Is it time to change your school management system?

Is your current school management system still fit for purpose, or are you paying for features you don't use? It might be time for a change.

While teaching and learning is the core business of schools, there is a lot going on behind the scenes.

Most school’s will have a school management system to manage some or all of these tasks. It is worth considering if your current system still suits your school’s needs.

Why change systems?

While your current school management system may have been fit for purpose when it was first implemented. Changes to your school’s structure, though, may mean it is no longer the best option.

Read the latest print edition of School News HERE

Consider if your current system offers the features your school wants or needs, and if the system is user-friendly.

Similarly, think about whether you might be paying for features that your school does not use. It may be useful to explore the market and find out what options are available, to ensure your system is providing the best value for money.

Preparing for change

It is important to work with both your current and new school management system provider to ensure a smooth transition. Ask for an indicative timeline, so you know how the transition should take.

A holiday period may be an optimal time to begin the move. Adequate time must be allowed for school staff to be properly trained to use the new system, to minimise the impact to teaching and learning, and the effective operation of the school.

Communicate with your school community, and ensure everyone knows when the transition is happening, and if there will by any down time on access to school data, or if alternative communication or administrative arrangements will be implemented. Parents and students will need to be educated on how to use the new system, and supported by staff through the transition.

School technology
Image supplied by Hero

What the experts say

Paul Sibson, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Hero said that school management systems have seen significant changes in recent years.

“We’ve seen the shift from on-premise systems, to web-based, and now fully cloud-based solutions, which has allowed for greater security, faster updates, and adaptability to changing needs. Modern SMS should also meet the Safer Technologies 4 Schools privacy and security standards, as recognised by the New Zealand Ministry of Education, and Departments of Education across Australia.

“Systems are also increasingly adopting common standards for data collection and storage, improving interoperability. Modern systems provide extensive data analysis tools to support decision-making. Data is more visible and visual, and readily available for schools to harness.” Mr Sibson said.

“Modern systems offer greater customisation options to suit individual schools’ needs and centre the learning experience around students. Every school operates differently, and systems should be flexible to allow individual characteristics and context to shine.

“It’s also important that systems can be tailored to support both mandated and localised curriculums. This ensures that regulatory requirements are met, whilst also allowing schools to tailor practices to align with their core values, culture, identity and pedagogical vision.

“Good school management systems will provide everything in one app combining a student-centred, digital learning portfolio solution with a fully-featured school management system. Where traditional systems focused on one-way communication and rigid reporting timeframes, modern systems invite students and caregivers to be part of learning conversations in real-time. Reporting then becomes a natural extension of this ongoing dialogue, providing a more meaningful and collaborative experience.”

Gemma Easton

Gemma is the editor of both the Australian and New Zealand School News magazines. With a background in magazine writing and editing, and a recent history working in schools, she is well-placed to keep you informed on important trends in the education sector. Gemma enjoys reading, coffee, and moving her indoor plants around her house to find the optimal growing position.
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