/ Scott Biggs
Background: Over the last 30 years, Management Information Systems (MIS’s) have become instrumental in the management of school data to provide schools with the ability to access and use data to drive school improvement. With a recent change of focus from the UK government away from rigorous quantitative data reporting, we ask how do the MIS systems still play a vital role in the day to day management of the school setting and how can MIS systems still influence school improvement?
Purpose and sources of evidence: This discussion paper is designed to reflect on the areas where the Bromcom MIS system is able to support school improvement through the current functions that are on offer, whilst also showing areas where the system can be developed to ensure Bromcom shows agility to respond to the needs of the school setting.
Main Argument: Based on a review of literature from Ofstead, a review on the current MIS sandbox system, feedback from existing users and my own first-hand experience with the Bromcom MIS system, this discussion paper highlights the strengths of the current proposition and its impact as well as areas to be noted for future development including the suggestion for a new dedicated Leadership and Management module.
Conclusion: Bromcom has established systems and modules that can assist in the development of school improvement. It is important to note that there has been a clear move away from the focus of data driven tracking towards a focus on the far greater influence of teaching and learning and the school curriculum. To ensure clarity and efficiency the system has to consider how it can evolve in a way that can support in
the development of these areas to ensure a holistic approach to school improvement.
Every school makes use of management information systems (MIS) to collate, manage and interpret data. Telem (1999) defines management information for a school as “an executive information system planned to match the structure, management task, instructional process and particular needs of the school”. School management systems should be designed to increase effectiveness and efficiency by saving time and should be agile and adaptive to solve other advanced problems that may occur for the user. The focus of this report is to share insight from practitioners over how the Bromcom MIS is employed at present for school improvement purposes and consider areas of opportunity for how this can be improved as we look to the future. With this in mind, we begin by seeking to understand school improvement from the perspective of senior leaders and share some insight into the expectations set for each school.
Practitioners first and foremost work to ensure their processes and systems match the expectations of the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted). Ofsted have expectations of senior leaders in the decision over which MIS to opt for and require several key features to be included namely: data management; transfer and standards; reporting; support; data security; remote access; messaging; and alerts. Ofsted also suggest several additional functions should feature including: assessment management; admissions; attendance; timetable management; pupil options; school development planning; special educational needs; behaviour management; financial management; document management; library; and personnel management.
MIS systems today not only manage information but are innovating to ensure that staff interact more with the product and its potential. MIS providers need to seek to understand the demanding needs of the profession and the ever-changing processes and expectations so that they can evolve their propositions in a way that matches the needs of the user to ensure staff use the data that has been collected in a way that can inform their teaching and learning within the classroom. By recognising the current landscape and what is being asked of senior leaders, MIS providers can ensure their propositions remain relevant and continue to positively influence school improvement.
Historically within schools the use of MIS has been limited to the tracking of assessment systems and data. “In countries around the world, schools are increasingly expected to use data to monitor their performance, diagnose areas for improvement and use data to make informed decisions to improve the quality of education efficiently and effectively” Schildkamp (2019). By using the data collected by staff and pupil performance, senior leaders can identify areas of focus needed to improve teaching and learning and raise standards. From the review undertaken, most MIS cater for the tracking of similar data points however they differ in the presentation of this for the user with different UI/UX journeys. How the data is presented is important for school improvement purposes to ensure that offline, senior leaders can translate it into meaningful avenues of focus to improve teaching and learning and ultimately raise standards.
