Established in 1570, Bury Grammar School is proud of being both a traditional and forward-looking family of Schools which places their students at the heart of everything they do
Offering the highest standards in academic provision, extra-curricular activities and pastoral care, Bury Grammar aims to engage and challenge students whilst fostering intellectual curiosity and a love of learning; meaning that their students leave the school well-prepared for happy and successful lives in the future.
UK Independent group of grammar schools
Established in 1570
Looking for a single platform to unite our group of schools
We began looking for an alternative school management information system in March 2017. At this time, we had two separate systems with the same MIS provider, which didn’t speak to one another or allow us to share data between them.
This was particularly problematic for us as a group of five schools that we were looking to bring together under the umbrella Diamond model. It had become quite a convoluted process to access both separate systems and we quickly realised we needed something that offered us better data-sharing functionalities, enabling us to more effectively pool our resources.
iSAMS clearly came out on top in terms of supporting us in our goal of moving each of our schools forward through a single interface
Now, using one system, our members of staff can flexibly teach across each of our schools without us having to duplicate work by inputting their details into the system twice.
Something else that’s particularly important for us, being based across multiple sites, is that the system can be accessed anywhere whenever we need it. Having a web-based system that truly works has saved us so much time across each of our schools.
We were under no illusion about what to expect when it came to migrating from one MIS to another, and the team at iSAMS was very clear in laying out the process for us. It was never going to be a five-minute exercise, and there was always going to be a degree of back and forth to ensure our data transferred accurately, but communicating with iSAMS throughout was very useful.
A lot of the time spent extracting data from our old system went on ensuring that each field corresponded correctly to those stipulated on our data sheets and that everything we collected was checked thoroughly. It was essentially a due diligence exercise, with a lot of data cleansing and checking, but it did mean that we could be confident using this information moving forwards with iSAMS.
It’s not just my team benefitting from their time being saved by iSAMS. It’s now so quick and easy to access data, members of staff across our schools can get all the information they need directly from the MIS.
Using the iSAMS system
We went live with iSAMS in September 2018 and held a staff inset that covered some of the basics; because the system is so intuitive, our staff quickly picked these up with minimal training required.
What’s even better is that, as the first port of call when someone’s struggling to use the system, I only received a few ‘help’ requests in the first few weeks and these soon dropped off. Now the only request we really see is people asking for more permissions, which is relatively simple for us to manage.
It’s not just my team benefitting from their time being saved by iSAMS. It’s now so quick and easy to access data, members of staff across our schools no longer need to go and see ‘that person’ to ask ‘that question’ because they can get all the information they need directly from the MIS.
We had some procedures put in place to ensure everyone got onboard with the new system, setting a level of expectation of use that we clearly defined to our staff members, but it’s just so effortless to use that no one needed too much encouragement.
We worked very closely with our iSAMS Installer and went in with our eyes open and a clear strategy in place. This meant we could be confident using the data we’d collected moving forwards with iSAMS.
Using iSAMS to encourage parental involvement
Despite only going live in September, by November we were rolling out the Parent Portal and iParent App. These features have been particularly significant for us as we’re currently encouraging a home-school learning initiative, which hasn’t really been supported by previous school management information systems.
I’m also a parent here, so I get to experience the Portal and App from both perspectives, and I love how slick and easy they are to use – so much so that we’re planning on rolling out more modules through them soon. We’ve also established a weekly newsletter surrounding the iParent App and are encouraging parents to download the app at key opportunities, such as when school reports are released.
I’m also a parent here, so I get to experience the Parent Portal and iParent App from both perspectives, and I love how slick and easy they are to use – so much so that we’re planning on using these channels to communicate with parents even more in the future.
Head of IT Services, Ben Whitaker
What happens if something goes wrong?
iSAMS’ Support team has been efficient in dealing with any issues we’ve had, keeping us informed at every stage so I know exactly what’s happening with our ticket; which department it’s with and what’s being done with it, so I can be certain that it’s being actioned within the Support system. When we have experienced any issues, most have been sorted very quickly.
The Support team has been efficient in dealing with any issues we’ve had, keeping us informed at every stage so I can be certain that our ticket is being actioned within the Support system.
Head of IT Services, Ben Whitaker
iSAMS has been a success for us. It has collated all our key school information across multiple sites and stored it in one intuitive and workable system.
It’s easily accessible for key users within the school community and has helped join each of our schools together.
iSAMS is also transparent when it comes to future development work and where the product is going, demonstrating a continued investment in their system and its evolution.