June 25, 2024

MIS en place

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This is the first post in a new series about School Management Information Systems.

Have you ever wondered how information and communication technology (ICT) can be effectively deployed in schools? Well, unless you’re a member of the senior management team, or an ICT specialist teacher, the odds are is you probably haven’t. Those who exercise their minds over ICT in schools usually do so for one of two reasons – the first is that schools need to implement a set of tools that integrate seamlessly into classrooms to support effective pedagogy; The second is less about the classroom and more about how to manage the large amounts of data a school can generate in any given period. This article focuses on the latter.

Managing information for education can be a thorny problem. Schools use many digital services and constantly generate huge amounts of data. These include communication tools, attendance records, assessment information, parent and guardian contact details, school inspection files, human resources information such as staff pay and superannuation, sickness and leave records, free school meal registers, safeguarding records, teaching resources and lesson plans, agency contacts and cover records, budget and finance records, minutes of meetings, statistical reporting – the list goes on. All of these data need to be stored somewhere secure, and instantly recalled or communicated when required. Often data is stored in separate areas, and can be difficult to access when needed.

Overarching these elements is the legal requirement for schools to comply with GDPR regulations in the sharing, reporting and transparency of data management. It’s a daunting task for any Information Technology team to implement and maintain. Any errors or disruptions in service can cause chaos.

Fortunately, various solutions are available on the market – they all come under the banner of Management Information Systems (MIS). The latest MIS platforms feature modular and scalable systems, and are increasingly cloud based with user friendly interfaces. Popular MIS platforms include iSAMS, Arbor, Go4 Schools and RM Education. The MIS featured in this post is Integris, designed by RM Education.

The first thing you notice when you use a technology is the user interface. Many ICT tools and technologies tend to be somewhat difficult to use, often due to poor design. Education professionals are busy people and need to be able to use systems with minimum fuss and delay. The design of the interface of Integris is simple, and easy to use. As with most software providers RM offers training for schools, but a lot of the functionality is intuitive through quick links and other useful shortcuts. Migration from other platforms is also reported to be fairly easy.

Jackie Mulock, Business Manager at Marner Primary School, London said:

“The move from our own system to RM Integris was seamless and happened virtually overnight, thanks to the support of RM Education and our local authority. The excellent training was also customised to our individual needs.”

One of the most important aspects of Integris is its capability to create personalised spaces. Individual profile pages can be created for each and every student in the school, and these can be used to track learning progress, grades, behaviour incidents, attendance and a host of other contextual data related to the individual.

Paul Bowlas, Head Teacher at Holy Trinity Church of England Junior School, in Ripon said:

“We were looking for a solution that provided all the information in one place and we found that the way Integris allows you to search and view pupils, particularly the summary page, did just that. We wanted a system that we could populate with our current assessment plans and would link into the contextual details used across the school, so we could at any point, really easily and very quickly, see what was happening with any pupil.” 

Although much of this is useful mainly for administrative purposes, there are several elements that can be applied directly to the support of the individual. There will be more on this in the next post in this series where we explore student summary pages on Integris, and the benefits for teaching and learning.

Next time: What students need

NB: The French phrase mise en place can be translated as ‘putting everything into place.’ This post is sponsored by RM Education

Creative Commons License
MIS en place by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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