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The great school return: UK schools reveal increased pressure to do more with less funding and resources

New research from IRIS Software Group (IRIS), one of the UK’s largest privately held software companies, has revealed the majority (87%) of leaders in schools and Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) across the UK were expected to do more with less funding and fewer resources in this academic school year; with 80% saying funding was a barrier to bringing new technology into schools and MATs.

According to the National Audit Office, schools were asked to make savings of £3 billion in 2019-2020. As a result, efficiency is now front of mind for educators looking to roll out or update school technology systems.

The findings support the general feeling of disappointment in the lack of funding provided to support students in catching-up on their education through increased tuition time. The research found the biggest barriers to the introduction of new technology is funding, with 77% of respondents saying this was the first and second most limiting factor.

The pandemic highlighted the need for educators to be able to respond quickly to rapidly changing circumstances, while ensuring minimal disruption to students’ learning. This is reflected in the research, with 76% ready and willing to evolve to new technological solutions, agreeing the immediate and future needs of schools are rooted in on-demand access to Management Information Software (MIS). The benefits of which include improving communication, creating simple audit trails across teams, relieving time pressures, and increasing effectiveness across MATs.

Simon Freeman, MD of Education at IRIS Software Group says “No modern organisation can survive for long without using some sort of MIS to manage the vast amounts of data – the same goes for schools and MATs. Preparing schools for an uncertain future is a key role for educational technology.

“Schools and MATs need the right tools to navigate the requirements of stakeholders – parents, government or the demands of Ofsted. With blended learning here to stay, MIS software must be the cornerstone of education technology to ensure schools and MATs can effectively support the learning outcomes of students and improve their life chances.”

The survey also identified gaps in school technological capabilities; nearly half (44%) of respondents did not have apps for teachers to capture work and assessments. Furthermore, only a quarter (26%) have an online payments platform, and just 39% had the capacity for parents to view student data. A future-fit MIS would need these capabilities, as modules or APIs, in order for all data to be integrated into one repository. This is beneficial so teachers and leaders can have one place with a clear, holistic view of each student’s activities and data, wasting less time on searching for information, and spending more time on educating.

Download the new insights paper titled ‘Are Education Management Information Systems Future-Fit?’, which uncovers the challenges currently faced by schools and MATs.

About the research

IRIS Software Group conducted a reader survey in conjunction with EdExecutive. In total, 265 responses were received. Respondents worked in primary schools, school leadership or business management roles. Geographically, respondents were drawn from all areas of the UK.