Over the past five years there has been a shift in focus of school improvement and with this, a shift in focus for practitioners over what data should be tracked and how it should be presented. The Annual Report of HMCI of Education Children’s Services and Skills states that “an important aim of the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) is to focus inspection on what the evidence tells us (what) makes providers most effective” Ofsted (2020). Instead of focussing on purely the output of the data, schools have started to shift their attention to the curriculum mapping and teaching standards. Coupled with the development of scientific knowledge or ‘learning sciences’, this shift has enabled teachers to plan and sequence learning to ensure children can learn effectively and efficiently. The use of cognitive science requires there to be a sequenced, interleaved approach to the curriculum and this is vital for children to process into their long term memory and actually learn content effectively rather than recall information in the short term that has no relevance or meaning. Learning is a change in Long Term Memory. Sweller et al (2011) raised the point “if nothing in the
long-term memory has been altered, nothing has been learned”.  The education inspector, Ofsted, has also changed its inspections to identify the importance of the quality of education by conducting a vast range of research and I think it is important to recognise that school improvement for many schools will be now centred on how effectively they implement the findings and recommendations of this latest research within their schools and organisations. Figure 1.0 below showcases the areas of the EIF. These are the different areas that schools are now focussing upon as part of their school improvement. In considering these different areas, it’s important to note that the “Quality of Education” carries a greater weighting towards the overall grade that Ofsted provides.
Figure 1.0 – Ofsted Education Inspection Framework Criteria
Based on the above areas, schools will make use of their MIS for school improvement, designing and implementing internal processes, systems and expectations that support the EIF and its framework. There are three main plans created by schools that set these processes, systems and expectations in place namely: i) the School Evaluation Plan; ii) the Strategic School Improvement Plan; and iii) the School Improvement Plan. These are established and maintained on an annual basis.
Figure 2.0 General School Improvement Process
The Strategic Improvement Plan is set to help schools establish effective financial planning and the strategic direction of the school. The strategic school improvement plan is linked directly to the school’s core values and ethos. Objectives are set over a three-year horizon and these objectives are generally linked to the Ofsted areas of Leadership and Management, Quality of Education, Behaviour and Attitudes and Personal Development. Within this plan, schools consider areas of expected challenge and pressure, including for example any expected increase in pupil volumes as well as any Nursery or Post-16 commitments that the particular school may have. Schools within a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) tend to have greater centralised resources and are more likely to plan their provision and contribution long term within the Strategic Improvement Plan.
At the end of every school year, it is recommended for senior leaders to evaluate the performance of the school. This is usually undertaken by the senior leadership team within audit using a School Evaluation Form (SEF). This audit is usually formulated by using the different statements provided by the Ofsted Inspection Framework, with clear expectations and standards set. As this is the criteria on which the school is judged, it makes sense for practitioners to use these statements as the focus for school improvement. There are a variety of ways to collect data to support this audit and it is usually drawn from internal reports, surveys and the analysis of several budgets such as the pupil premium.
Once completed, the audit provides the school with a very clear image of the current position and performance of their school. Not all staff will have access to the SEF, but the school will use this as a tool to showcase to governors and trustees where they think the school is currently working at. This process is also useful for Ofsted when they undertake a visit or inspection as it shows a clear analysis of the school and where the future developments and priorities from senior leaders lie.
Once completing the SEF, the school moves on to developing their School Improvement Plan (SIP). This is where the leaders will select whole school targets that they will collectively work to develop. The SIP sets out how schools will improve performance, raise standards, raise individual pupil achievement and support staff development. It also focuses on the wider community and how the school interacts within their local community, trust or local authority. SIPs vary in their content and detail due to there not being an official format for them and so these reports will be bespoke to each school.
With an insight into how school improvement is tackled within schools and the expectations set by Ofsted, we now move to consider how MIS is presently used to support the Strategic Improvement Plan, the SEF and the SIP.
To breakdown how the Bromcom MIS presently influences school improvement, we need to look at its usefulness in relation to the four key areas of Figure 1.0 that schools are measured against. These are as follows:
Analysis of the modules within the Bromcom MIS system and feedback from several staff members presently using the system is provided herein delivering an insight into how the system is presently being used to support school improvement.
The new Ofsted EIF sets out three sub-levels for the quality of education, as follows:
Considering each in turn, Intent focusses on the curriculum and how the curriculum has been developed for its users. Although Bromcom does not currently have a curriculum mapping function, it does allow staff to assess the different statements set across the key stages. After reviewing Intent with members of staff from Fulbridge Academy and Hampton Vale Primary Academy, the conclusions are that the present Bromcom system is limited in its impact at present.
