Schools have been looking to technology to improve their operational efficiencies for some time, but in 2020, the education technology (EdTech) sector saw a 71.5% growth. This is almost four times the projected year-on-year figure, putting the value of the EdTech market at £3.5bn.
In early 2020, our research found that 9% of surveyed schools were planning to invest in software to foster improvements to their admin processes in the coming year.
And it’s easy to see the reason for this increase in the past year.
With lockdown measures causing extended periods of school closures, all aspects of school life were forced to be conducted online. Schools then had to turn to specialist education technology to be able to run efficiently whilst remote.
Now that the restrictions on UK schools have subsided, and they are back to operating under (mostly) normal conditions, schools are realising more of the lasting benefits that these EdTech solutions can bring.
Software such as Cypad for school meals, Schoolcomms for parental engagement, and Reading Cloud for library management were all created before the pandemic. They provide you with an array of operational benefits to help transform efficiency and improve the school experience for pupils, parents, suppliers, and staff.
Understanding your unique challenges is key for picking the perfect product that can help propel your school to see an improved educational environment. It’s a crowded market full of great software, so why not start with some trusted staples of the UK education landscape?
Safer school meals with Cypad
We want to be able to paint a detailed picture of the current education landscape in schools so that we can foster the development of powerful products that tackle the most pressing issues facing your school.
Having tapped into the experiences of 140,000 parents, one of the School Meal Report’s flagship findings is that some key barriers preventing further school meal uptake are the variety of healthy and dietary choices available on school dinner menus, and the promotion of these options.
Implementing a flexible and transparent meal management system is the first step to successfully overcoming these challenges.
With a software that seamlessly integrates with your MIS while allowing you to label each menu option with nutritional and dietary information, your school will be well on its way to providing a safer, healthier school meal service.
Meal management solutions such as Cypad can help with this.
Cypad’s school meal management solutions empower you to painlessly construct a detailed dinner menu that includes all of the information parents and pupils need for meal pre-orders. This way, they’ll be able to confidently order the appropriate, allergy-safe school meal every lunchtime. This two-way system strengthens the relationship between schools and parents by offering an interactive meal selection process, enabling parents to have full visibility on what their children are eating to guarantee their safety with school meals.
Premium parental engagement with Schoolcomms
Communicating with parents is vital to the running of a successful school, and this function was greatly disrupted as the nationwide lockdown restrictions came into place.
If parental engagement wasn’t enough of a challenge, schools suddenly had to rely solely on digital communications as letters, face-to-face meetings, notice boards, and posters were all off the table.
And these challenges didn’t disappear. When communicating with parents, you’ll always need to navigate their lack of time due to work demands, varying levels English language proficiency, and the cost of effective communication channels such as text messaging, to name a few.
Many schools across the country had to use specialist parental engagement software such as Schoolcomms to effectively facilitate communication between school and home.
With free in-app messaging, you won’t need to worry about overspending on text messaging. You’ll be able to send any number of messages to targeted lists of parents instantly. Make sure they’re simple, digestible, an easy to read for effective communication that reaches your whole parent-base.
Whether they had already invested in a parental engagement solution or made the purchase because of the challenges presented by the pandemic, we’ve heard from our customers that the use of this software has been a lifeline during lockdowns.
When asked what effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their use of Schoolcomms, Todmorden Church of England Primary school said: “We have used the messaging and emails a lot over the pandemic. School Gateway has been invaluable to making sure that information got out to all parents.”
Schools have realised the lasting benefits that parental engagement software can have even after the majority of lockdown restrictions have been lifted.
By removing paper from parent-school communications and bringing parental engagement online, schools have noticed increases in their efficiency and reduced admin tasks, as well as improved relationships with parents who are able to become more involved in their children’s education.
And with the ever-escalating global environment crisis raising question marks over unnecessary use of paper, it’s no wonder that we’ve found that 75% of respondents to our survey are looking to remove paper from their communications in the next 12 months.
Laudable library management with Reading Cloud
Not even the school library is left out of the seemingly all-encompassing digitisation of school life.
Managing a school’s library collection and learning resources simply and effectively is vital for busy librarians.
Without an intuitive system in place, the time taken up by coordinating checkouts and returns, compiling stock, and managing reading lists will consume most librarians with an overload of admin tasks.
With library management systems like Reading Cloud, schools are given the keys to unlock a simple, intuitive, and engaging library experience for staff, parents, and pupils.
During the school closures over the past few years, many schools considered how they could best support their pupils’ learning remotely, with access to key resources in the school library completely removed.
The functionality of moving libraries online opened up many doors for schools and pupils who needed remote access to valuable resources. With Reading Cloud, schools can manage loans, reminders, reports on checked-out books, and give pupils access to all the resources they need during a time when schools were closed but learning continued.
And with their extensive eBook collection, OverDrive, schools were able to keep children reading with diverse digital resources at a time when distributing books wasn’t an option.
Reading Cloud empowers you to create bespoke, targeted reading lists for specific year groups and classes, encouraging pupils to peruse their school library to improve their information seeking skills.
It allows parents to become actively involved in their children’s learning as well. Through the reading Cloud app, parents can have full visibility over their child’s reading habits to become involved with writing, book reviews, and helping their child what to choose next, all the while curating positive attitudes towards reading while fostering engaged communities of educators, senior leaders, pupils, and parents.
A few clicks from the future
UK schools have realised the benefits that EdTech solutions can bring to their operational efficiency and school experience. Even after the national lockdowns have eased, and schools are back to (mostly) operating as normal, the software that schools have used during the pandemic to operate remotely have stuck around, and for good reason.
We know that investing in technology is the most popular area for improvement for schools in the next academic year, and well-established, trusted software such as Cypad, Schoolcomms, and Reading Cloud is a great place to start. We also know that getting parents on board with using your new tech can be a barrier, but don’t let that stop you from investing in your future.
There is a myriad of possible solutions out there, but starting with (or expanding upon) these building blocks will give your school most of what they need to operate a streamlined, efficient school that meaningfully enhances the educational experience for pupils, parents, suppliers, and staff.
But this isn’t the only way that schools are looking to improve efficiency, and there are many more ways in which the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way that UK schools operate.
In our latest whitepaper, ‘Writing the next chapter in education’, we explore the current state of the education landscape in UK schools, putting EdTech under a microscope to analyse how the pandemic has impacted education.
For information on what we found, download your free copy of our whitepaper today: