The management of boarding schools faces a number of challenges on a daily basis. They are responsible for academic excellence and look out for students’ well-being all around the clock. Ensuring that all staff work together and share information is essential to providing the best possible level of care for students. Cloud-based software can go a long way in alleviating some of the challenges around student safety and sharing relevant information among staff. Here we are going to look at some of the challenges of running boarding schools and how they can be solved.
1. Follow students
Besides education, one of the most significant responsibilities of a boarding school is to keep its students safe and happy. When it comes to security, schools need robust systems to know where each of their students is. In an emergency, information must be available quickly and from anywhere in the school. Paper-based systems or spreadsheets are distributed across campus. In an emergency, staff should collect each exit sheet and compare each list to understand if any students are missing. An online system makes it easy for staff and students to record movements, and with a cloud-based system, any team member can see where students are at the time.
A student's time at boarding school can span several formative years. Providing them with the best possible level of pastoral care can significantly affect their present and future well-being. Setting up an online system to help manage the school's rural policy can help staff work together to provide comprehensive care around the clock. One of the challenges of pastoral care is to keep all relevant staff members informed of new information or changes.
3. Management of student leave
The nature of a boarding school is such that students come and go at different times and for various activities. Whatever the reason for the student's leave, it must be appropriately approved and responsibility for the child's safety duly delegated. Boarding ware allows time off requests to be submitted by the student or a parent, and the school can determine its approval pathways. Notifications are sent automatically, eliminating any additional administration for boarding school staff. Terms and conditions can be defined as part of the approval process, and different clauses are added for each party giving consent to the application. This allows the school to ensure that non-parental hosts, such as those looking after international students for short breaks, understand their responsibilities in looking after the student during the leave period.
4. Secure your data
Schools collect data about their students and parents to inform their academic and pastoral decisions – but that means they must take responsibility for keeping that information secure. Paper-based systems present challenges in that there must be adequate physical storage, fast enough that unauthorized people cannot access it, but open enough that the teachers involved can use it to inform their care. Moving to an online system makes it much easier for staff to access student data from anywhere on campus or at home and ensures that it cannot be lost in the event of fire or burglary.
5. Operating costs
Although many independent schools are set up as charitable trusts, they must act like a business to continue operating. Long-term and short-term strategic and financial planning is essential for the organization. This means understanding what students need and using it to ensure funds are directed appropriately for boarding school management.
6. Development, grants, and financial aid.
All of this can be a little intimidating. One of your goals is to have as diverse a student body as possible. But that, in turn, means having a large enough pool of financial aid to attract applicants from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. It makes sense to follow the example of several large boarding schools and develop financial support specifically for the pool of financial assistance. You will need a professional development staff member to execute your plan. Don't dwell on this area.
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