/ Rory Haynes
West Hoathly Church of England Primary School, part of the West Sussex County Council, moved to Bromcom’s cloud-based MIS & Finance solution in 2022. Their school, along with over 200 other providers within the Local Authority, moved MIS providers as part of a landmark procurement agreement.
Our Customer Service Team sat down with School Business Manager, Tina Allen, to understand how the migration phase had gone and the early benefits they have experienced with their new system.
West Hoathly is a small school, and our Office team consists of myself and two receptionists. With just 134 pupils and 23 staff, we’re not as big as many of the schools in the neighbouring area.
The two receptionists and I were the first lines of contact with Bromcom. We supported the integration from the off and interacted with the system from day one. As we volunteered for the WSCC pilot scheme, we were responsible for operating SIMS and Bromcom simultaneously. Although, at this point in time, Bromcom was not live.
We officially made the move to the Bromcom MIS on April 1st 2022. In general, despite some small fixes, this transition was smooth, and any discrepancies were ironed out quickly.
Our team use Bromcom all the time. All of our attendance tracking is conducted within the MIS. All the teachers are using the product and so are SLT.
The usage of Bromcom extends to our community too. We rolled out MyChildAtSchool (MCAS) in the first week of September. Seven days later, the significant majority of families had signed up. This whole process was seamless and meant we could start communicating home, via Bromcom, instantly.
MCAS has gone from strength to strength. We have now launched our breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, parent’s evenings and have received our first series of payments all via the app. This entire process eradicates the need for third-party providers. We have now seen our first cost saving as we have not renewed the contract for a previous supplier.
We’ve definitely already experienced benefits with Bromcom. This kind of migration would take any school a period of adjustment but there are some elements that are already better than our previous systems.
Teachers have commented on how user-friendly the Bromcom registers are. They are now able to access crucial student information with ease.
In reality, due to the speed of the migration, we weren’t able to offer a great deal of training to staff. However, it seems that everyone has got to grips with Bromcom really quickly and are able to conduct their day-to-day tasks as before.
It’s still early stages and there are advantages to explore. Most of our staff have been established SIMS users for a number of years and inevitably they have developed practices which work for them. With any kind of big software move, you have to relinquish a bit of control which can be difficult but we can already see that Bromcom speeds up some of our tasks and expedites the transfer of data.
With every day we’re growing in confidence, and it is becoming more familiar by the hour. We knew how to operate our previous system, but it was clunky and slow, this is not the case with Bromcom.
As part of this enormous migration across West Sussex, we have meetings to discuss how the transition to Bromcom is going. Naturally, it will take more time for some schools to become established with the product than others, but the overwhelming feeling is one of positivity.
One secondary school headteacher, who was part of a 15-strong heads meet, said of the Bromcom system that the attendance and behaviour dashboards were far superior and the support on offer was better than with the previous system.
This optimism is shared by many throughout the community.
Personally, I just love the home page. It instantly tells me which teachers have completed their registers, which students are present, and if there are any outstanding issues that need to be addressed.
I love the birthday widget too. It’s such a lovely adage and you can see whose special day it is at any given time.
From a finance perspective, the ‘invoice all functionality’ is a big win from Bromcom. With SIMS you would have to delve into each line of the invoice to authorise and this could take ages. This simple feature saves me lots of time and allows me to focus on other work.
Overall, we’re happy with our start with Bromcom and are looking forward to testing its capabilities in the future.