We always register the tutor groups during a firedrill, i'm convinced it's better to register the class you are currently with, as in theory there shouldn't be any unsupervised groups of students any where. all the same we use tutor groups.
We use Bromcom, and i like the fact that the system relies on the fact that during a drill, it assumes no technology is available. the PDAs used to take the register are great in that they store an offline cache of the tutor group or other selected firedrill group.
One of the downpoints is that as i encourage more users to use the laptop version of the software, Winfolder, the less likely they are to have it available during a drill. Although the head has decreed that laptops are expendable (!) and come rain or snow they must be taken out during a drill, in practise the teachers don't carry them around the building as they might the smaller and more portable PDAs.
As a backup, we frequently print out registration group lists in student reception. Usually every term or as and when significant changes are made. These are taken out during a drill. The desk is always manned and the lists are to hand. They also take out a handful of pens.
The lists are available for any tutur or cover supervisor to use if they don't have other means. There is no information regarding whether or not the students are in, but as mentioned in other posts, the assumption is that the student is in, they might not have made it to class yet, or may not have signed into the lates book etc. etc.
One other tip which we were given but don't use due to group changes, is to laminate the lists and use marker pens that can be wiped off after the drill.
In terms of the practicalities of the drill, the site team are first to respond and will evacuate the immediate vicinity, this should ensure no-one burns. The register taking is then just a way to inform the firebrigade about anyone that is missing. they could be anywhere on site, but in theory safe as the danger zone has been cleared.
In practise, we rarely find that someone is missing, but if they are, they hopefully shouldn't burn. i have done tests with simulated fire zones, and pulled students into my office during a drill, to see if they are missed and thankfully not many were killed off.
They do ignore them as a definitive list, they are only ever used to try and prioritise search routes. This does not mean that they are not vital in a school for other reasons. Schools have a duty of care (in loco parentis) where they should know the location and condition of each student in their care. The absence register is part of this.
At the end of the day the printer soultion is a very poor one especially if someone has to stay in the building for any length of time. Here are two solutions I have tried before.
1. The laptop solution, using an excel spreadsheet after the morning registration period ends, an admin assistant drops a report into excel, the spreadsheet setup to be able to filter between the classes easily. This can then be used for the registration. Does not take more than 5 mins.
Pros - Even if the server is burning then this will work, accurate and ready immediately.
Cons - Needs a laptop, needs excellent excel wizardry, needs an admin person to actually do it (and bring it out), there is only one copy so each class needs to be registered one by one.
2. PDA - For PE I have seen PDA's and Laptops used very successfully for registration. PE PDAs brought out and access MIS system to take registers.
Pros - Accurate. Normal Registration procedures.
Cons - Require wireless network and servers to still be working. Requires all teachers to be familar with PDA use. Only so many PDAs.
Obviously these are not perfect and to be blunt when teachers took paper registers and can just carry them out with them it was far more effective. However barring getting teachers to print out their form lists this is unlikley to happen. OMRs are obviously still effective.
Its just one of the challenges of the paperless office (school) but I have had some success with those listed above.
What we are looking at in bolton is using the automatic reporting routine found in sims .net folder, this is what third partys use to write to their products! So all you do is change this exe to run to printer twice a day, or if you wanted after every class!!!
As soon as we have done the full script for it I can post on here if anyone is interested?
Phil Neal: " I have heard from a lot of sources that the fire service ignore any lists and search the building anyway. "
I wonder what Health & Safety Executive would think of such comments coming from UK's largest software school software suppliers.
The routine of roll calling in fire drill has been established probably as long as paper registers come to being (30-40 years ago) and fo a good reason.
Any computerised system must not degrade the facility, if any improve on it. For instance Bromcom system automatically updates teachers' firedrill group to reflect latest attendnace list during the course of teh day. Now this is what you expect a new technology to do - improve over teh existing system.
GeorgeFaux: " Require wireless network and servers to still be working. "
Bromcom system (PDAs or laptops) do not rely on wireless connection when used for fire drill as client devices cache class lists.
The H&SE regularly review the working practice of the civilian Fire Service and have made no challenge about the working practice of not accepting paper or electronic lists as a definitive answer about who is on site or off site in public or commercial buildings. The only area that ha challenge was made, investigated and then withdrawn was in 1998 with the MOD Fire Inspection team stating that a similar practice in military guard rooms was not accurate enough to protect Soldiers Under Sentence or Soldiers Under Close Arrest. On investigation and when working with the Military Provost Staff who produce the regs for and inspect Guardrooms it was acknowledge that due to physical and visual checks on a regular basis this will always be more accurate that paper or electronic records when working with small numbers. Different rules apply to establishments that can house more that 14 soldiers.
It made for a very interesting week when we had MOD Fire Inspectors, H&SE, Civilian fire officials, MOD Police, Military Provost Staff assessors all trying to work in an office usually staffed by 2 people.
GrumbleDook: "The H&SE regularly review the working practice of the civilian Fire Service and have made no challenge about the working practice of not accepting paper or electronic lists as a definitive answer about who is on site or off site in public or commercial buildings. "
Hmm - interesting the way you put it "The H&SE ... not accepting paper or electronic lists as a definitive answer ". Why would they object to any double checking? Does H&SE says paper or electronic lists are superfluous?
The issue is as we all know that school/LA are responsible for safety & well being of children whilst at school premises and must do outmost for their safety. Due care must include safeguard and account for all children in case of fire. Yes, Fire Service in all cases "search the building anyway" [Phil Neal's point]. This can be only double checking and this would not remove the responsibility for a school/LA to account for the children through a fastest and accurate method.
As a parent I would demand that a school at least can get this right as a dependable procedure. In a real fire, I wouldn't want to be a head who can't account for the children and worried parents looking into my eyes asking difficult questions.
As a school we are responsible for identifying where students are under our duty of care.
In the event of a fire we must, first and foremost, identify that all students who should be present are accounted for. Whilst lesson by lesson electronic registration might be seen to be a perfect answer for this it is still not infallible. Paper versions have shown to be at fault too. The attitude of the Fire Service and H&SE is that if there is a risk then it is to be investigated, but that records of any sort should not be taken at face value.
In reality they are used to inform but it is the judgment of the Leading Firefighter, Sub Officer or Station Officer to make the call whether documents are accurate enough to be trusted. From my experience (and obviously from Phil's) the general attitude is that the volatile environment of a school makes it nearly impossible to track a missing student without a room by room check. In large institutes with multiple buildings this is very relevant. We are presently investigating electronic registration ourselves and I have concerns that the procedures in schools rely too much on electronic data rather than simple, tried and tested solutions of things like physical head counts and checking by tutors, nominate safety officers being aware of checking procedures on leaving a building, and a few other things.
Finally ... I really should just bite the bullet and go and request the H&SE and Fire Service response to the question.