Management Information System (MIS) for schools
Expert ideas for a better working life at your school or trust
Case Studies | Local Authorities | Migration
Category : Blog
We sat down with Jenny Collins, MIS Programme Manager at Hampshire County Council to talk about how she and her team are helping schools with their move to a cloud-based MIS. Jenny, alongside representatives from Herts for Learning and Amazon Web Services, will be talking through Hampshire County Council’s process and answering your questions in
We sat down with Jenny Collins, MIS Programme Manager at Hampshire County Council to talk about how she and her team are helping schools with their move to a cloud-based MIS.
Jenny, alongside representatives from Herts for Learning and Amazon Web Services, will be talking through Hampshire County Council’s process and answering your questions in our fireside chat on the 18th October. Sign up for free here.
We’re always looking at how we offer the best support for the schools in our area. Over the past two years, we’ve seen a steady decline
in the number of schools using SIMS, with the majority moving to Arbor. We lost approximately 25% of our customer base, so it was no longer financially viable to carry on with our hosted environment. In March 2022, as part of the review of our service, we decided that Arbor was the leading challenger in the market and that we should offer support for their MIS as well. Schools always have a choice about which providers they use, so it was about us responding to where the volumes were moving.
The main concern from the team was around our ability to maintain quality of service while staff were taken off the support rota to undertake accreditation. Communication is key during a time of significant change – staff were briefed about the reasons for the change, and the support team leader provided encouragement on a one-to-one basis. The team were included in detailed planning activities, ensuring their buy-in. Also, the team could see the market changing, and knew that this was a good opportunity for both themselves and the schools.
Management approval was our first big blocker – but the figures spoke for themselves once the decision paper was compiled. There was also a nervousness from our team about their ability to succeed, particularly in the accreditation tests. Arbor’s partnership team was very supportive, with regular progress checkpoints to maintain focus, as well as being quick to respond to ad hoc questions.
Our measure of success is ultimately the feedback from schools. There’s no denying that it’s extra work for a small team, but schools are finding the new system far more intuitive to use. It’s easier for the teachers to get what information they want out of it. Schools like the way Arbor reacts to feedback and the way you can vote for changes or join working groups.
It’s been good for us as an organisation as we can now bring a bit more pressure to bear on things that are Hampshire-specific, such as our own assessment model; we’re working with Arbor to fine-tune this to make use of assessment material better for our schools.
Some schools have told us that the decision to choose Arbor was based on the fact that we were now providing the support service, which is great to hear. We differ from many support partners in our pricing approach, which is flat rather than per pupil. What’s been interesting is that we’ve had schools sign up to our service– even where we’re more expensive for them – because they value the personal service we provide. The schools have also understood that this is a journey for us as an organisation – there’s a recognition that we are all in this to ensure the best outcomes for the children in the county. One of my colleagues recently said, “our schools are being really nice and understanding that we are on this journey together.”
We’re still aiming to provide the same valued service, irrespective of the MIS used by schools. We provide a personal one-to-one service, talking our customers through the resolution of their queries. We have a continuous service improvement ethos, meaning we regularly review our procedures and gain feedback from our schools. We consider customer feedback crucial, and we use multiple channels to make sure our message gets out, and their responses can get back to us, be this through surveys, headteacher strategy groups or conferences.
If you’d like to read the full report, written in partnership with Socitm, click here.
Or, you can find out more about how we work with with Socitm here.
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