I was wondering if anyone knows of a software able to produce parent reports.
What we are looking for is the following:
It doesn't need to integrate with the MIS, if the input is a spreadsheet with the data, this is good enough
It is super-easy to use, ideally drag and drop
Ideally it would produce the output as a PDF with all the reports for the year group
You should be able to add pictures such as the school logo and charts.
We used to do an Excel "mail-merge", this is, I would have all the data in one tab, the report on another one pulling the details from the first row, and then with a macro it would print the report tab to a PDF printer, and move the next row up to the first row on the data tab. With Excel we had conditional formatting, fit to cell, and fit to page features that are very important when doing parent reports.
It used to work fine, but when it comes down to modify it, some of our users who have limited Excel experience were unable to do the amendments that they wanted. See the attached sample.
The reason why we have been doing this way is because we found that the reports that you can produce with the MIS (CMIS and SIMS in our case) are ... not up to our standard.
I have been looking for a parent report package, but I cannot find anything online.
I use sims assessment for all my student reports, if your willing to put the time in you can produce some pretty good stuff, I have done them in the past with attendance graphs and flight paths over time for each subject which included all their grades to date and their targets.
The only thing I can think of off the top of my head would be report builder, but if the problem you have is that the excel version isn't easy enough, it won't solve the issue as report builder is more complicated, if anything. It has some nice drag and drop features once the main body of data is built, and you can use excel or access as a datasource if you like, but sometimes the formatting is awkward to get your head around.
I'll have a word with the boss though to see if he knows of anything, though we produce an options booklet in a similar way using an access database so I guess if he knew of a product he'd be using it!
I'll shout back if I uncover anything.