and stay connected on the cloud; supported every step of the way by a knowledgeable, local team.
Our accredited Partners are located all across the country, so you’re never far away from an Arbor expert. We introduced you to our first 10 accredited Partners back in March, and we’ve been busy training up a new cohort, so we wanted to shine a light on the most recent additions to our growing Partner network.
See which Partner works in your area and get in touch about switching to Arbor today:
AdEPT Education – Nationwide
Established in 2003, AdEPT are a managed services and telecommunications provider offering award-winning technical solutions for over 12,000 organisations across the UK with a mission of ‘Uniting technology, inspiring people’.
In a world where there is simply too much technology to choose from, AdEPT use their expertise and strategic partnerships to ensure customers get the right solution to their individual requirements. As well as being an accredited Arbor support unit, they specialise in IT, communications and connectivity.
Agile Technical Solutions – East Anglia
Agile Technical Solutions provide all your hardware and software needs – just like having an in-house IT department, but without all the hassle. They are cost effective as an IT solution, particularly for schools. They always respond whatever the time of day and work hard to resolve problems as soon as possible. Agile understands what matters most to you; creating excellent and safe learning environments. To enable this, school ICT support needs to be secure, responsive and value for money.
Agilisys (Sefton Borough Council) – Sefton
For over 20 years, Agilisys have partnered with healthcare, local government and organisations throughout the public sector to unlock the potential of technology and transform services that improve lives. Through a partnership with Sefton Borough Council, Agilisys are delighted to provide accredited Arbor support to schools in Sefton and surrounds.
Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council E-ICT Team – Bradford
Technology plays an increasing role in education. The Bradford Education ICT team offer friendly and expert support and training so that your school can get the most from your hardware and software, both in the office and in the classroom. The team comprises dedicated ICT qualified trainers (who are members of the Learning Performance Institute) and MIS support officers.
Carbon Cloud – Kent
Carbon Cloud is a team of friendly, real people, all with over 20 years experience in the IT industry. They want to use their experiences and skills to make IT better for your business. They’ll explain new technologies and help you understand the cloud, but most of all, they’ll help make doing business easier. Carbon Cloud understands that IT is not a core function of your business – you just want it to work to allow you to focus on growing your business.
The team’s experience is wide and varied, ranging from Cloud computing platforms, like Azure, AWS and opensource technologies to Office 365 and the management of enterprise scale service desks.
Code Green (Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council) – Barnsley
Technology has revolutionised the way in which we work and is an integral part of everyday living. Code Green demonstrates ways to apply this technology effectively within education environments to bring a range of features and benefits.
Having supported schools for over 10 years, their specialism in technology for the education sector is second to none. Each and every employee of Code Green is dedicated to providing the most professional and efficient service possible to our customers.
Cygnet IT Services – Sutton
Cygnet has a team of Arbor accredited staff with extensive experience providing professional MIS support to schools and MATs. They have over 25 years’ experience working within the education sector, specifically in the Sutton area and surrounds, and their continued success and strong relationships within this space reflect the high calibre of support they provide. Above all else, the Cygnet team are friendly, understanding and always willing to go the extra mile to meet the needs of their customers.
Education Lincs – Lincolnshire
Established in 1998, Education Lincs prides itself on providing personable and tailored solutions to primary schools and academies around Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas. Having partnerships with trusted brands such as Google, Lenovo, Promethean and Arbor, we look to always offering the best products and services to each of our schools, whilst tailoring costs to meet the school’s budget requirements.
Holker IT (formerly PC Edutech) – North West
In just 10 years, Holker IT has become one of the UK’s leading suppliers of intelligent, flexible IT solutions and services. Solutions that recognise the critical importance of security and integrity of data to the daily operations of a school or MAT. Today Holker looks to the future, with world-class services such as our Holker Cloud solution, which migrates all systems and IT Services into the virtual Cloud environment, securely, to future proof your school and your data.
In July 2020, Holker IT acquired PC Edutech, experts in IT support for schools with over 11 years’ experience in the Education sector and full accreditation on Arbor MIS.
Integra Schools (South Gloucestershire Council) – Gloucestershire
Integra is a South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) division who trade with schools, local public sector organisations, local businesses and provide services to the council. They have extensive, proven experience of working in the education arena, knowledgeable and committed staff, and a deep shared public sector ethos. The Integra Schools team is committed to making a difference in schools and educational settings; their operational staff are regarded as members of the extended school family and their professional support staff are passionate about the work they do to support school leaders, teachers, support staff, parents, children and families.
Interm IT – South of England
At Interm IT, their family business values centre on providing schools with qualified, experienced, affordable, onsite IT technician support. Each school has a dedicated technician-consultant, who will visit at an agreed regular time, to proactively help keep your computer systems operational, not only to fix but also maintain, advise and progress. This ensures that you have faith to teach with a supported, reliable computer system.
Itech Support – Hertfordshire
Itech Support is an experienced team of IT Specialists, with a Head Office in Hertfordshire, dedicated to making your IT work for you. Their aim is to simplify technology by providing you with a single point of contact for all your IT requirements. They get to know and understand how your business works so they can best support you. Itech Support’s success has grown from offering unrivalled customer service mixed with exceptional technical expertise.
