How to Choose a School MIS

Just about every business or organisation these days possesses some kind of management information system (MIS). Any small business running a computer that is connected to the internet and is running software that can perform scheduling tasks, and billing and can cross-link to accounting software has a management information system.

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The scope of the management information system has changed considerably in recent times, as described in Inc.com’s encyclopaedic definition, so it’s important to choose one that is right for the type of organisation you run.

Management Information Systems for Schools

Features and functions to consider when choosing a school MIS should include, but not be limited to:

– Robust data management, transfer and standards so that information can be entered that manages assets and staff, supports pupils and teaching standards and meets the requirements of the Department for Education’s statutory data collection.

– Versatile, simple-to-use reporting so that users can pull the information they need quickly.

– Strong security, especially as the system will contain sensitive information about staff and pupils. A strong authentication system and restricted access roles are essential when choosing for a school.

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– Facilities management – the ability to book or hire out facilities within the school, integrating with a facilities online booking system such as the one available from https://www.ofec.co.uk/web-and-software-development-services/facilities-online-booking-system.aspx.

– Management of admissions, attendance, timetabling and assessments – essential for the smooth running of the school. Schools that manage their own admissions need a system that imports application data and keeps track of parents’ appeals. For attendance, whether recorded by lesson or at registration or whether it’s electronic or traditional, the software should be able to monitor for patterns and alert staff if attendance falls below acceptable levels. Timetabling should include time, place, staff allocations and any special-needs requirements, and assessment management should include predictions and analysis of student progress.

Support

One important consideration is the support needed when transitioning from one MIS to another. Ongoing user support is essential with any software, but for new users it is even more vital. Having to retrain staff who were previously expert in the old system can often form an obstacle to change, and this needs to be managed. This should be written into the supplier’s SLA, and adequate training and support plans need to be put in place to ensure a smooth transition.

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