Landau Forte gets set to roll out SchooliP
September 30, 2011
One of UK’s leading academy groups is set to equip all of its schools with improvement planning software that it helped to develop during a two year collaboration.
The Landau Forte Charitable Trust is adopting the development planner system in four schools across the Midlands after working closely with the software’s creators, SchooliP.
The software offers the Trust an online system by which each school can set out and monitor its business plan, which had previously been written on Word documents and printed out on reams of paper.
This previous method made collating and updating the information, which is vital to the schools’ success, extremely labour intensive, but everything is now available at the touch of a button.
The collaboration saw James Robson, Vice Principal at the Landau Forte College in Derby, use SchooliP’s improvement plan software on the college’s behalf and feed back his experiences and suggestions.
Developers then amended the programme to increase its usability and add new features, which have now been incorporated into the software.
Since the trial, the system – which has also been amended to incorporate features specific to Landau Forte – has been adopted by the Trust’s academy in Amington, Tamworth, and will now be introduced to the Landau Forte Academy Tamworth Sixth Form and Landau Forte Academy QEMS, also in Tamworth.
The Trust is also taking delivery of SchooliP’s self evaluation form package, with training on the system set to start soon.
Steve Whiteley, chief executive of the Landau Forte Trust, said: “Improvement planning is a vital part of school leadership and whilst we were happy with our existing Word-based planning framework, we knew the future lay with a dedicated online package.
“When we looked around for one, we wanted to make sure that it would be easy to use and meet our needs, which is why we welcomed the opportunity to work alongside SchooliP for both our and their benefit.
“The result is an integrated system that has been enthusiastically adopted by staff at Derby and in Amington significantly streamlining the production of the improvement plans – a benefit which means we have no hesitation in extending its usage to our other schools.”
SchooliP’s software was developed in conjunction with Sir Mark Grundy, executive principal of Shireland Collegiate Academy in the West Midlands, and is now used by around 60 schools up and down the country.
Among its key features is a dashboard function which allows the user to see at a glance whether or not activities designed to meet priority objectives, such as improving attendance levels, have been completed and allows them to update.
The programme also sends automatic emails to staff to remind them to undertake required actions, as outlined in the plan.
Stuart Reece, managing director of SchooliP, said a significant amount of this success is a direct result of its collaboration with Landau Forte, which allowed it to follow the process from James’s initial adoption of the technology through to the creation and real time maintenance of a school improvement programme.
Stuart said: “We have a lot of computing know-how, but we’re not members of a senior leadership team in an educational institution who have to work with their business plan on the daily basis.
“By following that process first hand, we gained a valuable insight into what information James needed to enter into the plan and how he would use and observe it. Not only did his feedback allow us to smooth out some minor wrinkles in the programme, we were able to see it through the eyes of a user and redesign certain elements accordingly.
“We always knew we were on the right lines, but now, thanks to James and Landau Forte, we have a product that meets schools’ needs better.
“We are delighted that Landau Forte Charitable Trust have decided to adopt it our system for all of their schools – not least because they helped us to perfect it. Their name has always stood as a byword for innovation in education and we are very much looking forward to our continued work with them.”
Landau Forte College was one of the first in the wave of city technology colleges to be opened in the early 1990s. It now has around 1,100 students, aged from 11 to 19, and 87 teaching staff.
“Originally, putting our improvement plan together meant a huge paper-chase to find and collate Word documents prepared by individual directors of learning,” said James.
“We decided that before we replaced that with an online solution, we wanted to work alongside a supplier to ensure that we knew it inside and out and that it did everything we needed.
“We were really pleased to be able to do that with SchooliP over such a long period and to everyone’s benefit. We have used the system in anger for 14 months now and it allows us to work more effectively and enables us to more easily maintain a strategic overview.”
The development planner business software can also be integrated with SchooliP’s other platforms for self evaluation and staff CPD, giving users an immediate snapshot of progress across a multitude of criteria.
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