The present Bromcom MIS does allow staff to identify and plan interventions to support the needs of some groups of children. This can be accessed by searching a pupil and then scrolling down to the interventions section. A big part of school improvement is ensuring that the curriculum is accessible, identifying barriers to the learning and planning interventions. However this function is not currently being used as it is not presently viewed by users as being as efficient as other products on the market.
Implementation focusses on the pedagogy of the classroom and centres on how the children are taught. The Bromcom MIS is very good at providing the assessment statements for teachers to choose from to ensure that the children have the correct level taught to them. The statements can have linked space to write comments about the performance to remind staff of the learning that has taken place. Recent improvements with the lesson profile screen will encourage staff to comment formatively about the lesson. Although I don’t believe that this functionality has been released into the live environment at the time of writing, there is clear potential for this functionality to be used as a reflection tool to aid with the formative assessment of the children.
Impact is about trying to measure or recognise the development of the children. The present Bromcom MIS allows teachers to access their assessment easily and this can influence planning and teaching moving forwards. The adaptable tracking sheets are fluid and easy to use.
The integration of Power Bi to the Bromcom MIS has been a game changer in recent years. This has allowed the schools to analyse their data thoroughly as well as creating visual charts and infographics that allow staff to be able to visualise the data and the trends, bringing it to life in a way that can help shape real impact. This level of analysis has changed the way that assessment should work within an MIS and the trust system Vision. However, the trust system Vision has not grown sufficiently with the Bromcom MIS to allow for a meaningful comparison and analysis across the trust, although I can see how this would benefit trustees and key stakeholders who in being provided with this data, could certainly understand the operating climate for each trust school and the performance of the trust as a whole.
Throughout the past decade the government has highlighted different subjects that they would like to give specific focus to. Currently, Reading is at the top of the national agenda. The Bromcom MIS supports multiple versions of how to show and highlight the performance of Reading due to its highly adaptable nature. Staff can create bespoke sheets that can be colour coded in a numerical value or could be presented as a fixed field. Staff can visualise and see progression using the tracking grids that have been assembled for them. A school assessment leader remarked that, “The assessment sheets and assessment tracker within the Bromcom MIS are very detailed and allow the senior leader to manipulate the tracker to represent the data they need to help support teaching and learning”. Users have also shared that they like the feature by which they can schedule the different reports to ensure that they have the latest data to inform their decision making. There are spaces within the system to record national tests and examinations which also make the processing of this data easy. Breiter & Light (2006) believe that there is one specific and crucial data point – the standardised test scores. I believe it is how we use these in line with the teacher assessments that provide the greatest discussions and reflections on what the child has learnt within school. We should avoid over analysing data for data sake and instead focus on what data can truly help us to do our jobs as effectively and successfully as possible.
Behaviours and attitudes are difficult for any MIS to have an impact on. Throughout the country there are many different behaviour systems in place that both incorporate praise and sanctions. Within the Bromcom MIS, there are areas where the staff member can record incidents of behaviour and log a point system for the house that the individual child is a part of. This is a useful tool as schools must log incidents of bullying. There is also space to place exclusions within the Behaviour tab on the profile which will also be logged. Senior leaders can quickly access the relevant information to see if there is a recurring pattern. An office manager reported that ‘Off-rolling is an
important focus for the local authority and we needed a space to ensure it was being recorded and having it on the child’s profile is perfect as it is to hand in case we have repeat offenders’.
Through the parent portal/parent app, the Bromcom MIS has been able to use communications with parents to praise the work children do as well as remind them about their attendance. This has been a huge success at both Fulbridge Academy and Hampton Vale Primary Academy with users positively feeding back on the impact it has made. Clear and open communication using the MIS system has really improved the collaboration between school and home. The School Business Manager commented that “the MCAS module has allowed staff to communicate with parents and staff quickly and efficiently. The push notification option has enabled the school to become cashless and paperless within a small time period. Parents have really taken to the service that it provides and we could not be happier”.
The Bromcom MIS provides in depth analysis on the attendance of pupils and this is important when raising standards within school. The Bromcom MIS helps staff to identify pupils that are not at school and allow the relevant staff member to take swift action to rectify this issue.
