Australia’s independent schools face more competition than ever before. Enrolment numbers can’t keep up with demand from parents, and expectations of high academic and co-curricular results put the pressure squarely on teachers like never before. Private school boards are doing their best to optimise operations and attract top teachers – but is there more to be done?
We believe most Australian private schools still have one area where they can step up: technology. Many schools still conduct administration or academic processes manually. When they do use digital systems, they often function as separate pieces rather than a well-integrated whole, forcing staff to sidestep all sorts of inconveniences to get the job done.
How automating key processes can make a difference
Private schools have more latitude with using technology than their public counterparts. They should use this freedom to automate repetitive tasks such as on-boarding new students and staff, collecting fees, managing staff schedules and payrolls, and coordinating details of annual school events. Why? Because these activities often eat up huge amounts of teachers’ time, and drain resources from improvements in other areas like infrastructure or lesson outcomes.
At the same time, these tasks happen all the time–and with repetition come fatigue, mistakes, and errors. Teachers get bogged down in the mundane, instead of focusing on finding new academic resources or partnering with external organisations to give students more opportunities.
Here are several key processes that could potentially benefit from automation within a school context:
- Simplifying how staff or students log in to different systems, or access digital tools and resources, like e-learning platforms.
- Providing self-service options to reset passwords and download apps.
- Streamlining the on-boarding (and off-boarding) process for new students or members of staff.
- Scheduling teachers, especially casual teachers, on an ongoing basis.
- Managing the rollover of classes and year levels, and ensuring that student allocations accurately match the appropriate class and level.
- Keeping software up to date with security patches and upgrades.
- Managing financial processes like fee collection, payroll, paying for third party services and more.
- Making teaching resources more collaborative and accessible between teachers, classes and across campuses.
How can technology help?
Process automation can happen through a range of solutions. Insync’s Modern Automation Platform, for example, is powered by Microsoft’s Identity Manager. This innovative solution automates most common tasks, eliminates human error, protects data and provides detailed reports whenever teaching or admin staff require them.
A success story: How All Hallows School saved thousands of hours in time and effort
At All Hallows’ School in Brisbane, IT staff were spending large amounts of time on menial tasks like on-boarding processes, as well as management of staff and student logins to Microsoft products and various other platforms. This meant less time for other important tasks, such as face-time with students, teachers and administrative staff. The lack of focus also meant that there was a greater potential for human error to occur during the use of their systems.
The school needed a solution that could offload the mundane tasks from their operations team and automate as many of them as possible. As they worked with Insync and adopted several Microsoft cloud solutions, such as Office 365 and Azure, they also realised that automation could help them better manage their IT stack and keep it up to date.
With so many technologies in play, All Hallows’ needed an automation solution that would quickly, intuitively support how teachers and students already used their various systems. Insync suggested that All Hallows’ invest in Microsoft Identity, which allows automation and self-service within the wider Microsoft environment. Insync developed workflows that automated the provisioning, configuration and ongoing management of the school’s cloud-based assets, and gave end-users a series of self-service options for basic IT tasks.
The implementation of Microsoft Identity Manager has saved All Hallows’ School thousands of hours in time and effort that would otherwise be sunk into repetitive work. The solution is flexible enough to allow operations to set user configurations and write simple scripts to deploy permissions and software. At the same time, it’s reduced error rates and given the team more time to interact with school staff and students.
Automation solutions such as Microsoft Identity don’t just make repetitive tasks less of a time-sink for schools such as All Hallows’. They also increase the morale and enthusiasm of school staff teams, allowing them to focus their energies on doing what they love most–teaching the next generation of Australians.
Want to follow All Hallows’ example? Try these resources to get started with automation:
Or get in touch with the education experts at Insync on 1300 652 207 or email email@example.com.
Our mission at Microsoft is to equip and empower educators to shape and assure the success of every student. Any teacher can join our effort with free Office 365 Education, find affordable Windows devices and connect with others on the Educator Community for free training and classroom resources. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for our latest updates.