Saint Aidan’s C of E School Case Study

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
complex institution.

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 excellent support

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 increasing engagement

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 way”

“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 in education

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 really useful.”

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 our children.

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

Andy Smith, Headteacher, Saint Aidan's Church of England High SchoolQuote from Mr Smith about School Synergy, extracted from article -
  • Why Synergy?... It was the ability to combine lots of different systems into one system that is easier to use for staff, parents and students... Any Smith, Headteacher, Saint Aidans C of E High School
  • Previously, whenever behaviour was discussed it was mainly focused on the negative but with Synergy in place we have able to spin this on its head and have a bigger focus on rewards and achievements. Neil Clitheroe, Lostock Hall Academy
  • Strategies and Provision ave helped us manage the support for our disadvantaged students and SEND... Its an easy tool to help support students in lessons. Neil Clitheroe, Lostock Hall Academy
  • It is the bringing everything together thats the best thing about Synergy. Everything is in one place so we dont have to go searching around for information on different students in different places... Neil Clitheroe, Lostock Hall Academy
  • Parents were a little bit reluctant, but it was exactly like the experience with staff, as soon as they understood how much power they had at their fingertips they were very rapidly on board. Sam Haydock, Head of School, The Hollins
  • Support is absolutely fantastic. What has been very, very useful is having a School Partner, because Synergy responds so rapidly, its been really useful having that one port of call. Sam Haydock, Head of School, The Hollins
  • Communication across school has improved exponentially. Staff are informed of issues that they need to be aware of, via their home page, in real time... our pastoral care of all students has been enhanced. Anthony Lord, Saint Aidans C of E High School
  • The previous system did allow for parental engagement, but we have found a greater level of engagement with parents using Synergy and it has helped to build really good relationships with parents. Andy Smith, Saint Aidans C of E High School
  • Synergy has very much helped with maintaining contact with school/teachers. I am able to see and monitor my childs progress, homework etc... This system is excellent to support my childs needs and development. Parent at Academy @ Worden
  • Synergy is a step forward towards good communication - It is helpful to see my childs grades, homework and, not to have to rely on my child to deliver letters to me! Parent at Academy @ Worden
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