JC Comtech – East Anglia
Based in East Anglia and with over 15 years’ experience, JC Computer Technologies Ltd specialise in ICT support and consultancy for primary schools and Multi Academy Trusts. They don’t just come in, fix your ICT problems and leave. Their aim is to become part of the school team, working with you to ensure your ICT is working effectively, but also supporting you in using ICT to deliver the curriculum. With many years of specialist experience, a wealth of knowledge in their support team and their willingness to go the extra mile, JC always have your interests in all that they do.
Keystone MIS – Yorkshire
Keystone MIS are a Yorkshire based company who provide professional, impartial, comprehensive and affordable MIS support to Schools and Academies throughout the UK. They take a great deal of pride in the level of support they offer and have a long history of excellent customer relationships with a large number of local schools. They’re a friendly, approachable and knowledgeable team who are experts in handling children’s data and keeping up-to-date with current legislation, with core values built on customer service and high quality support.
Somerset Council Support Services for Education (SSE) – Somerset
The SSE MIS Support team is a fully accredited, well-established and respected team with expertise in both Arbor MIS and related ICT. The team has a wealth of experience working with Schools, Academies, Federations and MATS. Their aim is to reduce the burden on schools, by providing effective, tailored guidance and support to enable you to fulfil your statutory duties. They react swiftly to new DfE initiatives and work closely with educational colleagues to monitor and apply recommendations from current Ofsted thinking. The team will work closely with you to ensure you get the maximum value and benefit from your MIS system that meets your individual school needs.
School Care – Hampshire
If you teach ICT or manage a school network then you will know that building effective and reliable solutions for schools that support 21st Century educational initiatives is a demanding and skilled task. SchoolCare’s team is dedicated to seeking out the leading new ICT solutions for education and new opportunities to improve teaching & learning. From installations to MIS support, from digital signage to wireless systems and from special needs software to equipment disposal, SchoolCare is able to offer schools and colleges a complete service driving innovation in their ICT.
Services 4 Schools – Wolverhampton
Services 4 Schools offer a range of high-quality professional business support solutions, enabling schools to achieve and operate with excellence and efficiency. The S4S team of experts are available to assist school leaders and business managers with specialist advice, reassurance and hands-on operational support across all aspects of data and information management, HR, data protection, school payroll, finance and governance.
Their competitively priced MIS support is loved by schools. From training and guidance for new users, to specialist consultancy on key processes, S4S can advise your staff on how to get the best out of the systems that keep your schools working.
The SCAS Team – West Sussex
The SCAS Team provides a personal, friendly service enabling all schools to maximise the benefit of their Management Information System (MIS). Based in West Sussex, their team have extensive experience working in a range of roles within schools and completely understand and appreciate the challenging demands placed upon schools.
Trading with Schools (Bristol City Council) – Bristol
Trading with Schools supports schools in delivering a first class education for all learners. The Trading with Schools unit brings together services across Bristol council into one trading unit, to better support the changing needs and requirements of schools and educational settings.
Trading with Schools provides a vast knowledge base and a wealth of experience in meeting the complex business and training needs required to help schools and educational settings perform well. They can offer set packages as well as bespoke services to meet your individual requirements.
SCAS pride themselves on providing a prompt and reliable service to all school staff, enabling efficient use of your MIS and empowering school teams to enhance all aspects of school performance.
Vitalize IT – Nationwide
Vitalize was formed in 2009 with a simple mission – to help schools and colleges around the UK to transform teaching & learning using the power of digital learning platforms. All Vitalize trainers have worked in schools previously, and experienced first hand the impact that digital learning and cloud-based systems can have. With our expert support for G-suite for Education, Arbor MIS and other complementary tools, we can help you create a Digital Learning Strategy encompassing teachers, learners & parents.
If you’d like to find out more about how Arbor MIS could help your school work faster, smarter and collaborate more, join one of our free webinars to see the system in action. You can also get in touch with our team directly at email@example.com or call us on 0208 050 1028.
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Click here to find out about ArborFest: The New Features Edition, taking place virtually on May 5th, 2022. With just over one week to go until ArborFest – our free virtual conference dedicated to schools and trusts – we wanted to tell you all about what’s on so you can book your place! From 12th-13th
With just over one week to go until ArborFest – our free virtual conference dedicated to schools and trusts – we wanted to tell you all about what’s on so you can book your place!
From 12th-13th November, ArborFest is your chance to hear how fellow school staff have transformed the way they work with Arbor MIS. You’ll discover best practice in all areas – from assessment, to reporting, to parental engagement. We’ll also give you a sneak peak of what’s coming up on our Product Roadmap.
If your school isn’t yet using Arbor, it’s a great opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like to be part of the UK’s fastest-growing MIS community, and to see first hand how our schools use Arbor day-to-day.
Here’s a look at what’s on and all the links you need to sign up – just click the title of the talk! Click here for the full programme.
Best practice and advice from schools and trusts using Arbor MIS
Arbor’s CEO James and Chief of Customer Success Sonia will welcome you to ArborFest and let you know all about the top sessions to look out for.
