There was a time when schools were run as purely educational institutions, subsisting on fees and grants. Today, the scenario is different. Schools are big business. Some of the best and most sought after schools are run first as a business and then as centres of learning. This, in itself, is not a bad idea since a well-funded school can provide the best learning facilities, afford the best teachers and focus on all-round development. Since it is such a good business it is natural that schools should set up branches in as many locations as they possibly can. This is all to the good since doing so increases revenue and brings quality education within the reach of students in various locations. However, as branches grow so do problems of managing the branches. This can be handled with ease with the right school management software.

Setting it up

Even the best school management software cannot help you manage several branches of your school if it is not used right. This means the software must be set up properly with the help of the provider and configured right. A typical hierarchy is to have a central headquarters manage branches through the software. A single person or group of person designated as administrators may assign rights to branches and give each selective access to features that are deemed necessary. The same software would need to be in place in all branches of the school. Branches may be allowed to interact with each other directly to share information or data and study materials.

Setting up fees payments

Schools rely on timely collection of fees to fund their operations and to pay salaries of employees. Schools with centralized controls and management may find it useful to set up a school management app that can send out reminders to parents and permit payments from within the app itself. If it is a centralized administration then school branch fees may be deposited in a central account and then funds disbursed to branches. Another option is for head office to simply allow each branch school to collect fees in its separate bank account and then account. Which system to adopt would depend on the accounting system in place. Regardless, the branches and the head office would benefit by automation in fee reminders, payments, collection and accounting in the school management software.

Autonomy under central monitoring

There are pros to having a centralized strict administrative policy. It assures uniformity across branches in all their operations. However, autonomy in certain features too has its positive sides. For instance, each branch is managed by principals and each may have ideas about improvements or programs they may wish to implement. Using the school management app to appraise the head office and seek approval becomes easy and head offices can monitor such implementation. If it is successful and benefits both school and students, the same idea could be propagated to other branches. This becomes easy since one branch principal would be required to input everything about a particular scheme and it goes on record, accessible by others. One school branch, for instance, may set up a digital library that proves to be a success and this can benefit all other branches. One school branch may initiate a cultural program or any other activity that goes on record and makes it easy for other branches to implement. This type of autonomy within a centralized control system can promote healthy motivation for growth and diversity.

Analysis of the performance of branches

Schools are run as a business so the first thing the headquarters of the school does is to keep track of the performance of its branches in terms of finances and numbers. Is the branch doing all it can to get maximum admissions to meet its capacity? Are fee collections on time or are they lagging behind and if so, why? Are students satisfied or do they have issues and are such issues being voiced by students and parents through the school management app? These and other questions are answered in regular analytics by intelligent use of the school management software. This, of course, presupposes that the software you choose has ERP features and capability to analyze each branch operation.

School and student performance

While financials are of utmost importance it should not be the only thing in focus if a school is to maintain its reputation and grow. Accordingly, directors at headquarters should also receive data about the academic performance of students in each branch, attendance, disciplinary action, staff performance, the performance of teachers, issues and how they have been addressed and other factors. This is to be expected in school management software.

The software you choose is, after all, a tool. How you use it to manage branches makes a difference to your overall performance, revenues and reputation.

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