Back in March, we published tips to help schools minimise the learning impact of closures. While many schools have now reopened, they’ve done so under radically different conditions. And as government guidance remains under constant review, it feels like the uncertainty will continue well into 2021.
ESS is here to support students, teachers, staff and parents through this next period of the pandemic. There are many ways we can help schools to keep safe, informed, productive and engaged:
Flexibility for teachers
The school day has changed a lot in recent months. Alternative class timetables, and the potential for closure at short notice, means that teachers need to work just as effectively outside the classroom as within it.
Whether it’s assessing pupils’ work, taking a register, or getting in touch with parents quickly, teachers need more flexible ways to work – using digital tools and remote access to information.
For example, the full range of functionality within SIMS allows teachers to:
- Record lesson attendance, in both physical and virtual classrooms, and then synchronise all registers with your centralised system
- Reward pupils with a tap or click when walking the classroom, teaching remotely, or marking homework
- Message a parent group to keep their children at home if they hear of a suspected COVID-19 case
- Find contact information fast, to provide remote learning support for parents and students – e.g. if they are self-isolating
- Track poor attendance, and intervene to prevent students from missing more school time, which is more valuable than ever
Convenience for parents
COVID-19 has resulted in a lot more information for parents to keep track of. Activities can be cancelled at the last minute. Guidance around extracurricular activities is evolving. Protocols for face coverings and onsite distancing are subject to change.
Keeping everyone up to speed on this is tricky – especially as schools move away from traditional letters home, and parents are encouraged to make fewer physical visits.
To help with this, the parent-facing modules in SIMS provide quick-and-easy access to essential school information and services, including:
- Whole-school updates on all subjects, including COVID-19
- Online booking for wraparound care, to minimise exposure to different childcare providers
- Personalised messages related to individual students
- End-of-year assessment reports, plus key assessment trends
- Online payments for events, meals, uniforms, etc, to support the move to a cashless school
Simplicity for staff
With all this information to share with parents, and more data coming in to process, the pandemic has heightened administrative pressures on school staff.
For example, if a activity is cancelled, staff in the office need to process refunds to parents. Updates and reminders need to be sent out regularly as plans change. There are more enquiries and permissions to be fielded on a daily basis.
Again, there is functionality within SIMS that can help offset this growing burden, such as:
- Automated refunds for cancelled activities and events, with funds processed within two working days
- Automated reminders and permission requests, reducing the need for parents to contact the school
- Streamlined communications via email, text and instant alerts, keeping everyone up to date in a click
- Targeted communication to specific groups, for example, about the additional support available to those on free school meals
Safety for all
These are just some of the ways SIMS can help improve safety within schools, as we all learn to co-exist with COVID-19.
If you’d like specific support for your school – perhaps in preparation for an upcoming inspection, or to help your staff get the most out of your SIMS investments – please visit www.ess-sims.co.uk/sims-training
Supporting schools through the Coronavirus pandemic - SIMS Parent App demo
See how SIMS Parent App can keep parents fully informed of the latest changes your school may be making through the convenience of an app.