Working with an MIS Consultant

Babraham Church of England Primary School, Cambridgeshire


Overview

Babraham CofE Primary School is one of the smallest primary schools in Cambridgeshire.  However, despite its size, the requirements with respect to keeping their Management Information Systems up-to-date and recording their pupils’ progress are much the same as any school in the County.

Set in beautiful countryside, just a few miles from Cambridge, children attend Babraham from a wide geographical area, not just the immediate locality. The school ethos concentrates on a global community; and children and staff alike knowingly benefit from understanding different experiences.

How MIS Consultant, Donna Flynn, started work for the school

Donna has worked for The ICT Service since 2002 and divides her time between bespoke consultancy work in schools, delivering training and providing valuable support to customers on The ICT Service Helpline.  She has in-depth knowledge of Management Information Systems and specialises in the full SIMS suite of modules. Donna was first invited into Babraham Primary School in April 2014 to meet and train the new school secretary, Claire.

The systems in the school office had been in use for many years and were in need of ‘tidying up’.  Subsequently Donna has regularly, via our remote support service and on the Helpline, supported Claire through her first academic year, for things like the School Census.  For more involved processes Claire has attended many workshops facilitated by Donna at The ICT Service Training Centre in St Ives.

During the initial meeting at the school, Donna also met Headteacher, Mark Verde.  Mark requested help to complete his Raising Achievement Plan and this was the ideal time for Donna to look at the school’s tracking systems, to offer advice and support in making best use of SIMS Assessment Manager.  Mark advised Donna that before he began in post in 2012, SIMS had not been used to track data; therefore accessing historical data proved quite an arduous task. Since then, Mark has kept in touch periodically with calls to the Helpline, during which time Donna has helped him to negotiate the system to track and carry out analysis on key groups of children.


Life without Levels

The introduction of the new curriculum in 2015 saw vast changes in the way schools needed to monitor their children’s progress.  Mark attended one of the IMPULSE conferences in June 2015, when The ICT Service launched the SIMS answer to life without levels.  Soon after the conference Mark contacted Donna to express that the SIMS Programme of Study was what he wanted his school to use, confident that his staff would like the look and feel of the latest tracking system.  Budget would not have allowed for them to buy in an additional system that they were concerned might not work for them anyway.

Donna visited Babraham Primary during school holidays for staff INSET sessions in 2015, after which Mark provided the following feedback:

“During the September INSET day Donna introduced us to the system and we looked at both the pros and cons of the programme. She listened carefully to our questions and concerns and adapted quickly to our needs so that by the end of the session we were all ready and keen to use the tool to help us assess and track progress without levels.

“She went back to The ICT Service and immediately began improving our school system to meet our outlined requirements so that we could start adding baseline assessments and get used to the new system. She also provided additional support materials that she had pooled from work with other schools to make assessing easy and concise.”

“In October we arranged a second training session during INSET day, when we were able to share our successes and, more importantly, discuss and clarify issues that we had with the system. Again Donna responded immediately to our needs and adapted and refined the tool to suit us, whilst at the school.

“We are becoming more confident in using the SIMS tool and the support that we have received has been invaluable in building this confidence and knowledge of the new system and has resulted in us being able to assess and track progress without levels.”

“We have now moved on to use SIMS to help us assess our school values and attitudes for success. Donna is developing the system to link our attitudes for success with the core subjects and give meaning to how we award and promote positive values across the whole curriculum.

“We are looking forward to working closely with Donna and The ICT Service to build an effective system that assesses reports and informs us about the children and their progress in a meaningful and detailed way.”


Since then…

During subsequent visits the staff set Donna many challenges and, over a very short time period, the teachers began to record their data confidently and questioned how and why they recorded as they did. Analysis could be performed relatively quickly, and they began to work on their data fantastically well as a team.

As with all systems there were some things that initially didn’t go down too well; however, Donna helped everyone to cross every bridge as they got to it, making sure that the system met the needs of the school. Following one such visit Mark commented to The ICT Service as follows:

 

“Donna was excellent. She has been looking at the SIMS tracker to see how it can be developed and tweaked to suit our school’s unique needs. We are including attitudes to learning as a value system linked into Maths, English and Science and she has tailored the tool to accommodate this. It will also feed into a new reporting system and format to track progress.

 

“The staff fired lots of questions, ideas and suggestions at Donna and after a very good session we are looking at a very useful tool. Donna presented the report tool in such a professional way – listening carefully to suggestions, taking on board worries and adapting the ideas as she worked with us. My teachers were very involved with the session and today are talking positively about the benefits and great work that Donna is doing with us and how it will be an asset to them and the school.”

