Before you start
Are you a DFE approved provider?
Yes. SMARTcurriculum® Ltd is a DfE-approved provider of financial advice to schools (Previously named CJ Learning Technologies Ltd). The full list of advisors and advice on what to think about before choosing a supplier is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-financial-advice-for-schools.
Does the App give me ICFP data?
Integrated Curriculum and Finance Planning is the relative new process defined by the Department for Education as to efficient school structure and delivery.
The SMARTcurriculum® Analytics has all of the ICFP features and more. The DfE have added measures and metrics as the process has developed, we are adding features and functions to meet these requirements and developing new metrics to illustrate the implications of structural decisions all the time
My school is short of money – is it worth the investment?
We know school budgets are incredibly tight and every penny needs to work really hard for the learners and that is exactly what SMARTcurriculum® Analytics ensures you achieve. There is an initial investment depending on the phase and size of your school typically in the order of £2.40 per learner.
However, the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics will very quickly pay for itself as the process identities enhancements which are on average £80,000 for a primary school and over £250,000 for a secondary school. We have supported schools to quickly recover deficits within a typical range from £350k to £ 2 million returning to a balanced budget position within a budget cycle.
Can I see a demonstration?
Of course! We would love to give you a demo. We use Zoom to run monthly virtual demonstrations of the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics, which also explore how it supports ICFP and planning your curriculum online and have plenty of time for Q&A. Scroll our events and book any of the events entitled SMARTcurriculum®: An introduction to online curriculum design and ICFP here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/smartcurriculum-academy-19763410196. If none of these times works for you, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 701 2854 and we can book a demo at a time to suit you. Alternatively, if you have specific queries and would prefer to speak to SMARTcurriculum® Analytics creator Chris Jones to get his experienced advice on how the App would work in your context, you can book a free 15-minute call with him here: https://calendly.com/cjl-chris.
How can my governing body use the reports?
The SMARTcurriculum® Analytics has at its core the desire to create a shared conversation or narrative between education professionals, school business leaders and the strategic governance community. To this end, there are a number of features that are specifically designed for governors and trust board members to use.
Firstly, the access permission levels include a ‘read only’ and ‘governance’ description that will allow such staff to be given access to the app for scrutiny and review purposes.
Secondly, the reporting sections are designed to print to pdf so they can be outputted and printed for governor meetings and discussions.
Thirdly, a specific level of guided strategic questions has been designed to develop the types of discussion and conversation that would be expected at this strategic level. The questions are drawn from the experience of governor and trust board meetings and are intended to bring the expected level of accountability for curriculum, staffing and finance decisions. In-App there is the ability to record answers to the strategic questions, create an online conversation about the subjects and ask additional questions beyond those recorded.
My school is different – how will the App cope with this?
To be honest, every school we have ever worked with has said the same thing, and we have worked with hundreds across the phases and defined types within the UK diversity of provision.
Every school believes that there have different and uniquely different circumstances, which is very true, every school is different. Having worked with schools of different types and forms across the country we have constructed the SMARTcurriculum® App to be able to deal with the nuisances of your school. The unique circumstances will fall within the school structures and conditions of service of staff that we have covered. We have also provided for the flexibility to move outside the traditional practices to enable representation of differing structures and practices without compromising the basic measures and principles of organisational forms we expect to find in the sector. There are flexibilities and we will work with you to represent these for measurement and accountability.
Can the SMARTcurriculum® App be used in any school type?
SMARTcurriculum® is a completely phase neutral and works across all phases and types of educational establishments. The dashboards are identical across all school types, the application of the understanding they generate will differ across the phases.
Typically there is an emphasis on subjects and staffing in the secondary phase, the impact of roll and the the use of teaching assistants and support provision in the primary phase encourage different perspectives but the basic analysis and data types are the same.
The structure of the curriculum is described differently in the primary phase where learning is focused on a single group staying together with a generalist, in the main, teacher. Subject specialism and different arrangements of learners makes the structure look slightly different.
Special schools and UTCs also have different emphases but are all represented in the application and discussed differently using the same core data.
Features and functions
Can I copy data in from a spreadsheet?
Yes, provided that the data is in the required format data can be easily imported or pasted from a spreadsheet.
