SchoolPod (SchoolPod)

 

AWAITING SCHOOLPOD LOGO

Section 1: Product Services
Data Policies
Is you solution’s database stored locally in the school, hosted offsite by the local authority or hosted offsite in your own/leased servers/data centres? Please state which if multiple options are available. SchoolPod’s database is hosted offsite in our own leased servers.
Which method is most advantageous for schools and why? Offsite servers allow for dedicated security, constant protection and back-ups. Updates are performed in real time rather than via CD or data packages sent to schools.Schools don’t have to buy hardware or host servers or have costly IT knowledge.
If your solution’s database is hosted offsite, is this hosting on dedicated servers or is it hosted in the cloud (i.e. using distributed servers using services such as Amazon Cloud)? SchoolPod’s databases are hosted on dedicated servers, featuring:

  •  Cisco Hardware and software Firewalls.
  • DDOS detection and prevention.
  • Hardened servers.
  • IP logging.
  • Invalid password rate detection.
Assuming you follow all Data Protection policies, where is the ECC is the data stored? Do you make this information available to your customers/are they actively aware? Could you prove this if questioned by customers/partners/Information Commissioner? (If data is stored outside the UK, but in the ECC, of course this still complies with the DPA, so feel free to reinforce this in your answer and help dispel any remaining myths that data MUST be stored within the UK). SchoolPod’s servers are based in the United Kingdom and we make this information available if our customers request it, but due to security reasons we do not publicly disclose this information. The site is SAS 70 type 2 certified.
Is your solution security audited by an external third party (Yes or No) and how frequently does this occur (every release, every year)? Yes. Third party audits occur daily.
How do you deal with security vulnerabilities? For example do you do specific security patches or are they bundled into main releases. If you use underlying technology such as Java or .NET how do you notified customers of security patches. Do you provide public information – such as reference to CVS ratings (http://cve.mitre.org/about/index.html) We do not publish this as it is a hosted environment.
What are the estimated timescales for patch\release rollout, and how much effect is required by the school or LA to update the system? Timescales are dictated on an item-by-item basis to ensure the highest priority items are released as soon as possible. No effort is required for the roll out of patches / releases by the school or LA.
Are you registered with the Information Commissioner? Yes.
If you do host services in any form, what back-up procedures do you employ? SchoolPod backs up all accounts every 24 hours.
If you do host services in any form, what disaster recovery precautions do you employ? Standby servers ready to take over. Various locations, multiple data centres
Please state you minimum server specification and setup (if multiple servers are recommended) to support a single school of 1000 students and 150 staff. This would be deemed a secondary school. N/A as hosted.
Please state you minimum server specification and setup (if multiple servers are recommended) to support a single school of 300 students and 30 staff. This would be deemed a primary school. N/A as hosted.
Please describe how your solution’s database is updated including any supporting applications, services or user intervention required. N/A as all updates applied by SchoolPod team.
Markets
Which markets do you have customers in? Markets are Primary, Secondary, Independent, International British, International Other (Academies, Free Schools and other divisions should be included appropriately with the states groups). Primary (Academy), Primary, Secondary (Academy), Secondary (Specialist), Secondary, Independent, International British, Children’s Homes, Care Homes, Special, Special (Academy), Hospital, Special (Residential), PRU.
Which markets do you typically target? Markets are Primary, Secondary, Independent, International British, International Other (Academies, Free Schools and other divisions should be included appropriately with the states groups). Note that this question is not designed to limit your audience but describe if your software is specific to a subsection of schools. Please be honest if, for example, you software is currently designed for Independent schools, but also mention if you are now or soon developing for other markets too. Primary (Academy), Primary, Secondary (Academy), Secondary (Specialist), Secondary, Independent, International British, Children’s Homes, Care Homes, Special, Special (Academy), Hospital, Special (Residential), PRU.
Database Structure
What back end database technology can be used with you solution (MS-SQL, MySQL, Oracle, etc.)? *Not submitted.
Does your data structure comply with any ISB (Information Standards Board) standards? Please use one example if Yes. No.
Is you data structure compatible with any SIF objects, or do you have a SIF agent? Please use one example if Yes. No.
Client/User Interface
Is your solution presented via a dedicated application or through web browser? Web Browser.
If you employ a browser interface, what browsers are supported currently? Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari.
