Since the 1980s, the growth of data collection in schools across the country has been exponential. Now some of the most data-rich organisations in the country, schools and multi-academy trusts today collect significantly more information than they did four decades ago, as governments continue to demand more data on each and every pupil.
From attendance records and contact information, to attainment and behaviour, each pupil brings with them a wealth of data - all of which needs to be effectively collected, stored, protected and reported on, whenever required.
Such a large data stream can cause serious headaches to organisations who don’t have the correct infrastructure in place to deal with it. How do schools and trusts achieve this?
The answer is management information systems, or MIS for short.
In the last 12 months, the MIS market has fluctuated dramatically, as the data management needs of educational institutions grows more complex. This is causing ripples that have reached right across education technology. So where do you start?
In this article, we take a look at the MIS market shift, and how we are responding to this to make sure our customers remain at the forefront of student information management.
In the 1980s, a Bedfordshire teacher, Phil Neal, created the first school information management system, as a way to save the time he was spending producing pupil reports. The idea was simple; by collecting all the information he had about each student into a single system, he could produce his reports automatically.
This system was then bought by Capita in 1994, and became the foundation of Capita SIMS.
Today, MIS solutions are no longer an optional extra. Every school in the country is likely to have an MIS solution at the core of their operations, serving as a critical point of reference for decision making across their organisation. A secure and effective MIS can:
Yet, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every school and trust in the country.
As the development of education becomes evermore data driven, the role that MIS solutions are required to play in schools and trusts has changed drastically from its conception nearly four decades ago. While the core aim of the solution remains unchanged - to automate data administration to save staff time and resources - today’s MIS solution needs to be able to bear much more weight than its predecessors.
With the growth of data required by the government, teachers are now once again reporting that the time needed to enter data into systems is growing more burdensome.
On top of this, the shift toward all schools becoming part of multi-academy trusts has, and will continue, to create further issues.
Speaking to Tes, one deputy director of a multi-academy trust highlighted the problems many trusts face when attempting to consolidate multiple systems all trying to achieve the same goal. This not only creates a data management issue, but will inevitably lead to cost implications, staff training requirements, and additional time spent ensuring data integrity. Ultimately, “it is essential that we have a single source of truth,” she said.
Crucially, it is not just at a trust-level that this issue causes disruption.
Earlier this year, Dame Rachel de Souza DBE, Children’s Commissioner for England, published the interim findings of her audit into children’s school attendance. She had found that difficulties enabling MIS solutions to communicate effectively from one school to another was resulting in many children’s information being inadequately handled.
The report states: “As all MIS systems have different capabilities, they are not all compatible, and data may not be easily transferable from one MIS to the next. School leaders have told us that incompatibility between MIS systems can affect how well a school can support a child who needs help. For example, children who are new to a school may arrive without background data on their past attendance, medical or safeguarding needs. This incompatibility can make it difficult for schools and LAs to track children who ‘move around the system’.”
So how do you make sure that your payment and sales data is effectively managed, while eliminating inefficient cost and time requirements and ensuring data is compatible with integrated solutions?
We have the answer: Trac.
Trac connects different payment and point-of-sales systems to your finance system regardless of whether these are used by schools, MATs, local authorities or businesses.
It works with a range of applications and platforms, including Pebble’s own Tali software and Till point-of-sale system. Through our partner programme partners can also use our Trac API to connect data securely and safely for 3rd party applications.
This provides an integrated infrastructure, which coordinates and automates data from multiple sources to single or multiple destinations.
There are a range of benefits to synchronisation of data, and to applying a software solution that also adds value:
And with Tali, it’s never been easier to manage data, monitor income, eliminate human error and carry out essential financial reporting tasks, including:
And, because Tali is a cloud-based solution, there’s no need to worry about version control and data duplication. Everything you need is available at the click of button, allowing you to work flexibility and collaboratively, within a highly secure environment.
Want to know more? Leave your details and we’ll be in touch.
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