I think the development of the different document templates that can be created within the Bromcom MIS has really helped in the development of forms within the school administration team to ensure the school is time efficient. An attendance officer commented that “it is really easy to contact a parent when their child has dropped below the expected level of attendance and it allows the school to act swiftly to ensure the parent and child are aware of how important it is to attend school.” This is a real strength of the Bromcom MIS for helping to raise standards and ensure pupil progression and in turn school improvement.
Personal Development is focussed on ensuring that the school provides support for the health and wellbeing of the children. The Bromcom MIS manages the information on the health of a child to a great standard. An in-depth review of the needs of the child can be maintained on the child profile under the medical tab and any events of significance where the health of the child might have been affected can be captured and logged.
A feature of the Bromcom MIS is that you can create ‘events’ that can be populated on the child’s profile so that everyone is aware of the different events that the child is going through in their life that may cause any disruption to the child reaching their full potential. There is also space to note down any injuries that the child has received in the form of a Medical Event.
The safeguarding module can also be used to ensure that there is support in place for any abuse that the child may have experienced. The system also facilitates the use of user defined flags and user defined fields. An office manager commented that “a fantastic feature (of the Bromcom MIS) is the User Defined Flags that have been used to identify key groups of children that the staff need to be aware of at a glance from the child’s profile – such as those able and permitted to walk home alone”. These fields have allowed staff to be efficient in the organisation of different resources for the different needs of the identified children.
Staff are also able to celebrate the personal development of each child using the communications module and send home updates to the family to show the achievements that the children might not relay back to their parents.
The Bromcom MIS provides staff with a very clear way of identifying the trends in data provided by the class teacher. The ability to sort the data into different groups such as Pupil Premium, Free School Meals and any bespoke group the school has created allows for great ongoing tracking of particular groups. A real strength is that the system can go to a granular level and ensure that all children are picked up if they are not meeting the standard that they should be meeting. Filtering and sorting processes allow teachers and line managers to find the ‘underperforming’ children to provide specific interventions. It also allows the school to ensure that the support offered is equal for all children. This particularly helps with taking dinners whereby staff are able to provide the correct meal type to ensure financial support where needed.
Wraparound Care and Clubs is a very useful option that has been provided within the Bromcom MIS too. A Business and Operations School Lead explained how Wraparound care has developed using the MIS sharing that “our school is based in a poor socioeconomic population and often families require additional support. The Wraparound care option within the clubs area of the system is great. Parents can now book their slots and pay using their app which allows the school to be able to staff and resource each of the sessions as they have a set number provided by the system. This has relieved the pressure on the office for demand for places as the parents have already applied for their place before the school day.” Monitoring the clubs and providing parents with a fair way to sign up to clubs via the app is an improvement on the old sign-up days which often left children disappointed. The Bromcom MIS has therefore certainly helped with the social wellbeing of the child as well as providing them with additional learning time.
The Bromcom MIS also supports the processing of children leaving the school for the next stage. The system can easily process a leaver and export the Common Transfer File (CTF) to the new school that the child is moving to. An Office Manager shared that the Bromcom MIS “has a fantastic help centre that explains through videos how to complete many of the administrative tasks I need in the office”. The different tools are there to ensure the management of pupils is of a very high standard.
Bromcom’s Data Analytics tool within the MIS allows leaders from across the school to analyse the performance of the different individuals within their school. Leaders are able to schedule data drops and other events to ensure that all staff are able to reach the targets that they have been set.
As a trust, the Four C’s have not explored the Power Bi tools. This is a powerful feature and one that I feel can add to the reflection and review of performance within the school and it is something I think the school would need to invest in their CPD time to ensure it is rolled out effectively.
There are still some notable areas within the Bromcom MIS that contribute to the leadership and management of school improvement. The Bromcom MIS allows for senior leaders to note the Continuous Professional Development of the members of staff within the school. This enables the individual staff member and their line manager to see the CPD that the individual has undertaken and in theory be able to identify that member of staff as someone who can help other members of staff that are struggling within that area.
