The vast majority of school leaders will be familiar with the balancing act of reducing costs while still ensuring that we provide the highest possible quality of education to our students. In the 20 years I have spent working in the education sector – first as a teacher and then as a headteacher, before becoming the Chief Executive of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust – this challenge has been a key focus for me. I have seen much in the way of innovation and creative thinking to address it – but it is the model that we have introduced at Thinking Schools which I am most proud of.
Erasmus+ offers schools funding for life-changing international activities. €36 million is proposed for UK schools in 2019, up from €30 million in 2018.
Through the funding:
As part of the Erasmus+ programme, eTwinning plays an important part in giving schools access to this funding for life-changing international activities.
eTwinning is a free and secured online community, with over 600,000 schools and colleges from over 40 countries taking part. Through the eTwinning website, you can find partner schools abroad for Erasmus+ projects. The website also allows you to save and share your Erasmus+ project work for free!
There are two key application deadlines:
We advise you to get started as soon as possible! You can find out more, ask for support and search for a school partner here.
Watch these short films to see how UK schools from all education sectors have supported their Erasmus+ project through eTwinning.
This is the year to finally sort problem paperwork within your school. You can improve safeguarding, productivity, space and compliance simply by improving the way you manage your student records, staff files and financial documents. Outdated ways of working can be transformed through a proven electronic document management system designed in collaboration with school business managers. Sound good? Here, school business manager Alison Jefferson shares how Durham Trinity School use mstore across student records, HR and finance...
“Clearing our filing cabinets has already created enough space to accommodate a new staff member, and we are really happy with the way mstore is transforming the way we work with documents.
“mstore was fast and easy to install; it works with our existing IT systems and software, including SIMS. We didn’t need to replace anything or learn how to use an entirely new system and the software is really straightforward to use. We can save and retrieve files quickly, and safeguarding is enforced more easily too.
“Arena is very familiar with the legal obligations surrounding records management in schools, and we were confident from the start that they could help us to achieve our goals whilst remaining compliant with all of the rules. The service has been great, we have had no complaints and I have even referred other schools to them.”
The King’s School use mstore for finance and HR records. Finance manager Tammy Gaines explains: “Before we had mstore, there were folders all over the place. We have sensitive documents to protect so we kept them in locked cabinets, but we had no way of telling who had accessed what, or if they had changed things.”
UK schools are obliged to keep a record of who has accessed particular documents types such as those relating to child protection. mstore makes this easy by automatically auditing activity in the system.
mstore also saves time and space, says Tammy: “We file everything electronically now. We used to shred a lot of documents as we could not store them all; it’s reassuring to have everything backed up in case we need it. It is without doubt quicker and easier to find things in mstore rather than searching through cabinets.”
Recent analysis based on mstore's use in four education institutions shows that return on investment can be achieved within two years. Digital gets it done!
So your new (school) year’s resolution is not a tricky one to make. And with the support of Arena’s education specialists, the transition to better ways of working that finally ditch that problem paper keeps you focused on more important aspects of school life.
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Earwig Academic, the award-winning software specialists, have launched a new tool for schools: Earwig Assessment. With the introduction of this module, all teaching and learning from EYFS to Secondary is covered by Earwig’s software package. It is a resource that enables schools to upload their own frameworks - as many as they choose. This, crucially, answers the DfE request for Interim Assessments to include supporting evidence.
A Trust representing four schools in Cheshire has begun using a new resource to streamline club, trip, communication and payment management. North West Academies Trust (NWAT), made up of St Martin’s Academy, Delamere Academy, Oak View Academy and Ellesmere Primary, approached Gwynedd-based innovators eeZeeTrip after deciding that they wanted to further improve their day-to-day school payments system.
In the drive to deliver cost savings without compromising on educational quality, schools are struggling to stay afloat, with budgets coming under immense pressure. Due to a combination of rising costs and pupil numbers, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that current school expenditure per pupil will fall by over 7% in real terms between 2015-16 and 2019-20. Consequently, many schools are continuing to search for innovative solutions to generate and maximise income, rather than solely cutting their budgets. Such institutions have a wide range of assets from which they are able generate income, however the key to success is ensuring that they have the most effective marketing and booking systems to maximise these opportunities.
Ireland’s number one online payment app for schools has officially launched in the UK this week. Way2Pay is an income collection system designed for schools wherein parents can make payments via their mobile phones, and is the first ‘pay by text’ system designed specifically to cater for the education sector in the UK and Ireland. To celebrate this British launch, the company are holding a competition, with £500 and free software as the prize.
Buying the right classroom and PE equipment is like a full-time job – especially when the National Curriculum changes or the Government weighs in with initiatives promoting healthier eating or sports in schools. While most teachers are familiar with organising classroom supplies, it’s quite another matter to apply for separate national funding and then get best results from the new resources that they have acquired for their school.
Schools want to offer the very best in education to their students, but funding is so often an issue. Rachel Gordon of The School Funding Service gives her 5 top tips on how to go about getting a grant for your school.
You have a great idea for a school project or innovative new practice, but the school budget is tight and you need a bit of cash to help you bring your idea to life. Does this scenario sound familiar? If so, my advice is don’t despair. Have you thought about applying for a grant to help you?