Find out how to use Arbor to get even greater insight into your students.
Find out how Arbor’s tools could help you communicate in a more dynamic way with your school community.
Hear about our new releases, and take part in workshops to shape the future of Arbor
Ever wondered how an EdTech product team works? Arbor’s Head of Product Hilary will reveal how we decide what to develop to help schools work better.
Discover two of our brand new features for Teaching Staff – an all-in-one classroom management tool and a personalised dashboard.
If you’re using Arbor MIS, this is your chance to tell us what you think about the design, usability and layout to help us improve the experience.
(For Arbor customers only)
MAT Feedback Forum: Teaching and Learning in Group MIS
If you’re a MAT Central Team using Arbor, this is your opportunity to tell us what you think of Arbor’s Group MIS to help us improve the experience.
Our Keynote Speaker, Rachel Coldicutt, expert on the relationship between social impact and tech, will show you how you can manage uncertainty and move on after Covid-19.
We’ll show you how you can quickly access the attendance data you need in a few clicks using Arbor’s out-of-the-box reporting.
Join former Headteacher, Jackie, to find the right approach to assessment and progress tracking for your primary school, and how to implement it in Arbor.
If you’re a primary school discovering Arbor for the first time, join this demo to see Arbor MIS in action.
Hear top tips from fellow Teachers for managing your class and keeping on top of your admin! We’ll also show you how Arbor helps reduce workload, plus our new teacher-focused features.
Join Arbor’s Assessments Lead, Chris, to find out how we’ve built school and MAT-level assessments in Arbor, and what’s on the horizon.
Join Martyn, Deputy Head at The Reach Free School, and Chris, Arbor’s Assessment Lead, to learn how you can get greater insight into student progress in Arbor.
If you’re a secondary school discovering Arbor for the first time, join this demo to see Arbor MIS in action.
If you’re an administrator at a trust using Arbor MIS, this is your chance to tell us what you think of Arbor’s Group MIS to help us improve the experience for trust Office Staff.
Join Stephen, Chris and Nataliia from Arbor to hear how we’re shaping Arbor to best support MATs over the long term.
Arbor’s Chief of Customer Success, Sonia, will walk you through the support we provide throughout your life with Arbor, to help drive long-term impact.
We’ll show you how Arbor makes the DfE Daily Form easy, plus how to keep track of student and staff sickness and absences.
Meet fellow Data Managers, Exams Officers, Admin Staff sharing top tips for managing exams in Arbor.
End your ArborFest experience with closing remarks from the Arbor Team. Hear about what’s coming next and how you can keep up-to-date with what we’ve got coming up. See you there!
If you’re discovering Arbor for the first time, join this demo to see Arbor’s Group MIS in action.
Discover our brand new toolkit for schools and trusts that are large, complex or want more control of their data and system infrastructure.
We really look forward to welcoming you at ArborFest this year. It’s a great opportunity not only to learn more about Arbor MIS but also to network with fellow school staff from across the country.
If you’d prefer to arrange a 1-on-1 demo of Arbor for your school, one of the team would love to speak to you. You can book that here.
Otherwise, see you online!
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Click here to find out about ArborFest: The New Features Edition, taking place virtually on May 5th, 2022. We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Virtual ArborFest – the second instalment of our festival dedicated to schools and trusts using Arbor MIS. Only 1 month away, ArborFest is your chance to hear tips and tricks
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Virtual ArborFest – the second instalment of our festival dedicated to schools and trusts using Arbor MIS.
Only 1 month away, ArborFest is your chance to hear tips and tricks from fellow school staff using Arbor, as well as expert best practice from the Arbor Team. We’ll also give you a sneak peak of what’s coming up on our product roadmap.
Join us online on 12th-13th November for a two-day event with lots of talks, workshops and feedback forums to choose from. The best thing is ArborFest is completely free!
Click here to see the full programme and book your tickets
You’ll see that we’ve split ArborFest into three key themes, each with multiple talks inside it. Click the link above to see the full programme and book into the sessions you’d like to join:
For schools who are discovering Arbor for the first time, and don’t yet use our cloud-based MIS, we’re holding special sessions just for you so you can learn more about Arbor. Book your place here if you’re a primary school, secondary school or MAT.
We’re excited to announce a very special keynote speaker for ArborFest – Rachel Coldicutt. An expert on the relationship between social impact and tech, and former CEO of Doteveryone, Rachel will walk us through “The Glimmers Report” – a new, practical toolkit to help schools, trusts and other community organisations reflect on their rapid transformation, look ahead, and set new Key Performance Indicators.
Sign up for the keynote speech here – everyone is welcome!
We’ve put together a video showcasing our last ArborFest back in February of this year (when meeting in a room full of people was normal and exciting!) Take a look and see what ArborFest means to us:
We look forward to seeing you online soon – don’t forget to tell your colleagues!
P.S. If you’re having trouble getting onto the webinar site to book your tickets, make sure you’re using an updated version of Chrome or Firefox and delete any cache or cookies, which may be blocking you.
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