Opened in July 1841, Cheltenham College Junior School dates from the Victorian period, in which it was the first of many in a new generation of public schools. It is a co-educational independent school, teaching pupils between the ages of 3 and 18 in both a boarding and day capacity, and is located in Gloucestershire. Nicky Fortune is the Curriculum Director at Cheltenham College Junior School.
Cheltenham College Junior School
"We're extremely proud of the system that we've created here at Cheltenham College, and even fifteen years on there's a real feeling that there's so much left for us to get from FileMaker. With the addition of FileMaker Go, it's a very exciting time to be using the software." says Nicky Fortune, Curriculum Director at Cheltenham Junior College.
FileMaker Go in a class of its own at Cheltenham College Junior School
College takes full advantage of FileMaker’s power and flexibility to develop a comprehensive set of systems.
- A FileMaker customer for over 15 years easily extends existing systems with mobile benefits of FileMaker Go.
- Education: co-educational independent school, teaching pupils between the ages of 3 and 18.
- Every pupil aged 13 and above uses FileMaker on a regular basis, and is now being introduced to the year sevens and year eights too.
- FileMaker Go enables on the move access to all of its essential information at the push of a touch-screen button.
A FileMaker customer for over 15 years, the system at Cheltenham College Junior School has been added to and expanded upon a number of times during that period. Originally deployed as a basic contact management system, FileMaker now encompasses everything from pupil assessments to e-registration. Most recently, the Junior College has been enjoying the mobile benefits of FileMaker Go.
“Within the school network, we now have mobile access to the full range of FileMaker databases that we have in place,” explains Nicky. “That represents a significant amount of information across both the educational and administrative functions of the college, and being able to access all of that data on the go is key to our ability to teach to our highest standard.”
Within the school network, we now have mobile access to the full range of FileMaker databases that we have in place.Nicky Fortune, Curriculum Director, Cheltenham College Junior School
The FileMaker solution:
With a range of different processes powered by FileMaker, the College has taken full advantage of its ever-increasing power and flexibility to develop a comprehensive set of systems. Initially developed in house by Chris Boulton, now a Director of CJM Software who still maintain the overall structure, the solution runs as an open system, in which users are able to create and develop their own databases whenever they need, Nicky says that everyone at Cheltenham College Junior School now uses FileMaker between three and four times a day for a range of uses.
“For a subject like PE for instance,” says Nicky, “FileMaker Go now gives tutors the ability to update grades and assessments during the actual lesson itself. Rather than having to produce written notes and key them in later, our teachers are able to update the central database very simply with the minimum of fuss. That logic is something that we’re now considering applying to the management of our sports teams with a new system from CJM Software called Sports Team Manager.”
While the system is already proving its use in class and during extra-curricular activities, it is also making its presence felt in the background too. With the school having built a major contact database for the parents of its pupils, Nicky has applied FileMaker Go to take that system to its next logical evolution.
“We’re now able to access that database on the move thanks to an app from CJM, which means that we can instantly search for any pupil and make a call to their parents straight from an iPhone,” she says. “That has big implications for everything from the run of the mill things like making sure that they’ve been collected at the end of the day, through to saving valuable time if there has been an issue of any kind. And, as it ties into the database containing their daily schedule, you can pretty much instantly find out where a pupil is.”
Nicky quickly allays any security concerns about the privacy of this naturally sensitive data. “Essentially, the system only works when it’s in your hands. The database will automatically close itself after any period of inactivity, and as soon as it does, you have to log back in. Contacts will also only update within the school network, so if one of our iPhones was stolen and someone tried to access the contacts, a failsafe kicks in and deletes all of that information from the handset.”
In addition to its many standalone uses, the wider FileMaker system also integrates well with some of the College’s other technology. Used as a partner with the school’s Clarion Call ‘one to many’ messaging system, FileMaker allows any information entered into the Clarion system to be simply distributed to all parental and guardian contacts within the database.
Nicky concludes by explaining that FileMaker is making its way into the curriculum as well. “It’s a fantastic system, and one that is easy enough to develop that we see a real advantage to making it part of the ICT course here. Every pupil aged 13 and above uses FileMaker on a regular basis, and I’m now introducing it to the year sevens and year eights too. We’re already using iPod touchs as a way of supporting learning from the Foundation Stage upwards and we do plan on bringing iPads into the school too. FileMaker Go will be another big part of that process.”
- The next step – FileMaker Go gives Cheltenham College Junior School the next level of information management, enabling on the move access to all of its essential information at the push of a touch-screen button.
- An end-to-endless solution – FileMaker provides Cheltenham College Junior School with an almost endless array of uses, from planning trips and activities to pupil rewards, letters to parents to risk assessments. With anyone able to develop any solution they need, it truly is limitless.
- Integration in education – FileMaker plays nicely with other technology too! Integrating seamlessly with Clarion Call, FileMaker provides the school’s contact system with the power it needs to quickly reach parents with urgent news and messages.
- Simplicity meets security – While FileMaker Go is easy to use for anyone accessing the system on the College campus, a comprehensive security programme ensures that only those who should be accessing the data can do so.