The Hollins Case Study

Sam Haydock, Head of School at The Hollins, discusses her reasons for bringing in School Synergy and how the system has brought real benefits, supporting and improving the way that the school works.

An effective system for Behaviour and better parental engagement

Q What brought you to School Synergy and why did you adopt the system?

A “We were looking for a more effective parental communication system, our last one was quite restricted. There was a time factor involved in going backwards and forwards to people to ask them to pass messages on to parents. This was inefficient and unacceptable because parental engagement is a huge part of our plan for school improvement for the next few years.

Synergy came to my attention through two things. We’ve quite a few parents with children in another local school that use Synergy and they said that, from a parental point of view, it is absolutely fantastic - everything is to hand.

Also, as Head of School I have what’s called a professional buddy, if you like, and his school had just taken it on and he told me that Synergy was really supportive.

People don’t like change, and going online is a whole different ball game. We were paper everywhere before Synergy came on board with us. So, 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 and we have had lots of advice from Synergy as well.

Some of our parents had a shock to the system, but without fail it has enabled us to help build really good relationships with parents.

What we got with Synergy, though, was far more than just the parental communication and behaviour system.”

Easy implementation and on-boarding

Q How did you find the on-boarding and implementation process?

A “Really easy. At the time we were having significant network and IT issues, so I did have a concern as to whether we would be able to run it or not, and who would be our go to person in school with regards to the technical side. But all of that was fantastically dealt with by Synergy and the team, who talked us through what we needed to do.

Before we knew it we were on-board and online and it was all systems go. Whenever we phoned up with any questions or queries either before the launch or in the first week or so, they absolutely knew that we were a new user to the system and had everything in place ready for us, so it was absolutely seamless, it was just moving from one system to another within the space of a day and it was completely and utterly managed by Synergy at their end.”

Excellent support and School Partnership

Q How have you found the support from Synergy?

A “Support is absolutely fantastic. What has been very, very useful is having a ‘School Partner’, because Synergy responds so rapidly, it’s been really useful having that one port of call. And for me that’s not been about the technical side, but it’s about having a Partner that knows our school and who gets to grips and understands what we want from the system in order to develop the staff. Again, that is something I can’t put a price on.”

Real-time, day to day access to critical information

Q How has Synergy informed and assisted middle to senior management roles?

A “The biggest thing for me has been that it means leadership are no longer just reactive, as they used to be. I don’t get a half term’s worth of information from the system and think we maybe should have acted on that sooner. Now I’ve got Heads of Year, Heads of Department, Senior Leaders all able to react on the day at a particular time.

I can react instantly to anything that’s happening having words with children, supporting staff as it happens. I don’t have to wait, I don’t have a long and laborious process, digging into the data. I can literally click on the department, click on the Year View and I can find all the information that I need to make sure everyone is consistently and persistently meeting the expectations for the day.”

Valuable cost and time savings

Q Has the school saved money through moving to Synergy?

A “We’ve definitely saved money. Just the parental communication system and previous homework system, together, cost far more than the whole package with Synergy and we get far more from Synergy than just those two alone.

it’s the time it has saved us also. Previously, teachers had started to feel like they were administrators. So it’s the time aspect certainly, but for me, it is the accountability factor - everyone is responsible for their own area of information and I don’t think you can put a monetary value on that!”

Tangible, positive impacts

Q Has there been any significant changes to school as a whole?

A “The reason we got the system in the first place – behaviour. Strategically, I had a very clear vision for what I wanted in school and Synergy has been able to live up to our expectations of what we needed for a system. For example, we have had an unprecedented drop in the number of fixed term exclusions. We’ve been noticeably higher in the national averages in exclusions previously but because of how quickly I can respond to situations we can intervene in time.

Consequently, it has enabled us to move forward with other things that we have wanted to do for a long time. We’ve been able to move a lot more quickly simply because we have a system that will support us in our objectives”.

Thank you to all at The Hollins for taking the time to share their experiences of School Synergy.
Kevin Thomas and Vicky Fogg, School Synergy Partners

Sam Haydock, Head of School, The HollinsQuote from Mrs Haydock 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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