If you employ a browser interface, does you solution employ HTML5? Yes. Some features require HTML5 support.
Does your solution require any players or stud applications to support functionality (i.e. Flash Player, .Net Framework)? No.
Please state the Operating Systems (including versions) you solution supports. Any.
Please state you minimum system requirements. *Not Submitted, but only requires PC with internet browser.
Please describe how your solution’s user interface is updated including any supporting applications, services or user intervention required. SchoolPod’s user interface is updated in real time, as with all functionality provided by the system.
Updates, enhancements, fixes, new features and general support
What is your typical release schedule? Multiple releases are made daily, throughout the day. Seamless and invisible to schools
How many staff do you employ per customer (as a ratio) on your helpdesk? 2:50.
Where is your helpdesk located (in the UK or outside the UK)? UK (Leicester)
What are your support hours? 08:00 – 17:30 Mon – Fri
Do you have an online helpdesk? Yes.
Do you employ a live online helpdesk/chat facility to support customers? No.
What support models do you employ (for example, direct to school, via LA, via third party support) Direct to School.
What is your method for reporting a bug or issue? Emailing or calling the helpdesk.
What is your typical SLA timescales for issues of all seriousness? Same day.
What is your method for requesting an enhancement or change? Schools can request enhancements or changes by speaking to their dedicated implementer or support person. These enhancements or changes are then communicated to the development team and built accordingly.
How do you engage with the market for new features and what sectors or bodies influence how and what is implemented? SchoolPod is built to accommodate the needs of all schools utilising it, and the system is updated in response to those needs. We communicate directly with schools every single day to ensure we provide the best service on the market, while also ensuring that we meet the statutory needs of every school as well, via research conducted daily by our Product Manager.
Do you publish your 12 month (or more) roadmap? Please share this as part of your response (if you do). No.
Data Integration
Do you have an API? Yes.
Describe how this works. For example, does it employ web services? Web Services.
Does it cover all the basic aspects for your solution (Pupil details, contact details, relationships, staff details, attendance, behaviour, markbooks, and timetable?) Please state which if only part covers, or covers more aspects. Yes.
Does your API allow write back? Please state which data elements can be written back. Yes.
If this API free to access? If there is any aspect of using the API that you charge schools or third parties for, please state. This includes charging for write back, charging for sandbox or test environment use, requirement to pay for a licence of the software (but does not include charges for consultancy or support of the software or API). Free.
Does your solution use any other form of open standard integration or technology? URL based API.
Does your solution integrate in any way with popular cloud services such as Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365? Yes.
Legislative Requirements
For the following questions, it is expected that your solution will provide any census or other exports stated in the defined file type and structure requested by the DfE or Awarding Organisations (An Excel export requiring user intervention for example is not acceptable as a yes answer)
Does you solution, either internally or through a third party interface, produce the School Census? Yes (Internally).
Does you solution, either internally or through a third party interface, produce the Staff Workforce Census? Yes (Internally).
Does you solution, either internally or through a third party interface, produce the Independent Census? Yes (Internally).
Does you solution, either internally or through a third party interface, produce the Key Stage Assessment Returns? Yes (Internally).
Does you solution, either internally or through a third party interface, produce the CTF File? Yes (Internally).
Does you solution, either internally or through a third party interface, produce Exam Entries and other files in EDF compatible files? Are you working towards the A2C standard? Yes, Yes.
Section 2: Software Characteristics
Core Pupil Database (Real time alerting)
Does your solution store pupil basic/demographic/personal information? Yes.
Does your solution contain all statutory fields required for School Census? Yes.
Does your solution have any real-time alerting to inform staff of changes in any aspect of ongoing observation? Yes.
Does your solution archive past student records? How far back can a student record be recovered/reviewed? Yes.
Does your solution accept the latest CTF import? Yes.
Does your solution accept the latest ATF import? No.
Pupil Attendance
Does your solution record AM/PM (Statutory) attendance? Yes.
Does your solution record lesson by lesson attendance? Yes.
Does your solution alert to patterns of absence or patterns of students consistently absent? Please elaborate if yes. Yes. SchoolPod has developed reports at the request of schools that track patterns or absence and consistence absence. We have also developed automated emails that send when attendance percentage goes below a certain level, sending specific staff an alert when this occurs.
