The British International School of Stavanger, Norway, was founded in 1977 and is recognised for its high quality provision and holistic approach to education. Anne Howells, the Principal, discusses why they chose UK based software product SchooliP to manage their professional development.
To start, we were keen to find out what system Stavanger used for managing their professional development processes:
“Before we implemented SchooliP into our school, all of our processes were paper based; this included all of our performance management and staff appraisals.
We found that the main disadvantage of a paper based system was that it was too easy for it to become buried in all the other paper and demands of the job. It wasn’t so easy for staff to take ownership of their performance management, and managers often had to remind some members of staff to be proactive. With it being solely in the hands of the manager, its success was reliant on the line manager also setting aside time to do it. The very nature of school life means unexpected incidents occur all the time so it is very easy for a managers’ time scheduling to slip and as a result performance management processes can easily slip too!
Staff found gathering and recording paper based evidence an additional task and unfortunately some documents could easily go missing. The constraints of a paper based system meant it wasn’t easy to regularly update evidence and also made it harder to store important information and evidence."
How did you feel SchooliP solved these problems?
SchooliP makes the professional development process more obvious to staff and gives continuous professional development value.Anne Howells, Principal
“It makes the whole professional development process obvious for staff, their agreed objectives and standards are right in front of them and these are very easily accessible at any point throughout the year. They themselves can identify if they are slipping, even if this is unintentionally, and can rectify it before it comes to an interim review or end of year appraisal. What I have observed is that as a result of SchooliP, it makes the professional development process more obvious to staff, gives continuous professional development value and brings it more to the forefront of their priorities.
SchooliP has completely changed the perception of performance management for staff, it is no longer perceived as something that is done to staff as it is now done by staff. Staff objectives and standards are all very visible within their own portfolio; seeing it as an online document with the ability to very easily add and link evidence empowers staff to take control of their own performance. I think it’s powerful that teachers have the ability to rate their own performance against standards so this is now no longer only controlled by managers.
Observations have become a more objective process by following predefined criteria or standards within SchooliP and these are completed in real-time.”
SchooliP is completely flexible to the types of observation you want to carry out, in addition the gradings (if any) can be completely tailored to your schools’ policy. All of this information can be completed in real time, automatically uploaded and linked to staff members’ objectives or an area for development for the school. This saves significant time as you no longer have to write up findings or outcomes, manually correlate these against objectives or development points and all of this information can be accessed whenever needed or exported as preassembled reports!
“SchooliP helps to eliminate those ‘awkward’ or ‘uncomfortable’ conversations; it is very clear what each member of staff must do and what evidence must be linked as the required elements are very clear. It puts the responsibility for professional development very much in the hands of the teacher.
SchooliP gives staff the ability to have their say and make any justifications to explain why something may not be quite as it should. Managers can see these comments and offer help or assistance as and when it is required. As this forms part of a staff members’ portfolio, we can ensure that they are getting the assistance they need and any issues are resolved. Staff can be confident that the evidence is there should they ever need it and can very easily access it.
A key advantage of SchooliP is that I can directly link School Development Plan activities to individual staff members’ objectives. Staff as a result can see how they are directly impacting the improvement of the school and, as the Principal, I can clearly see how our school is progressing with our development points. At any point throughout the year I can check the progress towards achieving development plan activities, review any supporting evidence and action any next steps.”
As an international school, how does SchooliP meet your needs?
Everyone is an integral part of the system, they contribute their part and ensure that everything is completed as planned.Anne Howells, Principal
“SchooliP provides proof of our rigorous school processes, so should something be requested during an ISI inspection we can very easily demonstrate what we have done or are doing to rectify it. In addition, as the system is online, if somebody is absent or unavailable our processes do not stop – as everyone is an integral part of the system they can continue to contribute their part and ensure that everything is completed as planned.”
Any text within SchooliP can be changed to suit the language you prefer to use, known as ‘dictionary changes’. SchooliP can also be converted to your native language should this be requested. SchooliP also supports a range of different standards and forms allowing you to select whichever suits you. Additionally, the software is developed in-house and is flexible enough to be configured to seamlessly blend with your school processes.
How easy was it to implement SchooliP as an international school and how have you found the support by SchooliP?
“Implementation of the system was very easy; as it’s online all we need to do is login! I have to say, the support has been great. Claire is always readily available and very patient. For those not particularly IT literate, the new version of SchooliP is very easy to use and navigate. I can very easily go through the system and use the handy system navigation to guide me to the right areas.”
All support and online training is completely free for the life of your subscription and SchooliP has a nurturing stream for all new customers to ensure they’re fully setup with the software and are actively making the most out of it. In addition, every customer has their own dedicated account manager who keeps in touch on a regular basis and ensures everything continues to run smoothly.
Stavanger have taken advantage of the new version of SchooliP. As part of the subscription, you receive upgrades to the system completely free. We actively listen to feedback from our customers and implement those changes into the software; in fact, the new version of the software included 488 customer requested enhancements!
What would you tell another school if they were considering SchooliP?
It’s a reliable system that works well and has all the ‘bells and whistles’ that you would ever need.Anne Howells, Principal
“We have found the system extremely beneficial for performance management. It’s a reliable system that works well and has all the ‘bells and whistles’ that you would ever need; it has lesson observations, reminders for staff and provides the opportunity for staff to take complete ownership of their performance.”
We are thrilled that Anne and the British International School of Stavanger are taking advantage of the new version of SchooliP. We look forward to continuing to support Stavanger with their school performance and improvement processes.
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