/ Rory Haynes
Meopham School is an outstanding secondary provider and part of Swale Academies Trust, a 19-school MAT across Kent and East Sussex.
With 1000 students on roll, their ethos is to cultivate academic excellence while providing a supportive and inspiring environment throughout.
Bromcom have provided their market-leading MIS solution to Meopham for over two years, and we sat down with Samantha Warren, Data Officer and Raising Standards KS5 Leader, to understand the benefits their MIS has had on staff, students, and parents alike.
I’ve only been at Meopham School for the last six months so. However, I have worked in a variety of different schools as a Data Manager over the last 20 years, so I’m very well-versed across a selection of MIS providers.
My previous school actually adopted Bromcom as their provider about five or six years ago. I’ve seen first-hand how the product has developed and what it is capable of. Meopham introduced Bromcom during the pandemic and has slowly implemented more and more of Bromcom’s functionality into their day-to-day processes.
Although I didn’t go through the change management exercise at Meopham, I know that the migration to Bromcom at my previous school was smooth and that customer services were incredibly responsive throughout. It sounds like that was replicated here, too.
Bromcom helps us conduct tasks efficiently.
At SLT level, marksheets are one of the immediate standouts. They can now distribute one consistent template to as many classes as they like. With our previous system, there had to be one marksheet for every subject across each class, this was time-consuming and involved lots of duplication. The automation with Bromcom frees up more time to complete other duties.
Added to marksheets are the Quick or AdHoc Reports. When SLT need to drill down to specific information, there’s no need to generate a large document or trawl through lots of data, key metrics can be identified immediately, speeding up the general decision-making abilities at the top level.
Behaviour alerts are a real win for SLT. I can schedule reports that detail serious incidents on a daily or weekly basis and these are automatically forwarded to our team of senior leaders, who can take action right away. Informing dialogue with students and their parents is far easier, meaning that solutions can be found before real problems emerge.
Overall, our senior leaders have a complete view of behaviour and attendance with the Bromcom dashboards. Anomalies are clear to see, trends are easy to track, and interventions can be conducted with confidence.
In the classroom, I know teachers really enjoy the Bromcom registers. When they select their class, all the information about their students is right there in front of them. Whether it’s PPA, PPG, HPA or SEN, all the acronyms are there, and they are often chasing me if anything needs updating! These flags are easy to assess, and it means they know who may need additional support or stretch tasks in every lesson.
The advantages of Bromcom’s marksheets aren’t just reserved for SLT, either. We’ve developed a marksheet strategy for teachers who can now go in and see recommendations for student engagement from the pastoral team, SEN team, and more. If a child moves class this information is automatically updated, meaning all teachers are given the tips and tools to support the success of every individual.
Additionally, the seating plan option in Bromcom is a real win. Teachers find it easy to configure and can sit their students in a way that is conducive to learning.
One of the reasons all of this information is so easy to decipher is due to the Bromcom layout. It is an incredibly visual product which really makes it different to other solutions. I feel you can navigate through the software more effectively with colourful indicators clearly marking required information or directing you to the place you need to go.
Having used other MIS’s during my career, I’ve often been met with applications that are just in greyscale. In reality, that can frighten a lot of people off! This colourless, spreadsheet-style approach is associated with daunting data tasks. Bromcom is quite the opposite and is a far more appealing place to complete work.
I really like MCAS and have played an active role in getting our parents to use the platform, whilst also getting students familiar with the Bromcom portal.
As with many things, there can be resistance to change, and it was difficult to find traction in the early days. Now though, parents and students alike are beginning to see the benefits of this digital communication.
We use MCAS in numerous different ways. First and foremost, we no longer need to spend money on paper reports, with all important documents now being shared via push notifications. Parents no longer have to trawl through email threads, the information is right there in front of them.
The administration team also set templates for SMS messages and letters with Bromcom. It’s simply a case of picking which stakeholders this information needs to be distributed to and, with a click of a button, it’s done. Communicating with home was possible before, but now the speed and accuracy of messaging is so much better.
The student portal and MCAS encourage dialogue across the community. As an example, I had a student come to me who was having difficulty accessing their exam timetable (we’ve placed all of this information on Bromcom too).
It was a quick fix and as soon as she gained access her immediate response was ‘oh my god is that my attendance?’
I thought that was a really powerful moment. Clearly, this student thought that a couple of days off here and there wouldn’t be enough to affect her education, the numbers suggested otherwise.
For the first time in my career, I was asked to complete the School Census. This was a really daunting prospect, because the information has to be completely accurate, and it ultimately affects school funding for the rest of the year. Fortunately, Bromcom really supported me from start to finish.
The free webinars were really helpful and, coupled with the guides which explained error codes and resolutions, I felt I had all the tools to complete the process.
From a technical perspective, exporting information into an Excel spreadsheet was straightforward and the system helps you by ticking off parts as you go. Bromcom offers a sturdy foundation for Census and at every step, it seemed logical and clear with how to proceed, up to and including completion.
On top of this, the Bromcom Community was and continues to be a real source of useful information. Other people in the same position are proactive in commenting and coming up with responses which help the entire user base. You can bounce ideas around and just look for a little more context to a particular issue you may be having.
As a ‘Census First-Timer’ I was really nervous, but Bromcom helped to alleviate any pressure I was feeling.
Yes, I would.
Bromcom has come a really long way. When I first took the product on there was certainly room for development and this has certainly occurred. Bromcom continues to grow and there have been some lovely quality-of-life improvements introduced to the system.
I love the Bromcom Community idea and the support chat is really good. When you ring up the advice and guidance is so much better than with any previous system I have interacted with.
I see some of the people on forums discussing their move to Bromcom and the natural hesitations they have with changing MIS, I always post and reassure them the MIS is great, the team are great, and you’ll be absolutely fine!