The start of the new academic year is fast approaching and many school administrators will be looking to update their MIS systems and processes. 

We understand that making lists and cross-checking them against last year’s work can feel like you’re spinning plates, so we want to help by breaking down your preparation into more manageable chunks. 

Take a look at the key areas that you and your team need to cover for the new school year and how your management information system (MIS) can support you with that:

Processing new admissions

One of the first things you’ll need to consider is ensuring that you have all the relevant and correct information to formally process new admissions so they become current students within your MIS.

Solutions such as our online Admissions software make this even easier, as much of this data will already have been collected and stored via the online forms that feature on your school’s website. The information prospective parents fill in here will be automatically uploaded to the iSAMS MIS.

The checklist of items to manage new student records in your MIS includes:

  • Set the status of all new students as ‘Current’, ensuring they’re placed in the correct Year, Form and House – with an enrolment date.
  • Enter all necessary medical data for new students, including highlighting any important health concerns.
  • Input all SEN details for new students, if known.
  • Ensure all new students have their Census information completed if known.
  • Ensure all new students have a valid enrolment date recorded.

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Updating student information

It’s not just the new students you’ll need to take care of – you’ll also need to ensure that all information for current students is up-to-date, including: a record for family trees, census information, discipline records, passport and visa details, individual health records, and more.

All of this is easy to continuously update throughout the school year via the iSAMS Student Manager; a comprehensive module dedicated to managing key student information simply and effectively, so you don’t have to do it in one haul at the start of each new year or term.

The checklist of items to manage existing student records in your MIS includes:

  • Review the medical conditions of your students to ensure you have the most up-to-date information and that the medical health note has been updated to reflect any changes.
  • Complete the Administrative Rollover and ensure all existing students are allocated to the correct Year, Form and House.
  • Change the status of all students who’ve left the school to ‘Former’ and include leaving details – such as their ‘Leaving Date’ and ‘Year’.
  • Create all new detentions for the new term. Plus, you may also want to add the detentions for the entire academic year to give yourself a head start.
  • Make sure any new form groups have been created and each pupil is allocated to a form or tutor group.

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Managing new and existing members of staff

At the beginning of a new school year, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll find yourself introducing new starters to the team and/or saying goodbye to some colleagues.

Whether you're using our full HR solution or our HR Manager module, we can help support you with all the administrative elements of recruitment processes and looking after your existing workforce, from managing applications from both current and former staff members to storing key contact details – all of which can be displayed or remain private depending on your school’s policy.

It also makes it easy for your HR department to access enrolment details, census information, archive details and notes, and manage staff absences.

The following can be added to the MIS checklist for the start of the new school year:

  • Consider how many staff members will need to be on-site if some of your students work remotely and set up facilities to record this in your MIS.
  • Review your school’s policies on visitors, communicating this to your Reception and school office staff.
  • Add all new staff members to your MIS.
  • Correctly allocate staff members to their division.
  • Create new MIS ‘User Accounts’ for new starters.
  • Archive all staff members who’ve left the school.
  • Ensure all User Accounts for members of staff who’ve left have been either disabled or deleted, depending on your school policy.

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Budgeting and financial management

Top of the Bursary’s list entering a new school year is ensuring that all your fixed assets have been registered, anticipated expenditures calculated and budgets securely allocated. Following the launch of our cloud-based iFinance solution, you’re now able to seamlessly bring academic, wellbeing, administrative and fee billing elements together with a comprehensive accounting system, helping you eliminate unnecessary duplication of work and avoid costly mistakes.

The following items can be added to your new year checklist:

  • Create the new Fee Billing Cycles for the new academic year.
  • Update your Fixed Asset Register, accounting for any changes following school closures.
  • If you have new staff members joining your Finance Team, ensure the correct permissions are allocated for system access and raising and approving POs etc.
  • Edit the Fee amounts if Fees have changed for the new academic year.
  • If Fixed Direct Debits are used, the Fees should be allocated for the year in advance for these students.
  • Check the number of siblings in the school for the new academic year and apply any discounts accordingly.
  • Add/check scholarship and bursary discounts for all new and existing students.

