Andy Smith, Headteacher at St Aidan’s Church of England
School, explains how switching to School Synergy has
streamlined and transformed the school’s use of systems,
saving time and money, and reaping real benefits.
A complete School System
Q What initially drew you to School Synergy and why did you choose the system?
A “We were very conscious that we were using multiple systems to communicate all of the information that has to go around a very
We saw Synergy in action at another school. It was the combination of lots of different systems into one complete system that impressed us, and we hoped it would be easier for staff, parents and students to use. It would also allow everybody to know what they needed to know at the right time, in the right place and in the right way - and not to know things that they shouldn’t have access to.”
Smooth implementation and
Q Was the change to Synergy and the implementation
of a complete new system a concern for you?
A “This was a big worry for us particularly around
rewards and sanctions and attendance. We knew
we would have to switch over between the old
system and Synergy literally overnight. However,
we were able to get hold of Synergy before that day
came, so we were able to play with the system and
to familiarise ourselves with it.
The implementation was very smooth, partly
because of the support we got from Synergy and
partly because Synergy itself is quite intuitive, so
staff that were wary about it actually found it easier
to use than the previous system. Many of their
worries disappeared quite quickly.”
Adding more scope to school
systems without additional cost
Q Were there any particular modules or areas
that interested you and did you find that the
increased scope benefited the school?
A “We started with attendance and the behaviour
module, we consciously didn’t try and launch
everything at once. There were all sorts of
other things like Homework that we were really
interested in using though. Previously, we
weren’t setting homework in a way that parents
could see and engage with.
We were able to save money just on the cost of
that because Synergy actually cost less money.
People can also see that the system is allowing
us to do things we weren’t able to do before.”
Easy to use, accessible and
Q How did Synergy affect internal
communications and parental engagement
with the school?
A “It is much easier to share information about
students while using the pastoral log module.
Relevant information about students, including
SEND information and medical information,
is all much more accessible to staff now and
that is really appreciated by teachers. It is
also appreciated by pastoral staff who were
having to make sure this information was
communicated in a usable easily accessible
“The previous system we were using did allow
for parental engagement, but we have found a
greater level of engagement using Synergy. We are
certainly finding parents are engaging with Synergy
who we might not have expected to. Because of the
logging ability we have on Synergy we know exactly
who those parents are.”
Affordable - keeping money
Q Has the change over to Synergy resulted in cost
savings for the school?
A “Synergy has saved us money in a very obvious and
clear way, because the annual costs of the School
Synergy system are less than the annual cost of any
one of the packages we were using for behaviour,
attendance and other systems before.
There are other less quantifiable savings in aspects
such as printing things and passing them around but
I think the biggest unquantifiable cost is staff time,
because that costs money! It may not be reflected
in the school’s budget, but teachers’ time and other
members of staff’s time is very valuable and if you
can do something that saves money there then that’s
Tangible, positive impacts
Q Has School Synergy had an impact on Saint Aidan’s
and has the change been a positive experience?
A “The impact has definitely been positive. We are
expanding it, using more modules and gradually
rolling those out. It is then having a larger and larger
impact on the school.
The impact is so wide ranging. The communication
of information is integral to the school working
effectively and being able to meet the needs of
Synergy is certainly having a positive impact and I
am sure it will continue to do so”.
Thank you to all at Saint Aidan’s for taking the time to
share their experiences of School Synergy.
Vicky Fogg, School Synergy Partner