This is a guest blog by an Enterprise Marketplace Partner

SchoolsBuddy is a hosted solution, bridging the gap between your MIS and your VLE, and offers a single sign-on (SSO) through your VLE or Active Directory. We are pleased to share a case study from SchoolsBuddy where Katie Gallagher, Extra-Curricular Sports Coordinator, and Caron Davies, Director of ECA, at The British School of Brussels (BSB) discuss how they are using SchoolsBuddy for schools to manage their extensive extra-curricular programmes in conjunction with iSAMS and Firefly.

Founded in 1969, BSB is an all-through international school with 1,350 students from 70 nationalities. While academic results consistently exceed expectations, students are also actively encouraged to achieve their goals outside of the classroom; discovering talents through extra-curricular activities. The BSB activities programme has been designed to enhance the sense of community and togetherness at the school, helping students become settled more quickly, integrate faster with their classmates and better develop their goals and interests

Previously, the school announced most of the extra-curricular clubs and activities through email. An activity schedule would be emailed out to parents and most clubs would run on a drop-in basis, with only those having a maximum number of attendees requiring parents to pre-register by email. However, in 2014, as the scale of the activities schedule grew, the decision was made to bring all externally managed activities in-house, including the extensive swimming programme and a variety of previously parent-led clubs. The lack of any structured sign-up or activity registration system meant numbers attending clubs could not be managed and, from a safe-guarding perspective, it was very difficult to identify the whereabouts of individuals during extra-curricular periods. With the school now having 1,350 pupils and close to 200 different activities taking place each week (before school, at lunchtime and in two time slots after school), there came the growing realisation that the current system was logistically unsustainable. As a result, SchoolsBuddy’s extra-curricular software was introduced in September 2015.

Parents were notified of the new extra-curricular sign-up process in June 2015 and provided with a handbook detailing the new activity registration system launching in September. The school has approximately a 20% student turnover each year and the handbook has continued to prove invaluable for new parents. With SchoolsBuddy, parents and children can easily see which activities are available to them and pre-registration has undoubtedly increased participation, as well as encouraging a continued commitment to an activity throughout the term. The allocation of places to over-subscribed activities using SchoolsBuddy’s ‘random by preference’ process is also seen as much fairer.

‘Online registration’ training sessions were given to teachers and coaches to ensure attendance was taken at every club, whether on a computer in the classroom or using iPads. As a result, the school central administration team can easily identify ‘who is where’ during extra-curricular periods and tutors also have access to activity attendance data for their tutor group to use in mentoring sessions. Moving forward, the school intends to make greater use of SchoolsBuddy’s participation data to identify both where participation rates are low and what improvements can be made.

“We have a huge extra-curricular programme, running over 200 different sports and activity schedules each week, aside from fixtures, matches and trips, and, without SchoolsBuddy, we would simply not be able to manage these efficiently. Extra-curricular participation levels have increased, as has students’ commitment to their sport and activity choices.”

- Caron Davies, Director of ECA at The British School of Brussels

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