Does your solution record the number of minutes late? Yes.
Does your solution allow the storage of absence notes? Yes.
Does your solution connect with messaging systems to alert absence to parents? Yes.
Does your solution record responses through such a system, if yes? Yes.
Can a teacher see their class absences for a whole term? A whole year? Yes.
Can a school administrator see a student statutory attendance record for a whole term? A whole year? Yes.
Can a school administrator see a class/form/year group statutory attendance record for a whole term? A whole year? Yes.
Can the system report back to the Local Authority system, such as to ONE via B2B OPEN? Yes.
Pupil Behaviour
Does you solution record behaviour incidents? Yes.
Does you solution record positive achievement events? Yes.
Does you solution record conduct points (positive/negative)? Yes.
Does you solution record exclusions? Yes.
Does you solution report exclusions to the local authority where necessary? Yes.
Can your solution record evidence for incidents (and achievements) such as photos, videos, audio recordings, documents etc? Yes.
SEN
Does your solution record SEN data? Yes.
Does your solution maintain SEN records in a workflow to ensure date sensitive information is acquired in a timely fashion? Yes.
Does your solution maintain an IEP within the software (that is, not on Word documents)? Yes.
Document Storage/Content Management/Discovery
Does your solution store documents against student records? Yes.
Does your solution store documents against staff records? Yes.
Does your solution store documents in internal but public locations (for example, on a notice board facility)? Yes.
Does your solution have facility to make documents private to an individual or group of individuals? Yes.
What file types can your solution store? Any
Are documents stored within the database itself or on a generic file store outside the database (Note that this is specifically the files and the back end database, not the interface)? Outside of the database, but a link is stored.
Does your solution provide interfaces to external content, such as education resources, eBooks, etc? Yes.
If so, is this content searchable? No.
Markbooks
Does your solution contain a markbook style facility? Yes.
Does your facility require the creation of each class markbook each year, as a manual or semi-automated process, or are markbooks provides for each class regardless based on a pre-defined template? Briefly elaborate on the process. This is a free answer. Once Mark Books are setup on SchoolPod they can recur yearly. School-level assessments (e.g. termly subject assessments) are managed by Admin users, and they have the access rights to set these are recurring.
Can teachers create their own markbook columns? Yes.
Can homework be set and associated with a markbook column? Yes.
Can online tests be set and associated with a markbook column? Yes.
Can comment banks be used on markbook columns (or you have another facilities where comment banks are used, often for parental reporting, then this is an acceptable answer)? No.
Can formulae be placed into markbook cells to make calculations on other cells? No.
Can conditional formatting be placed into markbook cells? Yes.
Can gradesets or other value limiting mechanism be used on markbook cells? Yes.
Can averages and other summary calculation be made on columns or rows in the markbook? Yes.
Does your solution have any built in parameters for measuring progress against targets, assessments etc? Yes. Via Reports.
Assessment
Does your solution record statutory (non GCSE) assessment such as Key Stage assessments? Yes.
Are these assessments recorded in the main markbook or elsewhere? Yes (Markbook).
Does your solution record baseline assessment such as FFT or MIDYIS assessments/results? Please list all baseline assessments available to be imported. Yes, All.
Are these assessments recorded in the main markbook or elsewhere? Yes (Markbook).
Please briefly describe the import process for any of the above. This is a free answer. Assessments are added via the Admin section of SchoolPod, then data is imported into the system either manually via the Mark Book screen, or via .CSV spreadsheet.
Does your solution contain progress tracking or other analysis on these assessments? Yes.
Early Years Assessment
Does your solution provide assessment templates and features for Early Years assessment and the Foundation Stage Profiling? Yes.
Does this assessment facility show levels of progress against criteria based on age group? If not, but does provide other analysis, please briefly describe. This is a free answer, but please keep to brief features. Yes.
Does your solution provide for the Early Years statutory return? No.
Progress Tracking
Please detail what progress measures can be tracked within your system. This is a free answer but please list the measures. On SchoolPod all assessments can School-level assessments can be tracked, and there are a variety of reports built from the requests of schools that accommodate this tracking. 
Does your solution have any alerting mechanism to inform staff of changes? Yes.
Exams Management
Does your solution record exams (by this, GCSE/A Level)? Yes.
Does your solution import basedata from Awarding Organisations? Yes.
Does your solution send Entry and Amendment files in the EDF format? Yes.