Our advice is not to attempt to import all of your data in one go but to break it down into manageable chunks. Too much data in one go makes it more difficult to error check and manage data.
Details on the required formatting is provided in the appropriate sections in the User Manual.
Can I export data from the App to a spreadsheet?
Yes, every LiveDataset table has the ability to export data to XLSX, CSV or TXT format.
There is also ability to create web queries to MS Excel or Reporting API queries.
Can I model the curriculum for next academic year?
Once you have established the Snapshot baseline view the dataset will be locked to provide a comparison point.
The second phase of the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics is the modelling phase where you will be able to model all features for your next year or next stage curriculum.
The most common provision is a rollover curriculum for the next academic year with new staffing and year group changes. There is the capacity to edit your cycle design, the subjects offered and delivery strategies. The new dataset can have a new budget and a completely new curriculum setup as the datasets are mutually exclusive. It can be as different or similar as you desire.
Can I compare this year with last year?
The annual licence comes with two datasets. The first is designed to capture your school’s current year practice with curriculum design, staffing and budget model. Once all the data is entered the dataset it locked to form a baseline point. The following dataset is available to model a following curriculum or staffing structure whether it is within the academic year or in the next.
Most users typically model the current year and the following, as they are completely independent you can set up different timetable cycles and staffing structures which will allow you to compare them.
Within the reporting structure there is a comparison of analyses facility that will allow you to compare key data points relative to the SRMA Self Assessment Tool Health Check metrics.
Can the App help us with the due diligence process?
Provided that any school has a licence data can be added to provide analysis of curriculum, staffing and finances. In terms of the standard Due Diligence process, the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics will provide a strategic level view of how a school is structured and maintained.
The SMARTcurriculum® Analytics has been used as a method for reviewing and reporting for school transfer and acquisition.
What type of reports can I get from the App?
The SMARTcurriculum® Analytics is unapologetically designed as a web-based tool and so all the displays are designed to be viewed on screen, tablet and smartphone.
However, increasingly, we have been asked to develop the ability to output reports to pdf format for printing, sharing or saving.
The graphic dashboard representations can be ‘print-screened’ but not converted to PDF As they are all live rendered data representations. All of the report functions will output to a date-stamped PDF format for you to save or print. All data tables can be exported to .xls or a similar format for manipulation or saving.
Does it have a group dashboard?
The SMARTcurriculum® Analytics was designed to display each school individually with a common data presentation. The school navigator allows you to move between school that you have access rights to views, there is no limit to how many you can see.
We are working on the mechanism to provide a group analysis either for MATs and federations or local authority analysis. Keep up to date with the progress of this development join our mailing list. Contact us at email@example.com
How can I see data from previous academic years?
There are two mechanisms for viewing data from previous years.
Firstly, your licence includes two datasets, the snapshot which is the initial annual analysis and current data position and the modelling analysis which is preparing for the following year.
Secondly, the analysis comparison function allows you to compare a baseline position with a current analysis so snapshots from two years, snapshot and modelling or your initial start point and whichever is your latest dataset.
The comparison is table data and does not include the diagrammatic analysis.
Purchasing and licensing
Can we get a discount if we are a group of schools or a MAT?
Groups of schools or MATs wishing to purchase a SMARTcurriculum® App licence for 10 or more schools are eligible for a group discount. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for bespoke pricing.
How many users can I add under one licence?
The SMARTcurriculum® App licence is for the institution and has no limit on the users within that organisation or at any level. The management of the users is yours to control and administer.
Some organisations allow wide usage, that we encourage, others restrict to a limited range of senior leaders.
Setup and support
I’m not very ‘techy’ – will I struggle to use the App?
Data entry will require some attention to detail but no specific database or spreadsheet skills.
The App is designed to have analysis and strategic leadership capacity alongside the requirement for data handling and entry.
Data can be entered by specific staff allowing leadership staff to access the data for leadership scrutiny and narrative. Governance and trust level staff re able to access for oversight and strategic decision making. All users are able view the data not all users need to be able to manipulate the data entry facilities.
Can you put the data on for me?
The SMARTcurriculum® App is designed so that you own and manage your own data. It is priced so that you are able to enter and manage your own data with telephone and online support after the initial setup stages.