An excellent feature that is provided by the Bromcom MIS for the leadership and management of the school for school improvement purposes is the communication with parents. The fluid communication with parents using the push notifications to the MyChildAtSchool App has revolutionised the way that schools can instantly contact a parent. The module allows the communication of assessment, attendance, behaviour and homework which all support the child with their learning at school and at home. The app also allows parents to book parent evenings, purchase goods and sign their child up to clubs and trips. An office manager commented that “the app has certainly built our relationships with the local community and has allowed the office to be more efficient in their data management. Teaching staff do not need to spend their time chasing slips or worrying about gaining information from parents and can focus on the teaching and learning with the knowledge that every child can receive the many opportunities the school offers”. It has to be said that during the current climate we have faced, having the ability to lower the requirement of face-to-face interactions while maintaining and enhancing contact using digital channels has helped keep pupils, staff and parents safe with the knowledge and comfort that they can still communicate and ensure positive outcomes for the children.
Another area of the Bromcom MIS that has supported the different schools in ensuring effective school improvement lies within the Safeguarding module. A Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) explained that a unique feature of the Bromcom MIS is that “the safeguarding module is developing into a very exciting feature that is on track to rival the market leaders. One feature that I believe is unique to the system is the acknowledgement that a case is being dealt with. I have not come across this before and this is very handy when seeing which of the many DSL’s in our school are dealing with the issue”. The Safeguarding module is very robust and provides a great way to log concerns about a child that can be picked up by relevant users to deal with. It enables individuals to be identified as the safeguarding practitioners responsible for the cases of certain pupils. The incidents can be clearly logged with the details to ensure swift action is applied. The incident graph also provides a snapshot for a member of staff to see the regularity of incidents that have occurred and whether further provision needs to be put in place. The Bromcom MIS can also process data to be stored on Looked After Children as well as Children that are in Protection.
Governance is a feature that is important in the running of a successful effective organisation. The Bromcom MIS allows several reports to be generated using its very agile report builder. Senior leaders can create set reports that could be scheduled termly to use when reviewing the development of children across the school and particularly in setting the strategic direction for the school. The school summary report provides a detailed overview of the school highlighting trends in pastoral care and an attendance summary. I am aware that Headteachers use the information within this table to create their termly reports.
It is hopefully clear from the aforementioned analysis that the Bromcom MIS is delivering significant functionality already to assist schools and senior leaders to evidence and enhance school improvement. As you look towards the future and consider the strategic direction of how the MIS can evolve, I thought it useful to revisit the focus areas of the Ofsted EIF with suggestions for how the relationship between MIS and school improvement can be deepened. I’m happy to elaborate further upon these in a follow-on session.
An area of interest for the Bromcom MIS lies in the opportunity to support schools in curriculum mapping. Schools need to ensure that the curriculum is ‘planned and sequenced’ to ensure that each pupil’s knowledge and skills are built upon and spaced efficiently for the retrieval of the learnt knowledge that they have been taught.
As curriculum is high on the education agenda, being able to provide a checklist to the different curriculum leaders to ensure that they manage their curriculum smoothly would also help with raising standards and ensuring consistency across the specialised subjects.
An area for development to support all children within the school is to build upon the provision for the SEND children that is already placed to create an interactive landing page, so that relevant leaders can check progress and ensure that all needs are being met. A SENDCO (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-Ordinator) leader commented that “within the Bromcom MIS there are spaces to be able to upload the different interventions for the different children. The system allows there to be bespoke fields to be created so the school can align their SENCO policy. As a school we still do not use the Bromcom MIS for SENDCO. The Bromcom MIS does not easily flow and the staff find it hard to access the relevant spaces to input the data. The system we currently use (which is not the Bromcom MIS) can calculate the money required to support the children, insert plan, do, review targets easily and it can also provide an oversight as a school as to how we meet the needs of these children.”
In addition to the comments above I feel like the diary module could also be used to remind and track the review of the coverage of these children. This would support school improvement further by ensuring that no one is forgotten. Raising the profile of this functionality and tweaking the user journey should help to enhance engagement in this area.
