Client name . St Anthony's Girls' School, Sunderland
Sector . Education
Summary comment . Bob Ratcliffe, Assistant Head Teacher (e-learning),
"The Deputy Head required an improved electronic database that could give us an up to date view of all incidents happening in school. The existing information management system would not allow us to input the information we needed."
St Anthony's Girls' School, Sunderland
FileMaker Ensures 'Best Behaviour' at St Anthony's Girls' School
St Anthony's is an 11-18 all girls' comprehensive school founded over 100 years ago. The school, which is a Technology College and Beacon school, is situated in Sunderland. It has over 1350 students and 90 teaching staff. Last year the Deputy Head requested a system that would allow senior members of staff to monitor student behaviour on a student-by-student basis identifying any serious incidents. At the last inspection in 2003 Inspectors commented upon, "the happy and secure environment where pupils develop academically".
To create a comprehensive database that would allow staff to monitor and track the individual behaviour of over 1350 students as they move through their school careers – in the most cost effective manner.
St Anthony's works with specialist developer, 3 Square Associates, to deliver a fully automated information management solution based on FileMaker.
- St Anthony's deploys an in-depth and searchable database charting the behaviour of all students throughout their school careers
- Flexible solution allows photographs, student names, incident description, teacher comments and action taken to be stored for immediate access by staff
- Analysis and reporting functionality allows the school to identify trends of where trouble occurs to ensure staff is allocated to areas of greatest need
- Automated 'parent notification' process improves communication between school and home
- Fully customisable database delivers an enhanced management information system to fit St Anthony's future requirements – while significantly reducing cost
Bob Ratcliffe, Assistant Head Teacher at St Anthony's, was faced with the challenge of setting up this system.
"We needed a system that would allow us to track specific incidents relating to individual pupils. We already currently use FileMaker within the school for data tracking, reports and administrative purposes, so we knew that this would have the flexibility to allow us to create a system that would meet our needs" explains Ratcliffe.
After a discussion with the Deputy Head, the agreement was that a database was needed that would allow them to create fields that could contain photographs, names of students, description of incidents, the staff member involved and the action taken.
In addition one of the most important tools required by St Anthony's school was the ability to generate an automatic letter after a pupil had been reported to be involved in three similar incidents. This would allow the school to ensure parents are better informed and the school could manage behaviour levels and track trends of activity.
Bob Ratcliffe, although being the Assistant Head Teacher and the 'IT Pro' at St Anthony's felt this challenge was too big to tackle on his own and wanted to get advice from a fellow teacher that had experienced a similar challenge. He approached Andy Marsh, a fellow teacher and owner of 3 Square Associates (www.3squareassociates.com), a FileMaker Business Alliance member, to discuss the best software to use to solve this problem. Andy Marsh had previously helped Bob tackle other ICT challenges within the school.
Using FileMaker technology, 3 Square Associates have developed software called 'Conduct Behaviour Management' that was initially trialled at Croxteth Community Comprehensive, Liverpool to record, monitor, track, analyse and report on student conduct and behaviour. The system can record both positive and negative behaviours and notify parents using letter, email or mobile phone text message, although St Anthony's requirements were based on recording bad behaviour.
Andy Marsh, IT Applications Manager at Croxteth Comprehensive school and FileMaker developer commented, "Conduct was developed to enable teachers to track, record and analyse behaviour incidents and, at the same time, improve parental communication. A school like St Anthony's, which has over 1300 pupils and 85 teachers needs a system that can be a central resource of information otherwise incidents can occur and other teachers may not be aware of this."
Since the database has been implemented, the Deputy Head can now keep a record of incidents creating a profile of each student and their behaviour throughout their time at the school. She can also search the database by a number of categories including time of day, subject and location, which allows the school to identify trends in where trouble occurs. This helps to ensure more staff and support can be allocated to the areas of greatest need.
The decision to choose a FileMaker based software program was a result of the schools previous success in using FileMaker to monitor, track and report on pupil progress for reporting.
Bob Ratcliffe comments, "When I first started using FileMaker I realised its potential in the use of tracking and monitoring student data. One of the most challenging aspects of creating a solution is satisfying the needs of all parties. I felt using FileMaker would be able to meet the requirements of the deputy head in tracking bad behaviour in the school."
With the help from Andy Marsh, Ratcliffe plans to implement a further FileMaker package in the coming months that will allow teachers at St Anthony's to track the submission of work by sixth form students.
Ratcliffe explains, "It is currently quite difficult tracking students that have submitted work on time. A-Levels are demanding and students need to be on top of work. We therefore want to ensure we have identified problems early on to prevent students from falling behind."
The new system will allow teachers to input notes when students have not handed in work on time and allows teachers within different departments to view to see if this is a common theme for the student. This will then allow the Pastoral leaders or tutors to speak to the pupil and parents about tackling this problem.