Using SharePoint as a tracking system to support Online Reporting to Parents.

September 25, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Reporting, SharePoint, Twynham School 

One of the things many schools have moved over to in the last few years is full registration of tutor time electronically. Increasing numbers are moving over to also electronically registering individual lessons as part of the Online Reporting to Parents agenda. We are now a year into compulsory registration of lessons online having decided to make this data available to parents through our Parent Gateway. The big issue of course is teachers forget to register lessons. I certainly did yesterday with my year 11 class and with over 400 lessons a day at our school it only takes a small percentage of missed registers and data that parents are reading on the Parent Gateway has gaps.

How does a school combat this? Well for us we have two systems which work within SharePoint to act as reminders to staff. The first is an area on the Gateway which triggers when a lesson has not been registered. This is simply called ‘lessons not registered’ and appears in a very visible place opposite timetable and cover.

Lessons not registered appear on staff homepage

Lessons not registered appear on specific staff homepage- click to enlarge

When a teacher forgets to register a lesson the details will appear on their page in black. I mention the colour because if the register is not moved by the following day it  turns red to be more visable (and this genuinely works when we ask staff).

Of course in the busy times even a reminder on the site can be missed if a teacher is running around with full days. To help with this we have an administrator who spends 15 minutes a day sending out second reminders. How do they know who has not done their registers? On the Staff Homepage of SharePoint their is an area called lesson by lesson registration. By clicking on this the screen below appears.

Administrator tool to check lessons not registered- click to enlarge

Administrator tool to check lessons not registered- click to enlarge

This shows a calendar with 3 options, Key Stages 3.4 and 5. Clicking on a radial button the administrator can then click on a date and it brings all missed lessons up. The administrator then sends an email reminder out to staff. This has proved hugely successful in giving us near perfect data for parents and making single lesson truancy almost impossible.

Online Reporting to Parents Student Details

One of the Web Parts we have completed for Online Reporting to Parents is the Student Details. This has been available all year but I have not blogged about it as I would only be able to show you a blur given these are personal details. One of the developers at Twynham School has very kindly created a mock up to show the look and feel of the Web Part which can be seen below.

Student Details Web Part

Student Details Web Part

The Web Part is intended to be a simple reference for teachers when searching students so that they can quickly search for and contact a parent. At the same time when parents log in to the Parent Gateway they see their key details immediately. This ensures that parents are more likely to update us of their details if they move house or change numbers. Students can also see their own details when they log in to their ‘My Progress’ section.

Online Reporting to Parents licensing in SharePoint

July 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: SharePoint 

Yesterday I started a new theme looking at Online Reporting to Parents using SharePoint. If you haven’t read my previous article it makes sense to pick it up here first before reading this one.  In my role as a SharePoint Consultant I have been to over 100 schools this year and many of them are looking to setup SharePoint or extend it by offering access to parents and Online Reporting. By far the biggest question and confusion surrounding this is the issue of CALs or Client Access Licenses and the External Connector License. Many schools have been advised that they will need to purchase additional CALs and pay for an External Connector License when they provide logins to parents. At the same time some schools have been told that this is not necessary.

Clarification from Microsoft

I have asked Microsoft for clarification with this issue and Ray Fleming has responded with a blog within 24 hours of my question (thanks Ray) clearing it all up. Rather than repeating what he has said it makes sense to simply ask you to click here to read the post.

Online Reporting to Parents Web Parts.

As we approach the end of the school year I thought I would return to a really important topic which will be top of the agenda in the next school year. I am of course talking about Online Reporting to Parents which must be completed by all secondary schools by the end of the next school year. At Twynham School we produced Online Reporting to Parents Web Parts for SharePoint two years ago before the government agenda. We have now made these available for sale in a partnership with Salamander Soft, a leading MIS/SharePoint Integration company. I have already written about the following Web Parts (see below 1-5) which have been produced for use with SIMS, Facility CMIS and now RM G2. Please click on the links below for a detailed set of blogs showing the specification of each Web Part.

  1. Timetable Web Part
  2. Attendance Web Parts
  3. Reports Web Parts
  4. Assessment Web Part
  5. Online Reporting to Parents page

Tomorrow I will start to cover the new Web Parts we have been producing to add to our current range and what we plan to be working on over the summer. If you would like further details in terms of annual licenses and installation you can contact me by email at