School Reporting Suite

Saving Teachers Time

Month: February 2016

The Languages of British Schools


The UK school system is huge, with more than 8 million school pupils across 24,000 schools.

These schools cut across all different elements of society, and incorporates the diverse cultural backgrounds from which these children come. It is this diversity that means that there are more than a million children in UK schools that speak 311 different languages and dialects.

This creates a language challenge within the education system. Depending on the demographics of different areas, this can be either a small challenge or a huge one.

In some schools English may not be the first language of a majority of pupils. This fact means that the education system has to be adaptive to the needs of schools in different areas.

Official statistics reveal there are classrooms in which the majority language is not English, but is Polish, Bengali, Somali, Gujarati, Arabic, Tamil and the Afghan language Pashto.

Overcoming this challenge is one that requires identifying the right needs and assigning the right resources quickly and efficiently to where they are needed.

Teaching In Languages Other Than English

Another language factor can be when the administration or reporting of the school is carried out in more than one language. This can be a factor for faith schools, where the core language used in the religion is not English.

These languages can be in different alphabets, and formatted in a different way to English. This creates a challenge to administration; tracking and reporting may be required in multiple languages, particularly if parents do not speak English as a first language.

This is something we have experience in facilitating through our School Reporting System. We have designed our system with language and curriculum needs of different school systems in mind.

This allows our software to be produced in a number of different languages; this flexibility has proven hugely beneficial when working with faith schools.

Government Analysis Of The Teacher Workload Challenge


In 2014 the government commissioned a “Teacher Workload Survey” to identify the workload challenges being faced by teachers.

The Workload Challenge consultation ran between 22 October and 21 November 2014. It was an online survey that was advertised on the Times Educational Supplement (TES) website, and also disseminated via the Department for Education and union websites, newsletters, and social media.

The scope of the survey was for teachers to provide their feedback on what they perceived to be the ‘unnecessary and unproductive’ tasks that they were required to carry out.”

The survey was centred on three open ended questions relating to:

  • Unnecessary and unproductive tasks and where they come from
  • Solutions and strategies within schools for tackling workload and what works well
  • What the government could do to tackle unnecessary workload.

The survey got more than 40,000 responses, and it provides interesting insights into the challenges faced by teachers.

It uncovered that as well as tasks that were unnecessary or unproductive, among those that were necessary the level of detail, duplication or bureaucracy could have a negative impact on teacher workload.

Although not every response was fully reported due to the number of responses and the style of the survey, a number of different factors affecting workload were identified amongst the results analysed:

  • The volume of work compared to the time available (particularly for marking)
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Long or irrelevant meetings
  • Too many sources of information to manage/monitor
  • Lack of ICT training or equipment
  • Lack of clarity

The most frequently mentioned tasks contributing to unnecessary and unproductive workload fitted within the category of lesson planning and policies, assessment and reporting administration (82% of respondents mentioned tasks which fitted into this category).

This shows that any steps made to make these processes more efficient can have a positive impact upon teacher workloads.

Reducing Teacher Workloads Using Technology


In the modern education environment formal assessments, paperwork, and marking are an increasingly large part of the teaching workload.

The government has identified three of the biggest areas that lead to unnecessary workload:

  1. Marking
  2. Planning
  3. Data Management

In 2014 the UK government launched the “workload challenge”, designed to ask teachers on their views on how to reduce unnecessary workload. It found that:

  • excessive levels of recording detail made tasks burdensome
  • Duplication adds to the workload burden
  • Bureaucracy was a challenge

With teachers already working long hours and having to adapt to a continuously changing education landscape, any ways of reducing this burden can have a significant impact on morale and results, by giving teachers more time to focus on teaching.

Providing the right tools are used, and that they are implemented with the right strategy, technology can have a significant part to play in reducing the administrative load involved with teaching.

With a need for more visibility and accurate information in real time, schools are looking at how technology can help minimise unnecessary workload.

Technology & The Teacher Workload Challenge

IT software can help overcome this obstacle. Workloads can be reduced by making pupil data easier to record, analyse, and report.

Tellingly, the most frequently mentioned tasks contributing to unnecessary and unproductive workload in the teacher workload challenge survey fitted within the category of lesson planning and policies, assessment and reporting administration (82% of respondents mentioned tasks which fitted into this category).

Implementing simple to use systems can tackle two of the three biggest areas of unnecessary workload. Simpler ways of recording pupil assessments save time in marking. Whilst real time, accurate and tailored reporting mean that data can be managed and reported to senior management and parents in a professional and efficient way.

This challenge was the reason that we developed the School Reporting Suite, pupil assessment; tracking and reporting is essential to give teachers, senior management and parents visibility over pupil progress.

Should Your School Head For The Cloud?


The transition to cloud based technology is going to be one of the key technology trends of the next decade. We can already see the practical applications of cloud technologies in every area of our lives, from the way we access our emails, how we buy things and how we play games.

The implementation of cloud technology is going to affect teaching in a number of ways; from use in the teaching environment as a way of accessing software, to teaching topics, it is here to stay.

Cloud technology is going to be a major factor in the way software is implemented and managed within the school’s IT infrastructure.

What Is Cloud Technology?

Cloud computing is a way of storing and accessing data and software programs over the internet, instead of directly from your computer or school drive.

The Advantages For Schools Of Cloud Computing

Therefore, instead of having to install software onto every school computer, it can simply be made available online for anyone that needs it. This makes the software accessible anywhere, even via other devices using mobile apps.

Cloud technology moves the investment in school software from an operational capital expenditure to buy the hardware, to an operational expenditure.

This decreases the cost of buying and using new software, reducing the start up cost and instead offering a subscription. These services are typically tailored to suit the needs of the school that will pay for only what is needed, rather than having to guess what is needed at the time of purchase.

The Cloud and School Reporting

The implementation of cloud technology in schools is something we have experienced via our School Reporting Suite. Our assessment, tracking, and reporting software is cloud based, allowing teachers to access our system and our reports in real time.

The cloud based aspect also means that once the system has been set up and configured, updates can be made from our end without the need to maintain on-site management expertise of our software, or having to pay for lots of call outs.