Computers in Schools: MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS - Running Rings around Administration ; Filing Cabinets Are Making Way for CD-Roms as Schools Turn to New Technology to Manage Their Daily Affairs. Steve McCormack Reports
McCormack, Steve, The Independent (London, England)
I didn't go anywhere near The Independent building while writing this article. And teachers often don't go anywhere near the school office when they write their reports.
The now simple and ubiquitous tool that is e-mail has transformed the working lives of just about everybody whose job involves transferring information. For some years now, teachers in most schools have had the option, in writing reports, of receiving the blank templates via e-mail from the school office. They then fill in the relevant sections, e-mail them back to admin staff for further processing and, eventually, they're dispatched to parents.
And the use of e-mail as a basic tool of communication among teachers and support staff, and increasingly, between teachers and students, is now as commonplace as the rows of pegs for coats and bags outside every primary classroom.
But e-mail is of course now only a small part of the story. Over the past decade or so a quiet revolution has hit school offices across the country, so that just about every one of the 28,000 schools in England has a computerised management information system (MIS) supporting many aspects of school administration and student life.
Although the number of software products on the market to help schools perform their administrative tasks can seem bewildering, most schools follow what's called a 'whole system approach', whereby one company provides all the applications in an integrated package.
And the vast majority of schools use one of five firms for this all-encompassing task. They are Capita, RM, Serco, Pearson, and Wauton Samuel. Of these, Capita, who own the SIMS product, have by far the largest market share, estimated at around 80 per cent.
The number of administrative tasks now performed electronically varies from school to school, but the core functions are handled by computers almost everywhere. These are the storage of basic data on every student, the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Computers in Schools: MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS - Running Rings around Administration ; Filing Cabinets Are Making Way for CD-Roms as Schools Turn to New Technology to Manage Their Daily Affairs. Steve McCormack Reports. Contributors: McCormack, Steve - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 12, 2005. Page number: 7. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.