Within the sector the delivery of the curriculum is always something that staff struggle with as we do not have to hand a memory or record of all of the steps that the children have experienced throughout their education journey. One of the limitations of the Bromcom MIS is that there is not one specific area where the staff can see the full progression of the curriculum to help them to deliver the correct content or amend their session to see the previous learning activity for children who are struggling with the concepts that are being taught. The addition of a feature whereby staff can map long term lesson plans (to go with the new lesson profile page) would help to ensure that all staff are aware of what they are teaching and how this fits into each child’s learning journey. Being able to map content missed if a child has not been at school during the year would enable staff to ensure lessons and delivery are tweaked thereafter so that the child does not miss out and carry forward gaps in their learning. This page could also link to the relevant curriculum policies and audits that staff have to follow to ensure progression of methods and models followed.
A further area for development is how the Bromcom MIS can support the development of the teacher’s pedagogical knowledge. One suggestion might be to provide an area where senior leaders can place their thoughts and reviews about the performance of their staff. By providing this feature, a planned progression for staff development could be established that could link into the development of CPD and performance. This in turn would feed into the development of the School Evaluation Form and School Improvement Plan the Bromcom MIS could create to ensure that the whole staff are consistent in the development of the school. I elaborate upon this further in the Leadership and Management section to come.
Feedback from the education sector is that data is becoming more and more subjective as we cannot definitively provide a progress measure for each child. Assessment is moving towards the use of standardised testing through large organisations who have large cohorts of children whose performance serves to standardise the testing followed. To enable staff to assess accurately, senior leaders will need to formatively assess alongside the summative standardised scores. In doing so, senior leaders can help create a picture of the types of assessment required to enhance school improvement moving forwards. An assessment leader shared “I have struggled to see how to import standardised scores into the assessment sheets. At the moment I feel it is still hard work transferring the data and would like the systems to talk to one another so it is seamless when adding the data to teacher assessments. It is for this reason that we have not placed all of the data into the Bromcom MIS and are using the analysis within the standardised assessment software instead”. I am aware of the strengths of the Bromcom MIS when analysing the data and I feel that this is a shame that the schools are passing up on the opportunity to use the Bromcom MIS because they feel that an integration with their existing systems (in this case Rising Stars and Renaissance assessment) would not be an efficient use of time. Perhaps a support service in this area would be something Bromcom could look to offer to enhance usage.
Ultimately, Ofsted will not be looking at any internal data that has been collected with the School Inspection Handbook clearly stating that “Inspectors will use the official Inspection Data Summary Report (IDSR) as a starting point and get to see first-hand the quality of education as experienced by pupils and understand how well leaders know what it is like to be a pupil at the school”.
The IDSR is an important tool for Ofsted. By integrating the IDSR data into the School Evaluation Form staff can focus on the recommendations that Ofsted have also provided. This is important as Ofsted will be looking to see if the school will be acting upon the feedback provided by the IDSR. I elaborate further upon this in Leadership and Management later in this paper.
The Bromcom MIS already supports schools in their behaviour management with several different features that serve to inspire learning as well as how to note down positive and negative behaviour. I believe that there should be a space where house points could be collated based on behaviour and displayed to the children so they are aware of what they are working towards. This could then also be displayed on the data that is sent home so parents via the app so that they are aware of the positive and/or negative behaviour that the child is displaying.
Another area of development here would be to have a Dashboard specifically for the safeguarding lead so that they are aware of the key information related to ongoing cases and in real time can see them come through on the system. This would increase the efficiency that support is provided to a child in need. The Bromcom MIS is closing the gap on the market leading safeguarding software packages but there is still further development that is needed. A Designated Safeguard Leader remarked that the “Bromcom MIS can offer some desirable features to safeguard children, however there are still some areas that are not complete, such as the ability to group concerns under a family or household”. As a trust, the Four C’s have not moved away from using CPOMS in this area. This is due to how CPOMs are able to process the concerns that come in. CPOMS allows siblings to be linked to the concern so that staff are aware of incidents that may have affected the children they are teaching either directly or indirectly. It is also difficult to transfer the database from CPOMs to the Bromcom MIS due to documents not being attached correctly to the individual and the transfer, to my knowledge, presently requires a manual upload (which is a lengthy process unfortunately for large schools with many cases of abuse).
