The complete (IRIS Education) package for Cranbrook School!

With so many EdTech solutions available to schools, you can see how many find themselves in a position where they have 10+ different providers for their education management. For Cranbrook School in Kent, this was certainly the case, and when they decided to switch MIS, they felt it was a good time to reassess all their EdTech needs.

Multiple products, multiple providers

We spoke to the Bursar at Cranbrook School, Karen Radford, about their decision to review their software. She tells us, “I think with most schools, you buy the product you need when you need it. Most use a certain well-known MIS and for a while that was just accepted as the choice to be made, but when you find it no longer meets the needs you have, you’ve got to have a look at what other providers are out there. You then find there are solutions like IRIS Education which have a whole suite of products, that not only meet your needs but do so better than the mismatch of products you’ve currently got in place. One system with integrated products and one provider to speak to – what a simpler way of doing things.”

Previously using an MIS, a separate finance system that didn’t integrate with anything else, and outsourcing their payroll, with little insight into their data, the team knew they needed to have better technology in place to support their back-office needs.

“Our admissions were an issue, we wanted to have better monitoring and oversight of our admissions and where we were getting our students from. When we were looking at adding yet another system to help with this, we decided to look for a more complete management information system that encompasses all those areas, to stop the duplication of work.”

An MIS you don’t want to miss

IRIS Ed:gen is a smart, next-generation school management information system, which saves staff time and promotes informed decision-making, meaningful intervention, and sustainable growth.

Karen says, “There's a lot of things we like about Ed:gen. The integration of all the different packages, the range of information that’s available, the ease of the system – it’s far more straightforward than our previous MIS and yet you can do so much more with it. It’s helping us to become paperless which is something that is really important to us. Being able to do so much digitally means processes are more efficient: there’s no paper to keep on top of, and there’s less administrative work to do. It has streamlined many of our processes.”

“Another thing that we were impressed by on Ed:gen was the parent and student portals. I’ve never seen kids excited about having access to a student portal before, and these were Year 12 boys I was trialing it with! What they see is really impressive and it’s easy for us to manage.”

The complete package from one provider

IRIS Education software connects people with data, creating intelligent insights to help educators make better decisions and deliver smarter outcomes for pupils. Smarter technology means smarter data, which lets schools and trusts make smarter decisions that achieve better outcomes for pupils.

Karen tells us, “We were very happy with Ed:gen so decided it made sense to invest further with IRIS Education. We bought IRIS Financials a year after Ed:gen, using this as an opportunity to incorporate all the DfE codes. The Department for Education is pushing schools to go down that route and so we wanted to get ahead of it and get it done. We then realised we needed to change our payroll model because it was being outsourced and that wasn’t working for us. We decided to bring in Every for our HR, and Dataplan for our payroll.

“Our members of staff each have a portal where they can view payslips, complete timesheets, request absences, and manage their targets, all in one place. It’s a very smooth process and has been really well received by staff.”

“The other product that we’re really getting into now is IRIS Central, which consolidates all of our data, giving us a drilled-down insight into attendance, behaviour, staff absences, etc. This is a fantastic tool that allows us to view our data so easily and integrates seamlessly with the other products we have in place.”

Going paperless for a sustainable future

For Cranbrook School, going paperless is a key mission for the future, and with IRIS Education that now seems possible. Karen tells us, “Another fantastic benefit of all the products, from IRIS ParentMail to Financials, Ed:gen to Central, is that it’s all paperless. The requisition point in Financials, is an example: the whole approval process can now be done online, which means it starts with the administrator, is sent directly to the department for approval, automatically gets sent to finance, and then generates an order. Invoices are then automatically linked up. So, everything is in one place, it’s easy to find and navigate around, you can see where it is in the process with ease, and it’s a huge timesaver.

“Reports are now generated at the touch of a button. My old finance system was really out of date; it couldn’t produce all the reports we needed for the governing body. But now, if you have all your data where it needs to be, it will not only give you reports but will even do the KPIs for you as well, which our governors are delighted with!”

The future of education – ever-advancing technology

The world of education is filled with complexities, and we know that the challenges, and needs of schools, are always changing. That’s why we’re always developing and improving our software so that we can support schools and trusts to stay ahead.

“Our previous MIS was what it was, and there were no changes or developments to the technology, which meant it quickly became stagnant. What I love about IRIS Education is that the technology is always improving, and customer feedback is part of the process which means we’re getting the software we need. I think that’s so telling in the products you have, this is software that has been created with the end user in mind, and it’s evolving all the time.”

“I can’t recommend IRIS Education enough. Even just Ed:gen as an MIS, I would highly recommend. Bringing in a new MIS is always going to be disruptive, and change isn’t always welcomed in schools, but my advice would be don’t try and put your structure and processes into the system – instead, work out how the system can work for you, and you’ll soon see the benefits. As a school, we’ve seen improvements across so many departments since moving – to have an MIS that talks to your finance system, that’s something we’ve not had for the past 20 years! We have our staff, our students, and our parent's information all in one place, which means we can update one record and it’s done across all our systems. I just cannot recommend it enough.”

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