From completing compliancy paperwork to spending extra hours with the bursar to manage the school’s finances, there is seldom time for principals to take a breather.
The most recent report into principal health and wellbeing shows 99.7% of principals work hours far beyond those recommended for positive mental and physical health, and many report feeling depressed and even suicidal, as a result.
To combat this, many school leaders are turning to services that allow them to streamline various processes across their school, such as timetabling, teacher-student communication and school excursions and events.
Neil Scott, principal of St Kilda Park Primary School in Victoria, is one leader taking a ‘work smarter, not harder’ approach.
In 2017, Scott began using a leading education management system to reduce administrative pressures being felt across his school.
Compass, founded in 2009, has been helping more than 1,800 schools improve the way they communicate through integrated modules that reduce administrative workloads for educators. The company’s suite of integrated modules, which reduces the administrative burden is giving teachers more time to meet this objective.
Streamlining workloads, reducing stress
Scott credits Compass with being so transformative that it would be difficult to imagine the school community running without it.
“Compass is absolutely central to how our school operates, it’s hard to remember what things were like before it,” Scott told The Educator.
“For example, how did we do excursions before Compass? With great difficulty.”
Scott said that while looking for parent information once required shuffling through records, he can now find everything he needs with a few clicks.
“The same applies for organising school excursions, which previously required huge amounts of preparation – Compass centralises the entire process, reducing significant amounts of work and stress,” he said.
Purchase order submissions, wellbeing management, consent and payment for events, and reporting are now all completed through Compass, saving what Scott estimates is ‘tens of hours’ of work a week.
“On occasion, it has been necessary to provide Compass with feedback about features, but these recommendations have always been taken on board, with improvements to functionality being made where necessary,” he said.
‘The school has saved weeks of time’
At the nearby Victorian College of the Arts, principal Colin Simpson established a close relationship with Compass, which he had used in previous schools he’d worked in.
Simpson recognised the value in using Compass for the school’s day-to-day functions, such as reporting and wellbeing monitoring, while pioneering the use of Compass Guardian and CompassIdentity cards to manage access issues within the school.
Compass was seen a powerful tool for both saving time on traditional school processes and introducing advanced solutions to new problems.
Simpson says overall the school has saved ‘weeks of time’ through Compass, with ‘dozens of hours’ saved on attendance management alone.
Meanwhile, far from simply providing a form of identity, CompassIdentity cards are used in the school library, for photocopying and printing, and even in the canteen.
“This enables my school’s management team to more effectively use these systems and maximise our investment in them,” Simpson told The Educator.
‘An exciting step forward’
Compass CEO and Founder John de la Motte said schools are in high demand of “a specialised and robust school management system that meets the vast and complex needs of the education system”.
“This applies from student welfare and curriculum coordination to parent communication and payments,” de la Motte told The Educator.
“The Compass Platform has been developed to automate much of the time-consuming administration tasks involved in the day-to-day of school life, freeing teachers up to focus on students and improving learning outcomes.”
de la Motte said the company’s expanding operations highlights this growth in demand.
“It's an exciting step forward in our goal to bring innovative technology to teachers, students and parents across Australia and the world,” he said.