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Preparing your school groupings

Ensuring that your school’s key grouping structures are accurate and updated are critical to easily managing all classes, academic and boarding houses, year groups, and pastoral tutors. With iSAMS, our School Manager module was designed for this very reason, to help you run your school as smoothly as possible.

For your checklist of items to update:

  • Add School Terms for the new school year.
  • Delete last year’s Forms and add new Forms if required.
  • Add new Houses if the school structure has changed.
  • Create new Pastoral Tutors and remove past Tutors.

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Where would your school be without well-organised timetables everyone can access? Another critical task for readying your management information system (MIS) for the start of the new academic year is organising your timetables. You’ll need to produce them quickly and so they’re filterable by student, form, teacher, room, subject, department and/or academic year.

The best companion for this is our Timetable Manager, which enables you to create unlimited timetables and supports uploads from various formats, including simple Excel spreadsheets. Not only this but you’re able to log every action so you can view any changes made and by whom, in addition to adding staff meetings, year schedules, teacher availability, and prep timetables – all whilst programming timetables to highlight any potential clashes or other issues.

Your checklist of items for managing timetabling includes:

  • Ensure access to online learning environments for teachers and students, where appropriate.
  • Create and share a timetabling structure that supports social distancing guidelines for each class and year group.
  • Ensure any year groups not in school or not currently being taught face-to-face can still access key school information through your MIS.
  • Complete the Academic Rollover and import the timetable for the new academic year.
  • Create cover cycles for the new academic year.
  • Once imported, ensure the new Timetable has been linked to the ‘Current Academic Year’ and is ‘Published’.
  • Double-check the Timetable to ensure it’s accurate and avoids any clashes or other potential issues.
  • Allocate weeks within the Timetable.
  • Add staff meetings, tutorials and 1-2-1’s to the Timetable.
  • Ensure additional availability has been added, such as part-time working hours and staff duties.
  • Adjust any headers (including the PDF header) so they feature the new school year, to avoid potential confusion surrounding the current timetable.
  • Update activity groups to reflect the new academic year, either adding new activity groups and students, or extending the date of existing activity groups.
  • Be certain that each student only has one lesson per period.

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Set up your Gradebooks

The Gradebooks module provides a refined data entry system for teachers to record marks and grades for their students throughout the year, helping them to monitor student progress.

Here's your new school year checklist for Gradebooks:

  • If you're using Gradebooks for the first time, you'll need to configure Gradebooks to suit your school setup. 
  • Set up new gradebooks and delete gradebooks that aren't being used with the Gradebooks wizard.
  • Archive all relevant gradebooks before completing your general school rollover. Simply select the gradebooks you want to archive from the 'Manage Gradebooks' screen and select the ‘Archive’ option from the drop-down in the top right of the screen.

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Setting up registration

The final crucial component we’re covering in our checklist is ensuring that student registration runs smoothly and efficiently. MIS modules such as our Registration Manager will enable you to do much more than simply registering students as present or absent; you can store key information surrounding how late students are, reasons behind any absences, attendance outside of traditional registration times, and more.

Your checklist of items to include for managing the school register efficiently includes:

  • Check that registration rules contain any new Forms, Houses or Teaching sets.
  • Create new registration periods and, if the period is for Lesson Registration, ensure that it ends exactly one minute before the start of the subsequent period.
  • Delete any registration periods that fall within a weekend or school holidays.
  • Make sure the Fire Register works correctly.
  • You may also want to set up the registration periods for the whole academic year (rather than just doing the first term), to save you time later on in the year.

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Help your staff brush up on iSAMS

If you have new staff starting or just want to ensure your current staff members are feeling confident using iSAMS when they return to school, you can set up inset training or additional training for specific modules:

  • Make staff aware of our brand new iUniversity website, featuring lessons and interactive courses on key iSAMS topics to help them complete training at a time and place that's convenient to them.
  • Arrange inset training with a member of our expert training team.
  • Arrange any relevant module training sessions.

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Already using iSAMS?

If you would like to find out more about our Apps or modules to support your school please get in touch with your Customer Account Manager

Not an iSAMS school?

Did you know that you can still benefit from our powerful data analytics software, iSAMS Central? Driven by Power BI, Central can connect to any MIS, enabling you to truly harness your school's data story for improved staff and student outcomes. Understand your school performance this new academic year with Central.