However, we have been asked by many schools to complete the initial data preparation and entry for schools beyond the licence structure. We have therefore added and additional feature to support schools in the preparation of the data for analysis and ongoing scrutiny. This service is an additional facility and is charged at a reasonable project set-up rate and in in addition to the initial licence and support fee.
What support do I get throughout the process?
SMARTcurriculum® Ltd provides full telephone and online support. You will be assigned an implementation manager who will be available to support you with questions and advice.
The licence agreement grants access to monthly webinars and discussions to assist in the use of the data. Staff will be invited to online and face-to-face training and development sessions to support your use of the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics.
The SMARTcurriculum® Analytics is regularly updated with features and fixes. Additional features are included within your annual licence agreement unless otherwise indicated as additional functionality that requires additional an licence.
Can I upload data from my MIS?
At the moment there is not a direct upload or API link to the major school MIS providers.
We are working to have reports available for you to transfer data from your MIS all of the relevant data for easy upload to the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics.
Upload of data from a spreadsheet is available so data transfer to the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics is possible after data integrity checking. Data may be downloaded from your MIS for this purpose. Once data is in the system transfer from one dataset to another is automatic and data can be downloaded at any point in time.
When can we start entering data?
SMARTcurriculum® Analytics licence terms require that the invoice is settled before the initialisation of the application.
You will be taken through two onboarding sessions with our implementation manager, once this is completed and all the initial data is in place you will be free to model and explore your new curriculum at your leisure.
The licence begins from the invoice date and is supported within the academic year that the licence is purchased.
The licence agreement covers use within the academic year in which the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics is purchased. Support and access to the online webinars will cease at the end of the academic year. You will continue to have access to the locked datasets for a short period within the new academic year.
Some of our data is confidential. How do I restrict who can see it?
Within the application there are a number of security levels that enable and restrict what users have access to. Confidential data on staff and financial matters can be restricted to individuals.
There is also access for strategic leaders, governors and trust board members can be given read only access with access online and with reporting views. Operation staff can have read only and read/write access to basic and confidential data.
How do I add multiple staff members?
There are two answers to this question depending on where you are in the process of using the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics.
Firstly, when setting up the data when first using the application, you can import data in the appropriate format from whatever database you have been using to store this data. There will need to be some data integrity checking before you can enter the data and we advise chunking rather than a wholesale import/paste, but it is a mechanism for data entry that the application supports.
Secondly, you can do the same once data has been entered and you are updating the application with batches of staff. Entering core data for multiple staff is quick and easy with 6 core pieces of information. Following on to update individuals’ records and move them on year-on-year is easy to achieve.
What happens when a member of staff leaves?
The staffing table and data representation at its core is about a contract list. The number of staff employed to deliver the purpose and form of the organisation. When a member of staff leaves they will either be replaced or the roll will disappear or be redesigned. This means the focus is on the role not the individual. To this end we do not store the record of the individual but the role and its position within the organisation. Other software is used for HR purposes, for the purpose of representing the structure and delivery of the purpose of the organisation the analytics will be used for structural analysis, not a human resources record.
What happens when things change during the academic year?
Once the Snapshot is completed it will be locked as you step forward to the modelling dataset. All datasets can be edited until they are completed and locked for comparison. If the modelling dataset is made live then this is mutually exclusive to the previous dataset so it can be changed completely.
The modelling dataset is completely independent of the previous dataset so it can model a different cycle and day structure. The staff profile will remain the same but the cycle change will mean that it will use the new calculations for staffing allocation. Apart from editing the management time all else will allow modelling of the way forward.
This will ensure that you are able to model changes as they occur. Staffing profile changes are part of the function of the analytics so will allow you to keep a view of staff you need to replace or curriculum changes that are happening as the year regresses.
How do we get product updates?
Product updates are automatically installed by our delivery partner as a fully cloud based system.
Minimal downtime is required, fortnightly on a Friday afternoon, to ensure all updates are installed without any impact on your ability to use the SMARTcurriculum® Analytics.
Update reports are released as appropriate through the SMARTcurriculum® blog and we will email you with links to information and operator advice.