“The work Donna is doing with us is making the tracking system look like a very supportive tool for schools and showing SIMS to be very useful. My Business Manager will also be helping her develop the SCR and we look forward to contributing to this development. Thank you for allowing us to work with Donna.”


Babraham Primary School has opted to use SIMS to report to their parents in both spring and summer.  Consultancy time with the school has been used to determine what they would like to include.

Despite some initial staff concerns, these SIMS reports were printed and then saved in the children’s records electronically.  Parental feedback has been good and staff are already looking forward to tweaking the design and using them next term.

“Our system is now tailor-made for our school and incorporates our value system and feeds into a reporting system that works for us and our children. The teachers are confident in using the SIMS tracker.”


Why use The ICT Service?

The ICT Service currently offers FREE MIS audits, which we hope will increase and expand your understanding of what the SIMS system can do for you and how it can better meet the needs of your own specific school requirements.

We offer regular training to support your staff throughout the year with key areas of focus and across all aspects of SIMS.  Please visit www.theictservice.org.uk/training for the full schedule of workshops available.  Alternatively, our consultants can deliver training via remote sessions or in-school consultancy.

If you think your school would benefit from a bespoke service offered by The ICT Service MIS Team, please call us on 0300 300 0000, send an email to support@theictservice.org.uk or visit our website at www.theictservice.org.uk

“We use The ICT Service as it is efficient, effective and always meets our needs perfectly. The service provided is high quality with professional and knowledgeable ICT advisors at all levels and within a multitude of disciplines.

“We are a small school and the thing that counts with the people that we work with in The ICT Service is that they take the time to get to know our school and its needs; they work hard to suit those needs and make sure that we get the best deal and service possible.”


What people say about us

No complicated IT talk, just plain, good information and help as requested.

Clerk of Governors, Swaffham Bulbeck Primary School about ELearning

Kath answered my call and as ever was brilliant, sorted the problem out immediately and gave me instructions on how to fix the problem should it occur again.

S. Byford, Elm Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

As always your lovely staff are helpful and instructive dealing with my often stupid mistakes!

G. Topley, Fen Ditton Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Always extremely helpful and knowledgeable- Thank you

E. Rudd, Hartford Junior School about The ICT Service Helpline

The problem onsite following our LAN re-configuration was complex, needing Matt's expertise to fully resolve our wireless and printing issues. It took a while, the issues were multiple and had to be pinned down individually. As we uncovered various issues, Matt reconfigured aspects of our switches to resolve them. All is now working well.

C. Clee, Crosshall Junior Academy about Technical Services

Solved problem straight away. Many thanks.

M. Seaton, Coates Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Excellent help from Kath - many thanks.

M. Seaton, Coates Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

As always, Rob was very helpful and sorted out my problem speedily and efficiently as I was on a short timescale!

M. Ramsey, Grove Primary about The ICT Service Helpline

Usual helpful and patient advice. Thank you very much!

A. Maskell, St Matthew's Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Really helpful as usual and sorted the problem speedily. Thank you. Will make my life much easier today!

S. Dickinson, Fen Drayton Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Pleasant and very helpful. Thank you

M. Bennett, Granta Special School about The ICT Service Helpline

The issue was dealt with very quickly and Kath also telephoned to ensure that it was working correctly.

L. Dennis, Isleham Primary about The ICT Service Helpline

Very helpful on the phone. I was very pleased with the quick response. If anything I was the one slow in responding to the email I was sent. Thank you for all your help.

J. Branch, Upwood Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Really appreciated the clear guidance and information which helped fully resolve the issue I had and increase my understanding of the system I was using.

L. Billington, Granta Special School about The ICT Service Helpline

Sharon was very helpful, she dealt with query very quickly

A. Watson, Orchards Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

The engineer, Matt, worked very hard to resolve the issue as fast as possible, without his skills and knowledge the issue would have taken me much longer I cannot praise him high enough.

S. Rumbelow, Sir Harry Smith Community College about Technical Services

What would I do without you? I can't thank you enough for the way you support me, and that goes to the whole team, you are all a credit to The ICT service. Knowing you are there makes the day a bit better. I can pick up that phone have a wobble and help is on hand.

R. Mack, Fields Children's Centre about The ICT Service Helpline

Always good to know that Jane is just a phone call away :)

L. Fowler, Abbey College about The ICT Service Helpline

Always helpful and understanding, no matter how small the problem!

