Our management information system is vital to our educational and business objectives and therefore it is essential for St Christopher’s to use a proven software solution and work with a company which can meet our high expectations.”
So states Gavin Boyle, the school’s Director of ICT. Prior to implementing Engage in 2009 St Christopher’s went through a brisk period of changing MIS providers – transferring three times in as many years due to software limitations and failed promises, causing a high level of disruption. Double First was committed to ensuring that the school’s immediate and future requirements would be met.
“Six years on and we are pleased to report that the Engage solution is firmly embedded in every area of our school,” Gavin reports. “Not only does the software accommodate our essential data requirements but it also provides us with innovative mechanisms to help streamline our other information processes. We quickly became proficient users of the software and its intuitive interface enables the less technically capable staff to quickly interact and retrieve the information they are seeking.”
The school utilises Engage for many tasks including admissions and student records; staff record and contract management; assessment, recording and reporting (performance tracking); fee and invoice management; timetable and options; parent portal (paperless home-school communications); attendance; day book (recording of student concerns and praise); and examinations.
“The other aspect of a successful MIS is the ability for it to be flexible and adaptive when things change,” Gavin states. “St Christopher’s never stands still as we are constantly seeking to advance and improve. Therefore, it is essential that our MIS is not a rigid out-of-the-box product that cannot be tailored to our exact requirements or changing circumstances.
“We have found Engage to be very agile. Double First readily listens to feedback and regularly runs user group meetings where we liaise with other schools to share best practice, exchange feature request ideas with the development team and learn more about forthcoming updates so we can plan ahead.
“In addition, we can simply pick up the phone and speak to real people, which is invaluable when there is a high priority situation. Sometimes things do go wrong with ICT – however the Double First helpdesk team provides us with a responsive service which is very reassuring. St Christopher’s has a high dependency on Engage and even though we are 3000 miles away from the company’s headquarters, our issues get resolved quickly and we are kept fully informed.
“In summary, St Christopher’s School is extremely satisfied with Engage and has found this to be far superior to similar products in the marketplace. As a key partner, we enjoy working with Double First and we are delighted to have found a proactive company that is focused on helping us to achieve our objectives.”