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MIS Systems Thread, New to MIS systems in Technical; Hi all, I am looking around at MIS systems for our school, just to see if it will be of ...
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    New to MIS systems

    Hi all, I am looking around at MIS systems for our school, just to see if it will be of any benefit to us. It is a small school of around 80 pupils, runs mostly on Saturdays and some week nights. We have students ranging from 4-5 up to 17. We are also an examination centre for GCSE, AS and A levels and feed into Pearson/EdExcel.

    We currently manage with Cloud hosting our files and using Excel, Word or Access files to manage pupils. I'd like to modernise our approach to this stuff a little more.

    I been in contact with ScholarPack, but got brushed off a little, I have also seen these guys. Does any one have any experience with them?
    Schoolbacs: Plus! for Schools - Overview

    Do MIS systems come with the ability to email or text parents? Currently we have separate SMS and email accounts.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.

    You have probably asked the most contentious and interesting question possible! But we'll see if we can help you.

    Firstly, I'l like to invite @scholarpack to respond to you comment, that doesn't sound like them at all (no offence to you at all, I have just spoken with them a good few times). Scholarpack does focus specifically on Primary schools so your secondary age needs may be what makes their response a little more considered.

    Allow me to direct you to some other conversations on this forum that may help you decide on what/who to look at. There are currently 13 suppliers out there to choose from all having different capabilities and specialities, but all do the basics:

    The MIS Challenge & Market Analysis

    And somewhat older, and slightly off topic, but useful still:

    Something to keep an eye on from DfE

    My advice would be to identify what the key things your school needs, as many as you can, and then ask suppliers. This was the basis of the MIS Challange and if you came back in a couple of weeks (I hope!) then the suppliers will have responded and you could freely see what their software can do. I am about to publish the survey questions on the website hosting the MIS Challenge, free for all to use how they wish, you may find it useful in knowing what questions to ask...


    And above all, ask questions, ask us all questions. There is a wealth of resources on here in the form of people, but just be aware you will get a lot of personal opinion!

  3. Thanks to GREED from:

    vikpaw (3rd April 2014)

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    Thank you for the response Graham.

    When I say brushed off a little, let me clarify a little more, they had concerns over our Secondary school requirements and thought our needs would not be met with their system. I would say that we are not truly a secondary school, as we cater from pre-school up to sixth form ages and this was more about managing the school more efficiently. Anyway, not a problem.

    I'll have a look at those links and the survey. Many thanks.

    Having had a quick look at the survey, it looks as though Plus! For Schools in not on the list, granted the survey is not fully representative of all schools.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Plus! for Schools is new to me, and probably many on here. So they have not been included, however should they interact on here or wish to take part they would be welcome to, more the merrier!

    Confused as to what you mean by not fully representative of all school. The suppliers represent all the known players in the MIS world in the UK, Primary and Secondary, state and independent sectors.

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    The reason I said was because of this line in the MarketResearch site

    Note too that this shows just over 20,000 schools taken from the Census returns, and so may not be a true reflection on supplier market share

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Indeed. That is the market analysis of what suppliers have what market share, numbers of customers etc. Connected to the survey, but the survey itself is separate and are responses directly from all the major suppliers that are know to the market. If nothing else, it is a good starting point for you!

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    @spanakop - nice to have you here, not least because i'm a big spanakopita fan

    So @scholarpack told you that they weren't the best guys to manage your needs. - For that i love them more, and applaud them.

    I don't know much about Plus! but vaguely recall seeing a similar site not too long ago with similar information on it. I think they've got a great wealth of info there and it's really refreshing to see tools to help you make a decision and a money back guarantee.

    Most of all i like this section -> Questions you should ask before choosing a new MIS system :
    ...
    Community support websites such as MIS Systems are a good source of inside knowledge on the sort of problems you might face. However, do bear in mind that some people's mountains are other people's mole hills.
    That's flippin' fantastic

    I second what @GREED has said in terms of looking around and looking at the list, not to mention the other suppliers you know of. Your school does have a rather unique set up and so the product and the cost could be a big issue.

    There are definitely many many pros to taking on board a decent MIS - most modern web based ones will come with a built in function to email - however this may rely upon you having your own email / Exchange server. So it's worth finding out if they will support whatever your current system is, it could be Outlook 365 / Gmail and that would be really useful . Both will allow you as an official school to have a free account.

    I don't know of any MIS that do SMS, but most will link to a system that does, but this may add quite some cost to your solution. There are a number of independent suppliers that do this and will link to the MIS. For such small numbers as yours - you should speak to our forum sponsors @Schoolcomms because it is possible to use their system with a manually exported file, which for your size is actually viable. Otherwise it would be worth checking which methods your chosen MIS supports.

    Even if an MIS works out not to suit your needs, perhaps using tools like O365 could benefit you, and improve your current set up.

    Keep looking around, check the other threads we have here and please do report back on how you get on. We'll try to help.
    Last edited by vikpaw; 3rd April 2014 at 02:10 PM.

  9. 2 Thanks to vikpaw:

    GREED (3rd April 2014), Schoolcomms (17th April 2014)

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    ISAMS do SMS.

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    vikpaw (3rd April 2014)

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DPrince View Post
    ISAMS do SMS.
    ah yes - stance corrected. cheers

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    Apologies if we sounded short on email. We simply will not fit your requirements for secondary (especially around exams) as we are heavily concentrating on primaries only for the forseeable future.

  14. 3 Thanks to scholarpack:

    GREED (3rd April 2014), matt40k (3rd April 2014), vikpaw (3rd April 2014)

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    I think that's good. No point wasting time, either you do or you don't. I hope we get more of that in @GREED #MISChallenge

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    @scholarpack, thanks for getting back to me. Not a problem, it was just an inquiry.
    @vikpaw, yes we do have a unique school here, it supports a small-ish Greek community in Birmingham, hence the weekend schooling mostly. And yes costs will play a very big part in all of this.

    We do already have an account with a SMS system which works well and an email account that we use, it would be nice to have a single system that can do everything we want in one place.

    Thanks for the help guys.

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    Interesting. Are you officially recognised as a school? how many staff do you have?
    If you qualify for Office 365 for education that would be really useful.

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    Well we are an official examination centre for GCSE, AS and A levels. Not sure if we are officially recognised by the UK government as a school. We are an independent, self funded school attached to our church, teaching the Greek language and culture to anyone who wants to learn it (we've been running our school since 1961). We don't offer a full curriculum, the children still go to their regular schools during the week. We have nine teachers in total.

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    @vikpaw, thank you for mentioning us and your 'flippin fantastic' comment made me smile.

    For those that don't know us, our website has a 'MIS evaluation tools' and a 'Buyer's Check List' to help decide which MIS is best for your needs. Choosing an MIS system is probably the biggest IT buying decision a school will make and so we thought that trying to help schools make a good decision would be very welcome. It's a shame that we come across so many schools where the chosen solution falls short of the expectations set in the sales cycle but they are then tied into long term financial commitments.

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