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The Arbor Blog

Expert ideas for a better working life at your school or trust

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Amy Underdown - 27 January, 2023

Category : Blog

The ArborFest 2023 round-up

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. 

What happened at ArborFest?

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. 

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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.

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Laura McInerney Arbor

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! 

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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. 

blankDfE Benchmarking Arbor

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.

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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. 

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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! 

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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!

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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.

Amy Underdown - 22 November, 2022

Category : Blog

ArborFest is back in-person!

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. 

What’s on at ArborFest? 

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.

Main Stage

  • Debjani Mitra, Senior Administration Officer at Sir Thomas Abney Primary School, James Hodgson, Principal at Hagley Catholic High School and Simon Whittington, Deputy Headteacher at Wey Valley College PRU all share how they’ve used Arbor to create meaningful change in their schools
  • David Jones, Head of Personal Development at Saracens RFC, on how to build a resilient team in tough times
  • New Features Showcase from Hilary Aylesworth, Head of Product at Arbor Education

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.

Data Stage

  • Luke Mulhall, Assistant Head Teacher at Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy Trust and Chris Berry, Headteacher at LWS Academy discuss how they’ve used Arbor to improve parental engagement and reduce staff workload
  • Catherine Tallis, Director of Business Services at HFL Education, and Rachel Macfarlane, Director of Education Services, explore why the democratisation of data is so important for school staff

MAT stage:

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. 

  • Amanda Hodder, COO at Emmaus Catholic Multi Academy Company on how, when and why to centralise different systems across your trust
  • Mark Greatrex, CEO at Bellevue Place Education Trust on why he believes autonomy wins over centralisation 
  • Micon Metcalfe (CFO, Westminster MAT), Dan Morrow (CEO, Dartmoor MAT), and Natalie Perera (CEO, EPI) on different strategies for responding to the cost-of-living crisis as a trust

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.

Customer roundtables

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.

Feedback forums:

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. 

How do I get involved?

Arbor customers will receive their ticket in their email inbox!

What will I get with my ticket?

  • Free entry to ArborFest
  • Access to all our talks and roundtables
  • Breakfast and lunch are included
  • An Arbor bag full of Arbor goodies
  • Join us at an end-of-day drinks party

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?

  • See all the talks on our Main Stage via live stream
  • A digital delegate pack

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.

blank Rebecca Watkins - 22 April, 2022

Category : Blog

ArborFest: The New Features Edition – What’s on?

As you may have heard, we’re doing ArborFest a little differently this term. ArborFest: The New Features Edition, taking place virtually on 5th May, will focus on all of the exciting new releases we’ve recently launched and give you a sneak peek of what’s coming up over the next two terms.  Whether you’re new to

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As you may have heard, we’re doing ArborFest a little differently this term.

ArborFest: The New Features Edition, taking place virtually on 5th May, will focus on all of the exciting new releases we’ve recently launched and give you a sneak peek of what’s coming up over the next two terms. 

Whether you’re new to the Arbor Community, or you’ve been using our MIS for years, this is the perfect opportunity to discover more about how your school could be using Arbor MIS to transform the way you work. Our support and API partners are also invited to join any of the sessions which take their interest. 

You can view the full schedule by clicking here, but we’ve put together a few sessions you won’t want to miss below…

Hear from Arbor’s CEO and co-founder

As usual, we’ll be kicking the day off with a welcome talk from our CEO and co-founder, James Weatherill. Alongside our Chief of Customer Success and Head of Product, James will be revealing what’s coming up for Arbor MIS and sharing insights on the education sector!

Brand new features

We have a number of exciting announcements, as well as a deeper look into some of our recent releases. 

  • Our marksheets have just become even more powerful. Across two sessions (one for primaries and one for secondaries), you’ll see all our recent updates to marksheets as well as insight into what our product team are working on next

  • Join us at 2pm for the big reveal of Payments Plus! Perfect for everyone who would like a look at our new payments module 

Get top Arbor tips from customers

Who better to learn from than school staff who use Arbor every day? 

  • Andy Lowe, IT & Attendance Officer at Marches Academy Trust, will be talking on how he makes the most of data in his Attendance 101 session

  • Jon Brook, Deputy Head at Droitwich Spa High School, will join Lucy, our Senior Product Manager, to give you top tips and tricks on everything timetablingclick here to sign up

Have your say

At Arbor, we champion the feedback from our customers. If you’d like to have your say in the future of our MIS, come along to one of our interactive feedback forums.

To create a safe and open space, these sessions are just for customers. We’re looking forward to hearing all your opinions and ideas. 

All the information you need about ArborFest, including the full schedule, can be found here. 

We can’t wait to see you there! Make sure to keep an eye out for and get involved with our ArborFest competition on Twitter or LinkedIn.

blank Rebecca Watkins - 31 March, 2022

Category : Blog

Introducing 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

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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

What’s on this year?

  • Have your say: Get involved with the future of cloud-based MIS by joining one of our interactive forum sessions, covering a variety of topics, from assessment and comms through to our MAT MIS
  • Top tips and tricks: Join a session on attendance, data or comms in MAT MIS to find out how to get the most out of Arbor, with our product managers and fellow Arbor customers.

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:

  • Register for free for the sessions you’d like to join with your work email
  • We’ll send you a confirmation email with your links to join on 5th May
  • Add the sessions to your calendar to block out your time
  • Click on your personalised link to join the sessions on 5th May

How can I keep in touch?

  • Stay in the loop by following us on Twitter or LinkedIn
  • 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