/ Bromcom Customer Care Team
CrossReach have been at the forefront of high quality social care for the last 150 years. Their pioneering services have helped to enhance the lives of thousands of people across all age groups. As of today, they represent one of the largest care providers in Scotland and continue to grow.
Erskine Waterfront Campus provide an enriched learning experience for children and young adults from the ages of 8-18 with Additional Support Needs. Their timetables and educational programmes are centred on the needs of the pupils and the curriculums are highly personalised based on the principles and aims of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). Class sizes are small with a maximum capacity of six and pupils experience a mix of subject-based learning and inter-disciplinary learning based on their individual needs and preferences.
We sat down with Head of Education at Erskine Waterfront Campus, Kyle Fleming, and School Administrator, Liz Pye, to discuss how Bromcom’s solutions have been tailored to accommodate their unique needs and the difference Bromcom has made in the day-to-day life of both staff and students alike.
At Erskine, we provide a highly individualised approach to education. Our children have had a unique learning journey, to date, and require consistent levels of targeted support. For many of our pupils, they have yet to discover success within an educational environment. We are here to try and change that.
With such a small cohort, we have worked with Bromcom and Roger Lewis in particular to design a system that is tailor-made for our group of students. We do not work in the conventional September to July cycle and so, with children joining at any point during the year, we have developed an arrangement which works for our 2021/22 year group.
The main reason behind one 2021/22 cohort, aside from the small number of pupils, is so we can track pupils more effectively throughout their time with us. It has allowed us to formalise reporting procedures and assessments and this has been hugely beneficial when responding to stakeholders interested in our development.
It’s important to say that Roger has helped with several iterations of year group modelling in recent years. It hasn’t been a case of just making and putting up with one, we have now created a solution, collaboratively, which is a perfect fit for us.
Accommodating Unique Demands
Everything is tailor-made and that’s what we really like about Bromcom’s offering. We’ve been able to adopt the thought process, ‘we need this, how can Bromcom support us in achieving this?’ This is opposed to picking up an off-the-shelf solution which we would have had to adapt with.
At every stage of our journey, we’ve explored different solutions and asked Bromcom how we can make it happen, that has been a really great service.
I think one thing which may go overlooked is that even though we are small, unique and independent, we are by no means alone. A number of other schools are working with a hidden population of children who do not necessarily show up in the mainstream school setting or within mainstream school information systems. It’s great to have a platform which caters to our needs. Not only do we like the look of it, Bromcom’s MIS has also allowed us to get to where we want and need to be.
A piece of work we’re doing at the moment which is largely unique to our circumstances, is mapping the Scottish curriculum with another Scottish framework called Skills for Learning, Life and Work. We will work with Bromcom to ensure this is done appropriately so we can both process the findings and report on them. If we do this right, we could feasibly be ahead of other schools having to undertake the same task.
From the very beginning with Bromcom, they have journeyed alongside us. The team assisted with timetabling functionality, highlighting quick wins but also making recommendations based on our specifications. This was really great when establishing a firm footing with the software.
As a matter of fact, we didn’t have an MIS before we partnered with Bromcom. All of our work was done with Microsoft Office products and we simply had to work with what they offered. Originally, this sufficed, however with reporting procedures, regulators and inspectors needing to know how we were progressing, we needed a system which could allow us to do this. In reality, we were ready to fly and Bromcom have been able to help us do this and make information work for us.
Really, its everything about the day-to-day that we love about Bromcom. Throughout COVID, Bromcom has been great for documenting staff attendance. Whether someone is self-isolating, how long they have been self-isolating for, if they’ve had a PCR test, we could access all this information readily.
One area which I’m sure many of your schools do not do but has been a fantastic function for us is the monitoring of pocket money. All of our day children get pocket money, with some choosing to spend it right away and others deciding to collect and save. I am inundated with requests about how much pocket money each student has and with Bromcom, all the information is there in front of me under the child’s name. With previous systems it would have been recorded on an Excel which had to be manually edited, this live view gives me visibility on what the children are spending their money on.
Reporting has been another win we have experienced with Bromcom. It has massively helped from a management overview perspective. In previous inspections, I had been gently nudged to go towards a system where I had reports readily available and I am now in a position where I have crucial information on a whole different range of criteria, at my fingertips. Along with the typical assessment and attendance reports, there have been unexpected advantages which I did not for envisage. For example, we have recently been talking about the newly implemented Natasha’s Law and allergies amongst the pupils. These reports have helped to inform catering budget requirements and are also a good foundation to discuss choice with students and their awareness when looking after themselves outside school. Being more organised with Bromcom has seen benefits I never expected.
Reporting also extends to our community. Having moved campuses, we are now working with corporate parents alongside pupil’s parents in their own homes. Vulnerable children can often come from vulnerable households and so we do our best to support them in whatever way possible. MyChildAtSchool is fantastically helpful in this endeavour. Be it group emails or text messages, this functionality means everyone is in the loop with what’s going on. It is the entitlement of all children, including vulnerable learners, to have the ability to experience day school and all of the services that Bromcom provide are helping us to become an increasingly modern school.
Bromcom really has been a game changer for us and the way we operate on a day-to-day basis.
There are a lot of schools, particularly small schools, who are out there looking for a new system and we’re highlighting the fact that files and folders don’t have to be the way forward. With Bromcom, we have been able to progress in a way which was not possible before.