What to look for in your MIS

Posted by Ewa Jozefkowicz on Apr 30, 2019 12:11:59 PM


Schools spending public money (including academies) must make sure they're getting the best value from their contracts for goods and services.

When contracts come to an end it's good practice to re-procure, to make sure the product or service still meets your needs and gives you the best value for money.

But what else should your school consider when selecting a Management Information System? 

  • Compliance with the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018
  • A robust authentication procedure (for example, access to the system requires at least a user ID and a strong password)
  • Edit, view and restricted access roles
  • Pre-defined groups for different staff roles
Data Management
  • Ability to store pupil information that:
1. Covers at least the contents of the common transfer file
2. Meets the requirements of the Department for Education’s (DfE)’s data collections, such as the school census
3. Meets the teaching and management needs of your school
  • No duplication of information
  • Automated processes, to avoid errors and inconsistencies

  • Ability to transfer data:

1. Between modules within your school
2. With other schools
3. With your local authority
4. With agencies such as the DfE
  • Assessment, including:
1. The flexibility, functionality and ease-of-use of a teacher’s mark book
2. software tool that supports analysis, prediction and standardisation of test and work scores
  • Ability to track and monitor key groups within school as well as defining new groups

  • Admissions, including:

1. Seamless import of new admissions data
2. Ability to store admissions applications and records of appeals from parents (if applicable)
  • Attendance, including:
1. Ability to capture AM/PM attendance (as well as lesson by lesson attendance for secondary schools)
2. Integration with timetabling and options modules (secondary schools)
3. Ability for staff to proactively monitor attendance patterns
4. Ability to alert appropriate staff to unusual activity and activate intervention at critical points
  • Ability to send attendance alerts to parents

  • Personnel management, including:

1. Staff records
2. Job evaluation
3. Pay scales
4. Training and development
5. Attendance
6. Sickness
7. Enables the generation of statutory returns (e.g. the workforce census)
  • Ease of integration with external HR systems, if relevant to your school

  • Timetabling, including (where relevant to your school):

1. All of the modelling functionality required, such as rooms, times, locations, special needs access, staff allocation, pupil options, travel time, and non-standard timetable cycles
2. Ability to enable separate timetable periods for different parts of the school
  • Ability to import timetabling data from an external system

  • Ability to accommodate pupil options (secondary schools)

  • Behaviour management, including:

1. Recording of positive and negative aspects of behaviour
2. Recording of actions taken and outcomes
  • Document handling, including:
1. Storage, retrieval, classification, digitisation and archiving of documents (including pupil coursework for secondary schools)
2. Storage of full metadata
3. Ability to import and export in all standard formats
  • Special educational needs, including:
1. Statutory administration and reporting functions
2. Ability to enable practitioners to develop learning plans, monitor and report progress, and track achievements
Remember Hidden and ongoing costs
When you come to write your specification, it’ll be helpful for your planning and budgeting to have a good idea of the whole-life cost of the purchase. This also affects which procurement process you can use.

Remember there may be ‘hidden’ costs in addition to the initial purchase. Think about:

  • Initial licence
  • Annual maintenance fee
  • Costs for any additional modules
  • Support fee
  • Consultancy fee
  • Transfer costs, to move data to a new database
  • Costs for additional licences
  • Academisation costs

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Topics: Procurement