Does your solution accept Results files? Yes.
Does your solution facilitate seating charts? Yes.
Does your solution facilitate exam timetables, for both students and rooms/exams? Yes.
Does your solution alert to exam clashes? Yes.
Is your solution being converted to the new A2C protocols in preparation for the A2C switchover? Yes.
Multi-Tenancy/Multi-School
Is your solution a multi-school solution? By this, can multiple schools access the one solution, each with their own protected information set, but able to still share data or resources? No
If yes, does your solution contain a multi-school interface, particularly useful for academy chains to view and analyse cross school/trust wide information. N/A.
Admissions Management/Online Admissions
Does your solution provide admissions management? Yes.
Does your solution provide enquiry management? No.
Does your solution provide facilities to manage waiting lists and priorities on enrolments? Yes.
Does your solution provide facilities for entering entry test results? No.
Does your solution provide facilities for recording enrolment fees? No.
Does your solution provide Fees management facilities? This would be associated with billing. No.
Lesson Planning/Curriculum Planning
Does your solution contain any form of curriculum planner? (This being a facility to manage the content of lessons over a term or year). Yes.
Does your solution contain any form of lesson planner? (This being a facility to create and manage a plan for a lesson, with content, resources, outcomes planned, homework assignments, individualised learning styles etc.). No. 
Is this facility integrated or able to integrate with the markbook, if available? SchoolPod’s Timetable module ties directly into the Mark Book facility so that the class and subject you’re teaching automatically appears in the Mark Book when clicked into, and all previous assessments (within a timeframe the school has chosen) appear to be compared to assessments moving forward.
Timetable/Curriculum Structure
Does your solution contain a timetable creation facility? Yes.
Is this facility integrated with your solution? (Integrated means data is not synchronised or sent back and forth). If not, briefly describe the data movement process. Yes.
Does your solution manage ‘Options’? Yes.
Are option ‘Choices’ able to be entered by students/parents online? No.
Does the options facility directly integrate with the timetable creation facility? (Integrated means data is not synchronised or sent back and forth). If not, briefly describe the data movement process. Yes.
Does the timetable facility:
         Incorporate student data Yes.
         Incorporate staff data Yes.
         Allow rules to be set on student/staff availability, student/student in the same classes, student/staff in the same classes, lesson blocking, and lesson pattern structure? Are these rules customisable? Yes.
         Allow multiple timetables to be created Yes.
         View room and staff utilisation Yes.
         View class sizes Yes.
Can your solution have different timetables, even different day structures, for different year groups? Yes.
When the timetable structure is built, do students have to be manually added to classes or is this already does (because student data have been incorporated into the timetable creation). Automatic and Manual options available.
Are student/staff timetables available online? Yes.
Are student/staff timetables available to print? Yes.
Can your timetable solution take multiple schools into account (that is, is a student or staff attends a second or more schools for part of their week, can time timetable incorporate this) No.
Portals:
Pupil Portal
Does your solution contain a specific student portal? If so, what information is available to a student? No. However instead of a student portal, SchoolPod offers a module called Student Engagement that allows students to have information pushed to them via email instead of putting the onus on them to log onto SchoolPod and access it. Assessment, Attendance and Behaviour data can be sent to the parent, amongst other key data.
What security is provided to protect data? *Not supplied.
Can student amend or request an amendment to their personal details? No.
Parent Portal
Does your solution contain a specific parent portal? If so, what information is available to a parent? Instead of a parent portal, SchoolPod offers a module called Parental Engagement that allows parents to have information pushed to them regarding their child via email instead of putting the onus on them to log onto SchoolPod and access it. Assessment, Attendance and Behaviour data can be sent to the parent, amongst other key data.
What security is provided to protect data? *Not supplied
Can parents amend or request an amendment to their/their children’s personal details? No.
What safeguards are in place to protect split parents from seeing data about each other or their children they are barred from accessing? SchoolPod restricts what information can go to parents, so if a parent should not be contacted with any information regarding their child, then no information will be sent.
Governor Portal
Does your solution contain a specific governor portal? If so, what information is available to a governor? No, however access is granted with a dedicated user account.
What security is provided around sensitive data? SchoolPod restricts access to the system on a user-by-user basis, so a governor would be set up so that they can only access pertinent to their needs.