S. Dickinson, Fen Drayton Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Issue resolved quickly by a helpful member of staff

C. Munroe, Spaldwick Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

As always, Rob was very helpful and efficient.

M. Ramsey, Grove Primary about The ICT Service Helpline

Efficient, polite and kept me well informed. Lovely telephone manner. The issue was dealt with quickly enabling me to continue with my busy day. I was told exactly what the problem had been.

C. DeMartino, Castle Special School about The ICT Service Helpline

I was unsure of how to put an online questionnaire onto the school website, I needed assistance with this! Help was received very promptly and efficiently and this enabled me to help another member of staff. Thank you Jo :)

A. Sheldon, Monkfield Primary School about School Website Service

Excellent help straight away. Thank you.

M. Seaton, Coates Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Always helpful and patient!

S. Dickinson, Fen Drayton Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

As I am new to the role I am very grateful for the patient and helpful approach adopted by The ICT Service Helpline Team

S. Murray, Bewick Bridge Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Customer service is great. Clear and concise information always given very promptly, nothing is too much trouble.

H. Leete, Gamlingay First School about The ICT Service Helpline

Jo Puckering was very helpful with our request. Thank you Jo!

H. Owen, Shirley Primary School about ELearning

Life-saving restoration of folder from Central Hosting - Thanks very much.

D. Baslington, Bellbird Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Donna worked very quickly to resolve the issues.

S. Butler, Holywell Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Polite, professional and sorted out my issue quickly. In addition, the Helpline rep gave me tips on how to solve the problem should it arise again.

A. Howell, Monkfield Park Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

As always, no complaints with the service. Problem was resolved promptly without any fuss and certainly without making me feel useless :)

S. Pilkington, Spinning Infants School about The ICT Service Helpline

Excellent response producing successful result. Thank you Michaela!

C. Ashley, Ely St John's Primary School about The ICT Service Helpine

I felt that the issues we had were easily dealt with and helpful advice was given.

S. Preston, Pilgrim Pupil Referral Unit about The ICT Service Helpline

Excellent service.

P. Steel, Castle Camps Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Jane was extremely polite, helpful and definitely knowledgeable. I was happy and confident as she explained to me how she was able to resolve my issue, and did so in a short space of time. I am always impressed how staff on the Helpline know so much!

J. Pollock, Abbots Ripton Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

As always, the knowledge and assistance was second to none.

J. Medvesek, UTC Cambridge about The ICT Service Helpline

Rob was very helpful as always and resolved my query by logging into my screen to show me how to do what was needed. Thank you.

D. Hewett, Kimbolton Primary Academy about The ICT Service Helpline

I spoke with Jane on the helpline she was such a great support giving me invaluable advise and help. I couldn't have asked for anything more. Great work.

D. O'Bryan, Great & Little Shelford Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

An online request was made, no assistance was given on a 1-2-1 basis, but the issue was resolved very quickly!

S. Collins, Granta Special School about Online Helpdesk – The ICT Service Helpline

Quick response and problem sorted quickly. Kept informed and problem resolved - thank you!

J. Watts, Little Paxton Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Michaela explained problem perfectly and enabled me to create and link further codes without any problems. Thank you.

M. Seaton, Coates Primary School about FMS – The ICT Service Helpline

I spoke to Donna. She is always friendly and extremely helpful as are all the Helpline team

K. Dixon, Ridgefield Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Donna is always so helpful and resolves issues. Thank you!

S. Dickinson, Fen Drayton Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Everyone on the helpdesk are so helpful and they always sort out any problems speedily and efficiently. Thank you.

S. Dickinson, Fen Drayton Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

So happy you are at the end of the phone line for never-ending queries!!!

C. Robinson, Meldreth Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

What would we do without you?

C. Robinson, Meldreth Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Always so quick and professional.

Clerk of Governors, Swaffham Bulbeck Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Very happy with all aspects of the resolution process. I even found answers to questions I hadn't asked! Thank you

C. Ashley, Ely St John's Primary School about The ICT Service Helpline

Latest tweets

Fancy a change? New role? https://t.co/uEcYxukfGB

08 June 2018

The ICT Service is celebrating Accreditation success for its support for schools using Capita SIMS and FMS tools.… https://t.co/H3xPmWzMhs

08 June 2018

Anyone looking for business support work!? 😊 https://t.co/v5kRZGDKXq

06 June 2018

Come and work for us! We're looking for a new, enthusiastic and organised Business Support Administrator - closing… https://t.co/53QySVXlzC

05 June 2018

Come and work for us! We're looking for a new, enthusiastic and organised Business Support Administrator - closing… https://t.co/s4KEi5dWjW

05 June 2018