As mentioned previously in the implementation section of the Quality of Education, a clear mapping of the curriculum components would help in ensuring that school’s work to enhance the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of each child. I find this area of the Ofsted framework suitably supported by the present Bromcom MIS system. The functionality offered is flexible and agile and schools can develop their own bespoke framework to support the different children within their
An area that could be explored lies in the pupil premium funding and sports premium funding. If there was a reporting outlet where the school could map the budget alongside the Strategic School Improvement Plan then this would certainly improve time efficiency.
In considering areas of strategic opportunity for the Bromcom MIS, I conclude by reflecting on the change in focus within the Ofsted EIF and on the refocus of how school improvement will be measured. There is an argument that any new tools need to be put in place before a new academic school year begins to ensure that all staff are aligned with a school improvement focus at the school. I have thought about how the Bromcom MIS could be expanded to ensure school improvement is regularly monitored.
At the end of the school year, leaders begin to analyse performance and suggest how they are going to develop the school for the following year and they document this in the School Evaluation Form. The Bromcom MIS should be at the heart of this review and planning process. To ensure this is the case, the Bromcom MIS needs to evolve into allowing for SEFs to be created and maintained which in turn will feed into the overall School Improvement Plan that should then be able to be reviewed and mapped alongside the existing functionality. Including this type of reflective audit tool would allow senior leaders to conduct a health check of their progress relative to Ofsted expectations in a way that is bespoke to that school, embodying their core values, principles and priorities.
Some schools require a Strategic School Improvement overview and this is important for the governors or trustees of the school to see the development moving forwards. This will be a very agile plan as this typically has a three-year horizon. It allows long term thinking about the projects and could include budget implications, for new builds or school redesigns as an example. The plans that are provided at this high level will feed into the annual School Improvement Plan. This also allows the governing body of the school to be accountable and take control of areas that they know they can contribute to.
In considering the role of governors, I believe it would be useful for governors to have their own dashboard providing access to the Strategic School Improvement Plan, the annual School Improvement Plan, School Evaluation Forms, a summary of staff appraisals, a summary of the performance of the children as well as data explaining numbers of different cohorts within the school. A diary could also be shared providing evidence for governors related to how they govern the school providing an audit trail of meetings, appointments and actions taken. Minutes and decisions could be securely stored within this section of the system, able to be recalled upon when needed.
The Bromcom MIS could also assist senior leaders in assessing avenues for funding. I understand there is already a finance system that can integrate with the Bromcom MIS, but a specific area where the school can explain and track funding and spending such as pupil premium and sports premium could also play a part in developing an understanding of how money is spent in relation to school improvements.
Site management is another area where I feel the Bromcom MIS could contribute from a Leadership and Management perspective. The Bromcom MIS could allow staff to request support for certain physical school improvements as well as an area where details about contractors, their work, the cost and past projects can all be diarised and reviewed regularly to ensure the school has the correct certification and health and safety standards.
As a final suggestion for future evolution of the Bromcom MIS, I feel the above could sit well within a new Leadership and Management module. Figure 3.0 explains the different components that schools regularly review or use to manage the accountability of the performance of the school. A module that could support staff within these areas would contribute to the school’s improvement moving forwards.
Figure 3.0 – A Leadership and Management Module within the Bromcom MIS
1 Telem, M. (1999). A case of the impact of school administration computerization on the department head’s role. Journal of Research on Computing in Education.
2 Schildkamp, K. (2019). Data-based decision-making for school improvement: Research insights and gaps. NFER Educational Research Volume 61 Issue 3
3 Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (2020). The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2019/20, The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Online) (Accessed on 7th December 2020)
4 Sweller, J et al. (2011). Cognitive Load Theory. Springer-Verlag New York.
5 Breiter, A., & Light, D. (2006). Data for School Improvement: Factors for designing effective information systems to support decision-making in schools. Educational Technology & Society, 9 (3), 206-217.