Mobile Apps/Access
Does your solution have a mobile ready interface? Yes.
Does your solution have a dedicated app for mobile devices? No.
For either question, please provide details of which Operating System (iOS, Android, Windows) and browser your solution is available for. Any (as browser based).
Remote Access
How can staff access your solution from outside the school? List options that are offered by your software (i.e. not taking into account what schools might put into place separate from your solution) As default, Staff can access SchoolPod wherever they are, be it in school or out. To allow for more security, we have introduced Two-Factor Authorisation-based log in, which prevents staff from logging in if they are outside of a set IP range (i.e. the school’s IP range). Only staff who have special permissions are then able to access the system outside the range, and this is governed by a special PIN that is sent when login is attempted outside the IP range. This is dictated on a user-by-user basis.
How can parents access your solution from outside the school? List options that are offered by your software (i.e. not taking into account what schools might put into place separate from your solution) Parents access data via Parental Engagement, a push email sent at times determined by the school.
Staff Management
Does your solution record and manage staff personal/demographic details? Yes.
Does your solution contain all statutory fields required for Staff Workforce Census? Yes.
Does your solution archive past staff records? How far back can a staff record be recovered/reviewed? Yes. Full History.
Does your solution record contractual details? If so, what security safeguards are available to prevent administrative but non-HR staff from viewing this information? Yes. Access is dictated on a user-by-user basis, so only specific staff can access specific data, if their access rights allow.
Does your solution record financial/bank details? If so, what security safeguards are available to prevent administrative but non-HR staff from viewing this information? Yes.
Does your solution manage and monitor staff checks and renewals for these (Checks being CRB, List 99, and Immigration). Yes.
CPD
Does your solution manage staff professional development? Yes.
Does your solution allow staff to interact with their own CPD recording? Yes.
Does your solution allow managers to review and evaluation CPD records? Yes.
Does your solution allow training courses to be provides, signed up for and managed online? No.
Does your solution interface with IfL for CPD recording? No.
Cover Management
Does your solution provide cover management facilities? Yes.
Can a staff member be covered for part day, full day, or for long periods of time (several days/weeks) in one step? Yes.
Can a room be covered for part day, full day, or for long periods of time (several days/weeks) in one step? No.
Are cover statistics recorded against staff records? No.
Does your solution provide analysis for staff absences/covers against pupil performance, attendance and behaviour? If so, please briefly describe. This is a free answer, but please keep to brief features. No.
Transport/Bus Management
Does your solution provide facility to manage school or LA sponsored transport (such as buses or taxies)? Yes.
Does your solution provide route management and optimisation technology? No.
Does your solution provide alerting to staff/parents/student for changes in transport provision (such as bus cancelation for example)? Yes.
Extra-Curricular Activities
Does your solution provide facility to manage extra-curricular activities? Yes.
Can fees be associated and charged through this facility? Yes.
Can attendance be associated, recorded and reported on through this facility? Yes.
Can progress (markbooks) be used and reported on through this facility? Yes.
Reports
Does your solution provide a reporting toolset? (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution to create the report, but this does not include the final output, such as Word or Excel or PDF). Yes.
Are all data fields within your solution available to be reported on? Yes.
What output formats are available for these reports? Word, Excel, PDF.
Can charts be produced as reports? Yes.
Can mail merges be produced as reports? Yes.
Can reports be sent or viewed online via portals? Yes, via Email
Can termly reports be sent or viewed online via parent interfaces, if available? Yes, via Email
Can termly reports be sent via email by facilities within the solution? (This should be answered no if a report or batch of reports would need to be produced, output, saved and then separately attached to emails, manually by staff). Yes.
Does it allow importing\exporting of templates, for example provided by the LA? Yes.
Can you integrate third party BI systems – such as Cognos, Microsoft Power BI or Business Objects? No.
Does your solution have a dedicated data warehouse for reporting to reduce load on the main transactional database Yes.
Communications
Does your solution provide text messaging facilities? (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). Are responses able to be recorded against student records? Yes, Yes.
Does your solution provide emailing facilities? (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). Are responses able to be recorded against student records? Yes, Yes.
