What you missed at ArborFest

blank Maddie Kilminster - 22 March, 2021

Category : Blog

What you missed at ArborFest

Last Thursday and Friday (18th-19th March), we were delighted to host the third ever ArborFest – a two-day virtual festival with talks, workshops and forums exploring innovative ways of working with Arbor MIS. A huge thank you to our sponsors 4Matrix, MyConcern, SchoolsICT and The Key for helping to make the event such a success.

Last Thursday and Friday (18th-19th March), we were delighted to host the third ever ArborFest – a two-day virtual festival with talks, workshops and forums exploring innovative ways of working with Arbor MIS.

A huge thank you to our sponsors 4Matrix, MyConcern, SchoolsICT and The Key for helping to make the event such a success.

The dynamic programme was a real showcase of the completely new ways in which schools have been working, especially over the past year, with topics ranging from data analysis, to assessment, to MAT expansion. 

There was a real energy across the sessions, with everyone leaving with ideas for how they could work in new ways to improve how they support students, and create a better working culture for staff too.

Who was there?

1,300 people including SLT, Teachers, Admin Staff from 700 schools, MATs and partner organisations joined our 31 talks happening across five event stages!

For Arbor schools and MATs, it was a chance to network with fellow staff across the country, and to share tips and tricks for getting the most out of Arbor MIS. 

For schools who are only just hearing about us, it was an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes insight into what it means to be part of the Arbor community of over 1,600 schools, and how moving to Arbor could transform the way they work. 

What you missed… on the main stage

Arbor’s CEO, James, and Chief of Customer Success, Sonia, kicked off the festival with a welcome address, setting the tone with an analogy of schools in 2021 like playing table tennis with a quick-fire machine (compared to the dodgeball metaphor in his welcome talk at ArborFest in November 2020!).

As James said, “the pace of change is changing. There are still lots of balls being thrown at us but we’ve coped with more change than we thought was possible.”

James also shared some of the recent developments at Arbor, including our growth to 1,600 schools and our joining of The Key Group. Sonia demonstrated some of the ways we’ve been supporting schools to adapt to the new government guidelines and work flexibly over the past year, having moved over 600 schools over to Arbor 100% remotely, with a customer satisfaction score of 98%. 

Catch up on James and Sonia’s welcome address here

Keynote speech

Education advisor, writer and speaker, Mary Myatt, gave a brilliant keynote address on how schools can carve out time for satisfying work on the curriculum by focusing on fewer things in greater depth. And it created a lot of conversation on Twitter! If you enjoyed Mary’s talk, make sure you download her further reading list to learn more.

Guest talk from The Key

Caroline Doherty, Head of Education Strategy at The Key, was joined by Mark Talbot, Chief Executive Officer of the Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust, and Matt Crawford, CEO of Embark Federation, for a great discussion around both the opportunities, and the challenges of expanding a trust.

There were some excellent talks led by our partners MyConcern, 4Matrix and SchoolsICT on safeguarding, managing a summer without exams, and blended learning. We also had 70 school staff join us for a relaxing Mindfulness Workshop at lunch.

…on the “Why Arbor?” Stage

We had an all-star cast of Arbor schools and MATs including Watergrove Trust, Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust, Glenmoor & Winton Academies, Hyndburn Academy, Red Kite Learning Trust and Northlands Wood Primary Academy, each sharing how moving to Arbor MIS has helped them work in new and flexible ways. 

We also had a special appearance by Kirsty Woolls, HR Director at Academy Transformation Trust, and Abby Brayford, Director of ATT Institute, who shared what people development (rather than CPD!) means for them. Abby Brayford said, “change is relational. To effect change and drive improvement you have to think about people’s values.”

…on the Masterclass stage

The Arbor Team led some deep-dive sessions showcasing tips and tricks for a range of Arbor modules. They also launched some brand new features including:

  • Assessment updates in Arbor’s Group MIS helping you standardise how you manage assessments across your MAT
  • New integrations with Google Classroom and Microsoft Office 365 helping you sync data securely to your digital learning platform
  • Our new Microsoft Power BI Connector, allowing you to visualise your Arbor data in creative new ways
  • A new integration with Access Education Budgets (coming soon!) saving you time on your school budgeting with up-to-date staff data at your fingertips – part of our exciting partnership with The Access Group
  • My Classroom – our all-in-one classroom management tool that brings all your admin into one place, saving teachers time

…on the Workshop stage

Our Product team led a series of Feedback Forums which were a great opportunity to gather feedback from Arbor users to help us shape the future of our MIS. Find out more about how we use schools’ feedback to inform our Product Roadmap.

Hear from attendees

“I was inspired by the attitude of the team and the drive and dedication that came across, ethos can only work when it comes from the top and is intrinsic throughout the leadership team. This was evident throughout.” A primary school customer

“it was useful to hear some of the roadmap items, and helpful to have our say in suggested improvements for the future.” A MAT customer

“Sessions were appropriate and interesting. The online nature (and recordings) meant I could fit it around work commitments”. A secondary school customer

“Just wanted to say thank you I will have to leave early as I have another meeting, however it was very interesting and a very nice layout, user friendly etc. Something definitely worth us looking at taking on for our school in the future. Look forward to seeing the last bit on the recording.” A prospective special school

Sad you missed ArborFest? Find out more

New to Arbor?

If you want to discover how Arbor MIS could help you work faster, smarter and collaborate more, get in touch to arrange a free online demo for your school or MAT. Alternatively, you can email tellmemore@arbor-education.com or call 0208 050 1028.

Already using Arbor?

If you’d like more information on any of the new features showcased at ArborFest – or if you need some support – get in touch with your Account Manager or contact accountmanagers@arbor-education.com.

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