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Guest Blog: Data with the X Factor? Let’s talk about Vision X

Guest Blog: Data with the X Factor? Let’s talk about Vision X

/ Pete Atherton

What were you doing during lockdown?

Many of us were somehow getting through it all – working from home or being furloughed, doing Joe Wicks workouts, eating more biscuits. How many of us did something truly innovative?

In the world of management information systems (MIS), it’s always time to innovate, especially during a crisis.

In this post, I’ll tell you all about Vision-X. Rolled out during lockdown, Vision X addressed several key questions in data management in education:

  • How can we make it easier to fetch information, then report upon it?
  • How can they be sure this data is easy to access?
  • How can we incorporate reliable data on Covid?
  • How can data be more up to date?
  • How can a large Multi Academy Trust (MAT) have all their data in one place?
  • How can they avoid wasting money while they await a solution?
  • How can everyone access all of the information from any device?
  • How can we ditch manual data inputting to free staff up to analyse and act on the data?

One Vision

I don’t just create puns from Queen songs for any old reason. The point of Vision-X is for all school or MAT data to be visible and accessible under one roof. If that sounds easier said than done, it is but I will help break it down for you.

Vision-X creates a central source of information about a MAT. This single dataset aggregates potentially unwieldy information. If an institution uses systems like SIMS or, Bromcom these can all be connected and managed within Vision X. From a large dataset, the suite of analytics helps you drill down into individual records. Examples of these are: demographics, assessment, staff absence, student records and attendance.

Whose data does Vison-X aggregate?

Vision-X brings together data from the following MIS:

  • Bromcom
  • SIMS
  • Arbor
  • iSAMS
  • RM Integris and
  • Scholarpack

How does it work?

I was just coming to that. Data is automatically transferred from your MIS into Vision-X. It’s collated into one big dataset so you can compare schools, analyse overall figures or get a breakdown of groups of schools. As Vision-X is cloud-based and device-agnostic, all this data can be accessed and managed from any device.

Furthermore, there’s a direct link to Power BI along with a built-in viewer within the Vision-X interface. That means that users can log into Vision-X and view bespoke Power BI dashboards that can be designed by your Trust.

Hold on, what’s Power B.I?

Some people….

OK, Power BI is a popular reporting and dashboard tool created by Microsoft. Think of it as Excel charts on steroids. It is designed to turn large amounts of data into useable information, through interactive charts and visuals.

Who doesn’t love an infographic these days?

Normally, it’s a little tricky to get data into Power BI and then share the results with your team. To address this, Bromcom has created an integrated viewer and live data feed from Vision -X to do all the time-consuming tasks. That leaves you to get on with the more enjoyable task of deciding what metrics you’d like to see on your dashboard and how to make good use of the information on a day to day basis.

What does this look like in practice?

Maybe you are, say, a valued member of the teaching staff and you are on a school trip. When you have tiny bit of downtime, you could input attendance, behaviour or assessment data from your phone or tablet. This will then be synchronised with Vison-X at a schedule of your choice – daily, weekly, even several times a day if need be. The end user (that’s you!) can access all the data based on their unique permissions.

Imagine that you are that hypothetical teacher and you now have returned from your trip. You can be confident that your efforts will be visible as part of the data for the entire MAT. This can then be analysed and predictions can be made based on rigorous evidence. Any issues can be identified as they happen.

One of these issues can be a series of patterns, such as downward trends in attendance in one school, a group of schools, a year group, a class or even just one pupil. It is also easy to make comparisons across a MAT. What’s more, the Governors can be given access to the information, safe in the knowledge that it has both currency and accuracy. That way, there will be no need for the governing body to create voluminous notes on paper, sometimes at the last minute.

Such top-level statistics are likely to help each institution learn from their colleagues’ successes and avoid mistakes. The main beneficiaries, of course, are the pupils and staff.

Covid dashboard

Importantly, if a little depressingly, there is a Covid live dashboard to see how Covid is affecting attendance. The attendance and other student data can be exported easily to Excel. Covid-related data, of course, needs to be current.

Quick summary

I did say earlier that one of the burning questions that is often posed in education is around how a school or MAT can avoid having to spend too much money. With that in mind, I’ll break down the costs involved.

Is Vision-X free?

Yes, for 3 years

And after that?

If you decide not to continue with Vision-X, there is no charge and you have basically enjoyed a 3 year free trial. If, as many have found, you can’t live without it, the costs are as follows (correct at the time of writing):

  • £3000 annual + 50p per pupil
  • A 10 school MAT with 500 pupils in each: £550 per school per year

How long does it take to set up?

Not long at all – it should be ready to use in 30 minutes. It is quick to set up.

As the judges might say on the X factor – 1000% yes?

If you are inspired to follow up on this post, you may wish to contact Bromcom via email

Pete Atherton

Pete Atherton

Pete Atherton is a Lecturer in Education at the Faculty of Education, Edge Hill University.