Does your solution provide voice message facilities? (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). Are responses able to be recorded against student records? Yes, Yes.
VLE
Does your solution have an integrated learning platform (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). No.
If yes, please describe the basic characteristics of this platform. This is a free answer, but please keep to brief features. N/A.
Library Management
Does your solution have an integrated library management solution (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). No.
Asset Management
Does your solution have an integrated asset management solution (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). Yes, via Finance module
Facilities Management
Does your solution have an integrated facilities management solution (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). Yes.
Helpdesk
Does your solution have an integrated helpdesk management solution (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). Helpdesk does not need to be specifically for IT support, although this is the common need. No.
Room Booking/Facilities Booking
Does your solution have an integrated room booking or facilities booking solution (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). Yes.
Can booking be managed by the customers, if yes? Yes.
Parents Evening Management
Does your solution have an integrated parents evening management solution (This should be answered no if you connect to a third party solution). No.
Can booking be managed by the parents, if yes? No.
AD Integration/Provisioning/Single Sign On
Does your solution provide any form of provisioning of Active Directory accounts? Are these accounts synchronised with the MIS account? No.
Does your solution provide other forms of Active Directory integration? Yes, via Single Sign On app
Does your solution provide Single Sign On? What technology is used for this? Yes, proprietary
Is yes, what level of security policy is provided to mitigate data loss? Windows-based
Customisation/Workflows/Imports/Exports/Process Management/Database Management/UDFs/Validation Control
Please list any facilities within your solution that allow the creation and customisation of:
         Customise interface (over and above the colour of the interface and logos) Each system is designed around the needs of schools, so the interface will resemble processes the school follows, not a set package we provide.
         Workflows, to control data flow based on school requirements Each system is designed around the needs of schools, so workflow is dictated by the school.
         Data imports Attendance, Assessment, Student and Staff data can be imported into SchoolPod.
         Data exports (this is different from general reports that output to Word or Excel formats) Data can be exported through a variety of reports that have been designed at the request of schools.
         Custom processes (where a school might want to build a process of data specific to them, within the solution) Each system is designed around the needs of schools, so processes are always custom to each school using SchoolPod.
         Database Management (Can the school manage the database tables directly or indirectly, create or remove base and user defined fields, assign complex data types and relationships, add data format and validation). Relationships can be defined by the user, but the school does not manage the database tables directly.
Data Auditing & Data Migration
Does your solution audit data entry/change/delete and is that data audit reportable? Yes.
Please list what popular MIS solutions you are able to migrate a school from, in terms of the data transfer. SchoolPod can accommodate data migrated from all popular MIS solutions.
What are your typical migration times from each MIS solution you have mentioned? SchoolPod migrates data at a pace set by the school, this can range between two weeks to a number of months, depending on the level of access to the MIS solution given to the SchoolPod team when migration is requested.
What is the typical data migration success rate (that is, how much data in breadth and history are you able to transfer) for each MIS solution you have mentioned? SchoolPod migrates as much data as the MIS solution allows to be exported, and if there are pieces of data we cannot migrate, we develop SchoolPod to allow for the migration to be complete.

To find out more about this product and supplier, contact them directly using the following details (Feel free to mention you found this site useful!):

Web: http://www.schoolpod.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 844 544 6685
Email: enquiry@schoolpod.co.uk

Original Response File can be found here: SchoolPod – The MIS Challenge

This questionnaire is completely objective and responses have only been edited to fit to a standardised format in places. Information supplied by the supplier is accurate at the time of receiving responses. Every effort will be made to timely update the responses in line with changes to the product.

Graham Reed, the Eduware Network and its associates take no responsibility whatsoever for actions taken as a result of reading this or any other responses or opinions, nor do they in any way endorse this or any product or supplier. This is intended as a guide only, and is expected to be used as such.

 

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