New Ed-Tech Tool Launched To Help Schools Seek Support

The planned shake-up of school funding means many head teachers may need to rely more and more on their own fundraising activities.

Teachers unions claim the new National Funding Formula sets the basic level of funding too low and it has been calculated that 98% of schools will face a funding cut for every pupil. Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Malcolm Trode, sums up the potential problem as “the government is trying to slice up a cake which is too small”.

The changes have prompted Grofar, the popular careers guidance management solution, to develop a specially designed platform to help schools reach out to their local communities and bolster their fundraising efforts and access valuable services.

Managing Director James Robertson explains: “Our new ‘Community Heroes’ platform is essentially a funding and pledging service to help schools communicate with the local business community, parents, alumni and any other potential sources of funding and services. Whether it’s support for one-off pledges such as a fund-raising event, or a more significant project such as a campaign to fund a new playground, ‘Community Heroes’ will reduce the headache of fundraising for schools and help to give children the best possible opportunities.

“We’ve developed this platform to provide primary and secondary schools with the resource to build a powerful support network. Let’s not forget that being part of a community and engaging with that community is a really important part of a child’s overall education. ‘Community Heroes’ is a tool to help schools do that”.

The platform launch forms the focus of Grofar’s presence at Bett, the world’s leading education technology event, which begins at ExCel in London today (25 January).

“We are so confident that this will help schools to raise funds”, adds Robertson, “that if the app hasn’t paid for itself within the first 12 months, we’ll refund the upfront cost. It starts at just £249 for primary schools though, so I’ve absolutely no doubt that this will very quickly prove its worth and help schools through some potentially challenging times. The schools we’ve spoken to are already incredibly receptive to this idea”.

The platform includes a storyline for each fundraising initiative to offer a clear measure of success and to give recognition to all those who offer support. There will also be a ‘Community Heroes’ badge provided to funders, which can be placed on their websites by way of public recognition.

James Robertson says: “If the government does push ahead with its proposed new funding formula, we’re not suggesting ‘Community Heroes’ will solve the problems that this may throw up. But the schools we’ve spoken to have told us, loud and clear, that this idea will really help them to bring focus to their fundraising and provide them with access to valuable services at a time when a concerted effort could well make the difference to the future prospects of their pupils”.

‘Community Heroes’ is part of a broad initiative from Grofar to improve student aspirations and attainment while providing engagement with employers to develop core skills and provide experiences of the world of work.

Careers Silver Bullet?

In Sir John Holman’s 2014, Gatsby report he said that there was no “silver bullet” that would of itself transform the quality of careers advice in schools. Instead, he said schools needed to provide a series of measures to a high standard.

His views are based on extensive research in the UK, Canada Germany, Holland, Finland, Ireland and Hong Kong. The English government has welcomed the eight Gatsby Benchmarks believing that they provide an important framework of activities and philosophy of what good CEIAG looks like.

The Benchmarks cover all aspects of CEIAG, from achieving a stable careers programme and making this known and understood by students, parents, teachers, governors and employers to providing personal career guidance, best provided by a qualified and registered career adviser. There are also benchmarks for learning from LMI, encounters with employers, FE, HE and other learning providers, work experience and linking curriculum learning to careers.

Career professionals will applaud the focus but for hard worked career coordinators and career leaders, the level of expectation, planning, management and organisational skills should not be under estimated. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was asked to calculate the cost of providing such services and estimated it would be £207 million in the first year and £173 million a year thereafter, or just under £45,000 per secondary school in England. Professional career guidance and management and admin skills of this breadth do not come cheaply.

At Grofar, we cannot of course offer a silver bullet but what we can do is help schools achieve many of the objectives set out in the Gatsby report, as the table below shows:

 

Gatsby Benchmark How Grofar Supports This Benchmark
1. A stable careers programme: Every school and college should have an embedded programme of careers education and guidance Easily create a professional school Careers Plan with templated information

Action Plans can be created for students

2. Learning from career and labour market information: Every pupil, and their parents, should have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities and the support of an informed adviser to make best use of available information. Specific portals for different users

One to One Meeting Organiser will help facilitate face to face careers advice to build confidence and motivation.

Careers Noticeboard

Resources Library – will provide access to online tools.

Destination Data collection tool

3. Addressing the needs of each pupil: Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each pupil. Careers Dashboard

Individual Student Passports

Student Target Groups

Individual Student Action Plans

Caseload manager

One to One Meeting Organiser

4. Linking curriculum learning to careers: All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. Schools can link to curriculum information in Careers Plan in order to determine and plan curriculum integration activities
5. Encounters with employers and employees: Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. Business Database, Business Comms and Business Signup to record contacts

Alumni Database, Alumni Comms and Alumni Signup to record contacts

6. Experiences of workplaces: Every pupil should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience Work Experience Organiser linked to Student Action Plans will offer high quality work experience linked to Student studies

Work Experience Placement Manager to manage process

7. Encounters with further and higher education: All pupils should understand the full range of learning opportunities (academic and vocational) that are available to them. Event Planner to help organise higher education events

Action Plan to allow recording and planning of Students Careers focus and direction.

One to One Meeting Organiser will help facilitate face to face careers advice to build confidence and motivation.

8. Personal guidance: Every pupil should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a career adviser. Student Action Plans to record student aspirations

One to One Meeting Organiser will help facilitate face to face careers advice to build confidence and motivation.

Resources Library – will provide access to online tools.

 

Grofar offers a complete careers administration system from just £495 per annum for a school with under 800 students, making it an extremely cost effective option for schools who want to improve the careers service they offer to their students and relieve their staff of much of the admin burden.

For further information about Grofar, including the features of the Grofar Careers Plan and the Grofar Careers Solution, please email info@grofar.com  to speak to a member of our friendly team and to sign up to a no obligation free trial.