Fenland school saves �7,000 and hours of admin work as online classroom data system embraced

A FENLAND school is continuing to embrace an online system which allows parents and students to access classroom data.

Neale-Wade Community College in March launched the ‘STARS 4 Schools’ programme in September 2009 after Paula Brenchley, the school’s assistant principal, vowed to find an easier way to log students’ records.

Her husband Jonathan works for Hyperspheric Solutions Limited in Histon. The company supply innovative information management systems and created a system that allows grades and attendance records to be accessed via a link on the school’s website.

Mrs Brenchley said: “I felt we needed to move with the times. Teachers have always had their mark books but I wanted those marks to be displayed to parents and students.

“We’ve had no problems at all with the system as it’s backed-up, continually developing and always improving. Huge numbers have been logging on and it’s been a massive success.

“My big dream was to get consistency, quality and continuity in our marking system. This is now happening. It’s so easy to use and all the staff love it.”

Staff can access all records but parents and students are only able to check their own or their childrens’ data via personal log-ins.

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Tim Hitch, the school’s principal, says the system has saved the school around �7,000 on paper and has made Mrs Brenchley’s and his job around 25 per cent easier.

Mr Hitch said: “We want the children and parents to know three things. Where they are, where they want to be and what they can do to get there. This system helps students continually progress. “There’s 1,750 students at the school but now I can see how any pupil is doing in minutes. The information is never more than a few clicks away.”

Neale-Wade has been visited by staff from schools across the country to find out how the system works. Many, including Thomas Clarkson Community College in Wisbech and Oliver Cromwell Community College in Chatteris, have now adopted the programme.

Jonathan Brenchley, Hyperspheric’s managing director, said: “When I was at school, the teacher’s markbook was a secret thing.

“The insight that students and parents are getting from seeing the contents online is really powerful.”