There’s been a lot of speculation over the last few weeks about whether or not schools should reopen in June, and what a return to ‘normal’ might look like. While we now know that some schools will take a phased approach to reopening, leaders still remain in the dark on a number of important specifics, making it impossible to plan one week to the next.
Despite the challenges, school staff have gone above and beyond and education leaders have done a remarkable job of keeping things running - remaining one of the few constants holding communities across the country together.
A few weeks ago, Rich gave you an overview of some of the new features we’ve added to ScholarPack MIS, having reached out to our community of schools and asked what we could do to help. These features have already made a big difference to leaders’ ability to process, track and record everything that’s going on in the school community - but we recognise our role extends beyond features and functions.
Supporting our community of users also means just being there - providing guidance, help and sometimes just an ear to listen, to allow schools to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
Ahead of schools partially closing, we made the quick decision to close our offices and get all of our staff set-up and ready to work from home. This meant schools saw no disruption in service and support from one day to the next. This was crucially important. We recognised that schools needed us in those first few days of lockdown more than ever before. Fortunately, for our users, the ability to access their MIS remotely wasn’t unfamiliar- and as a cloud-based system, we knew ScholarPack would play a crucially important role in supporting schools through this unchartered territory.
Calls did peak at this time, schools were eager to understand their registration and reporting obligations in light of partial closure, but the team was ready to support. Our team handled over 1,200 enquiries, but we kept wait times under 10 seconds so schools could speak to us exactly when they needed to without delay. We also quickly created a dedicated area on the knowledge base section of ScholarPack MIS to house all COVID-19 feature information and advice, so schools could access our guidance 24/7, if they needed to.
With a new need for some school staff to work remotely, a number of schools found they were struggling with their ability to track and manage pupils, and school operations using their existing on-site MIS. As such, we saw an increase in schools keen to get set-up with a cloud-based provider. While we were delighted to have schools join our community, and knew we could migrate schools over in just a day - plans had to be put in place to help get schools familiar with a new system quickly, in challenging circumstances. We rolled out a tailored remote training programme for new schools, and created a series of ‘quick start’ video clips, focussing on different areas of the system to help all users get up to speed much more quickly. Click here to view our latest video on using ‘teaching bubbles’ - new functionality we released a few days ago.
Our team also launched a series of in-depth live webinars, to cover all areas of the system, in a one-to-many format that allowed us to skill-up multiple users at once. So far, over 413 people have joined these webinars. We’re continuing to add new content to help as the situation evolves - including a new series of year-end webinars to guide schools through the most unusual year end process yet.
We’ll continue to support schools and add features to suit the priorities of the moment. We’ve just released ‘teaching bubbles’ and we’re now looking at how we can extend the attendance codeset so schools can record details of pupils in isolation, showing COVID symptoms or where parents have chosen to keep their child at home. We’ll then pair this with guidance notes, making it as simple as possible for schools to at least get the admin side of reopening sorted.
As always, we’ll be there at the end of the phone, doing whatever we can. Get in touch with our team if there’s anything we can do to help you and your school.
From myself and everyone at ScholarPack, stay safe and well.
Director of Sales & Operations