How Can Timetabling Improve Teaching Quality, School Revenue & Pupil Behaviour?
Edval Education are exactly the kind of technology we want to help schools discover through WonderHub. They are an Australian company, new to the UK that has a revolutionary way to help schools create timetables in minutes, instead of weeks.
For those who haven’t created a timetable from scratch, there is probably an assumption that it is something that you can do in a few hours using a pen and paper or using a clever formula in Excel. However, Michael Emmanuel explains that this is what mathematicians refer to as an ‘NP Complete’ problem. There are simply so many combinations of students, rooms, teachers and seating arrangements that a supercomputer could take an eternity to solve.
For a school like Teesdale that was looking to improve on their previous OFSTED score of ‘Requires Improvement’, timetabling seemed like a perfect place to start. If they could fit more students into more classes, with the right teachers, then they can secure more budget and achieve better results.
As Dr Janice Gorlach of the North East Learning trust explains:
The timetable underpins the curriculum. We needed a curriculum which didn’t leave them dependent on one person with highly specific technical skills.
Neil Williams, Deputy Headteacher of Teesdale School goes on to say:
On my first day training with Edval I managed to create a full timetable, a process that would normally take several weeks
What are the effects of poor timetabling?
Split classes are where a subject is taught to a class by more than one teacher. For example, clashes in the timetable might mean that Mrs Turner can teacher Form B every class in Biology except for Friday afternoon, where she is teaching another class. Mr Price, who is available then, can teach that class but it means that classes learning is even more fragmented, leading to a drop in discipline, less one-to-one teaching and a whole new class of names for that teacher to learn!
Fewer students in options
As well as impacting on those student’s personal development this can also have an immediate financial impact on a school. If they can offer more students their options, with the same total resources, the school can actually generate more income.
Damaging effect on staff morale
Large gaps in the timetable, perceived unfairness and extended working hours can all negatively impact your staff’s morale. If teachers can do the same amount of work, more efficiently and with a smaller number of students then most will be much happier.
Difficulty in introducing flexible working and part-time staff
Flexible working is becoming more and more prevalent. There is a growing need to do more, with less in schools and to harness the capability of the large part-time workforce in the education space. Without an intelligent timetabling system, these minor changes can end up taking weeks to sort out. A school wants to be able to model multiple ‘what if’ scenarios when possible.
Needless to say everyone is happier when they don’t have to run from one end of the school to another for lessons! Teachers get more time between classes and pupils don’t get lost and distracted and then end up disrupting other’s learning.
It is important to remember that all of the above is wasted if students aren’t learning. A core part of this is ensuring that there aren’t huge gaps between the same subject and they are able to revisit topics over and over, to enhance their memory and recall. Timetables that leave a 2-week gap between one Geography lesson and the next means that most pupils will need to refresh their previous knowledge before learning anything new
Watch the below video case study to hear Dr Gorlach and Neil Williams’ views of how Edval has helped Teesdale school:
Interested in how your school can increase efficiency, income and morale through smarter timetabling? Head over to Edval.Education to book your free timetabling consultation