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MIS Systems Thread, Nova T6 and timetabling. Who does yours? in Technical; I'm a Network Manager part time in a KS3 special school with circa 70 students. We are moving to timetabling ...
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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Nova T6 and timetabling. Who does yours?

    I'm a Network Manager part time in a KS3 special school with circa 70 students. We are moving to timetabling with SIMS T6. There is talk that I might be the member of staff picking up the task with extra hours.

    I'm rather undecided to say the least. What is the opinion amongst you good folk please?

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    skunk's Avatar
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    The deputy head does it here. But we are a large-ish secondary school with near on 100 teaching staff.

    The issues arrise not because the software is bad (it's quite good), but the negotiating with departments and individuals and trying fit everyone's requests into a timetable.

    I have been mooted on occasion as a successor, but kept my head down and tried to avoid the job.

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    speckytecky (8th November 2012)

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    MIS Officer here with help from the Deputy Head although I sit in on some of the discussiions as I line Manage th MIS officer and as skunk has said seems more issues with trying to fit everyones requirements in trying to sort staff PPA etc.

    I have sort of looked at it myself a couple of times but to be honest doesn't really interest me so have avoided getting to involved.

    I also think it helps if your Maths are quite good as regards working out teaching hours per subject, department and allocating staff effectively whilst still keeping costs under control always remembering that Staff are one of the greatests costs in any company or school.

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    speckytecky (8th November 2012)

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    We gave one of our Maths teachers a TLR to carry out the task of our timetabler after our last one retired. This person is line managed by the assistant head responsible for curriculum. I will support them with any issues / error messages etc, but day to day creation of the timetable is as said.

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    speckytecky (8th November 2012)

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    We have an assistant head doing it here. Previously it was a deputy head.

    And yeah - Nova T6 isn't terrible provided you RTFM (and then the relevant KB/"Preparing for new Academic Year" docs). It's the horse-trading and "Johnny would like to study bizarre combination of A-Levels, can we fit that into the timetable?" that make it painful.

    I can do it, but avoid it completely until they've really shot themselves in the foot.

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    speckytecky (9th November 2012)

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    nickbro's Avatar
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    my school are going to be giving me complete control of Nova and timetabling for next year now, which is just awesome /s. It does mean a pay rise though.

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    speckytecky (9th November 2012)

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    In a previous school it was an Assistant Head. Here it's the Deputy Heads for Upper School and Primary Schools. The Upper School puts it in to Nova. I put in the Excel sheet Primary produces into Nova. It's not that bad, but needs some fiddling to make it fit, but they only use it to enable reports rather than for using the timetable function.

    I try to mimic the swimming and arabic timetables as best as possible and it worked okay until Upper School decided to move to a two-week timetable with double length periods!

    I wouldn't say it's an intuitive program to learn, it has some strange methods and key combos to get it to work and i still forget the odd thing and have to get my head around how to do it, but it's not all that bad.

    If you're a logical thinker, mathematician or problem solver (hopefully all 3 as an IT tech) then you'll be fine. Certainly if it's only 70 students. Problems will arise with the annomalies in the timetable, e.g. you have a class, but for the first half of the week they split into two and another teacher takes them, or the groups rotate but not on fridays, etc.

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    speckytecky (9th November 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by speckytecky View Post
    We are moving to timetabling with SIMS T6. There is talk that I might be the member of staff picking up the task with extra hours.
    Why? Because it is on a computer therefore the responsibility of the Network Manager? Nova T6 should be used by whoever currently does the timetabling by whatever other method they currently do it.

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    speckytecky (9th November 2012)

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    Hi, looks to me you will get a different answer from everyone as all schools are different. Here we have an assistant head who creates the timetable in NT6. I am the SIMS and Data manager and I decide when it is transferred to SQL and supervise/control everything from then on. I do tidy(correct!!) the NT6 data, eg course levels, period times, synchronising staff data and rooms with SIMS etc and also tinker with the alternative curriculum. All major changes are made by the assistant head.

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    speckytecky (9th November 2012)

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the extremely useful answers folks. In particular I found sentiment with your recent post @enjay

    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Why? Because it is on a computer therefore the responsibility of the Network Manager? Nova T6 should be used by whoever currently does the timetabling by whatever other method they currently do it.

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    I do the timetabling here but I always work with a member of Senior Leadership - in the past a Deputy Head, currently an Assistant Head.

    The key thing about timetabling in a school is that it is partly about policy, partly about the technical detail of sheduling the timetable, but significantly its about politics.
    You cannot do a timetable in all but the most straightforward circumstances without upsetting someone or persuading someone to do something they don't want to do.

    I've worked in schools for long enough for that not to bother me much, but if you are involved primarily because you are the technical person who is going to drive the
    software you need a senior member of staff on board with you to deal with the political heavy lifting. If those asking you to do it think that it is essentially a data processing job
    they are totally missing the point.

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    This is definately an SLT job. Whilst that person might need some technical assistance this job is all about policy.

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