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5 Challenges Of Boarding School Management

Vincent Paget

January 21, 2019

Boarding school management has many day-to-day challenges. They are responsible for academic excellence as well as caring for the well-being of students 24 hours a day. Ensuring that all staff are working together and sharing information is key to providing the best possible level of care for pupils. Cloud-based software can go a long way to alleviating some of the difficulties around keeping students safe and sharing relevant information amongst staff.Here, we take a look at some of the challenges of boarding school management and how can they be resolved.

1. Keeping Track Of Students

Aside from education, one of the biggest responsibilities of a boarding school is keeping their students safe and happy. When it comes to safety, schools need robust systems for knowing where each of their students are. In an emergency, information needs to be available quickly and from anywhere in the school.Paper-based or spreadsheet systems are based around the campus. In the event of an emergency, staff have to collect each sign-out sheet and compare each list to understand whether any pupils are unaccounted for. An online system provides an easy way for staff and students to log movement, and with a cloud-based system, any member of staff can see where pupils are at that moment.Boardingware's cloud-based system provides apps for staff and students. Pupils can sign in and out as they move, while staff can access information from wherever they are on site. A live roll means multiple staff can account for pupils on one list, highlighting missing students quickly.

One of the challenges faced by boarding schools is keeping track of students.
Keeping track of students is one of the challenges faced by boarding schools.

2. Managing Student Leave

The nature of a boarding school is such that pupils come and go at different times and for a variety of activities. Whatever the reason for student leave, it needs to be properly approved and responsibility for the child's safety appropriately delegated.Boardingware allows requests for leave to be submitted by the pupil or a parent, and the school can determine their own approval pathways. Notifications are automatically sent, removing any extra administration for boarding house staff. Terms and conditions can be set as part of the approval process, and different clauses added for each party giving their consent to the request. This allows the school to ensure that non-parental hosts, such as those caring for international students during short breaks, understand their responsibilities in caring for the pupil during the leave period.The cloud-based system means that boarding staff can check on the location of a pupil, or group of students, from wherever they are and know that the information is up-to-date. There is no need for a handover at shift changes. If the school deems it appropriate, secondary school pupils can sign themselves back in rather than having a staff member on-hand.

3. Pastoral Care

Staff can record pastoral information the moment it comes to light.

A student's time at boarding school can span many of their formative years. Providing the best possible level of pastoral care for them can have a significant effect on their well-being both now and in the future. Having an online system in place to help manage the school's pastoral policy can help staff work together to achieve all-round care, 24 hours a day.One of the challenges of pastoral care is keeping all relevant members of staff up-to-date with new information or changes. A cloud-based recording system means that staff can record pastoral information the moment it comes to light and make it available to all teachers as soon as it is saved. Staff don't need to access a central filing system or wait until the paper memo reaches them. Teachers can react immediately and adapt study sessions or interactions accordingly.Recording data online also makes it easy to spot trends and keep an eye on specific students. Pupils can be placed on a watch list, and graphs or lists can be created and exported to enable staff to identify patterns and trends, adjusting their level of care appropriately.

Teachers can react immediately when pastoral information is recorded in a cloud-based system.
A cloud-based system for pastoral information enables teachers to react immediately. 

4. Keeping Your Data Secure

Schools collect data about their students and parents to help inform their academic and pastoral decisions - but this means they have to take responsibility for keeping that information safe. Paper systems present challenges in that there must be adequate physical storage, secure enough that unauthorised individuals cannot access it, but open enough that relevant teachers can use it to inform their care.Moving to an online system makes it much easier to staff to access pupil data from anywhere on campus or at home, and ensures it cannot be lost if there is a fire or burglary. Boardingware's cloud-based system is regularly backed up, servers are professionally maintained and data is encrypted to industry standard. Security is in the hands of experts rather than administrative staff.

5. Costs Of Operation

Data can be analysed to understand what provision needs to be made or where costs can be reduced.

Although many independent schools are set up as charitable trusts, in order to continue functioning they have to work like a business. Long and short-term strategic and financial planning is an essential part of the organisation. For boarding school management, this means understanding what pupils need and use to ensure funds are directed appropriately.Boardingware acts as a repository for a wide range of information such as leave types and extra-curricular information. This type of data can be analysed to understand what provision needs to be made or where costs can be reduced according to what pupils really need and use.Boardingware understands the challenges of boarding school management and provides an easy-to-use solution. Take our free demo today or contact our team for a further discussion about how we can help.

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Vincent Paget

Vincent Paget is an Operations Manager at Orah based in Auckland, New Zealand. He loves technology, organisation, nature and adventure sports, not necessarily in that order.

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