Timetabling for whole school wellbeing - Education Matters Magazine
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Timetabling for whole school wellbeing

Tes Timetabling

Tes Timetable, powered by Edval, has highlighted the importance of timetabling for whole-school wellbeing and its power to either help or hinder teaching and learning.

Outcomes from using Tes Timetable software show that getting it right boosts student outcomes, student satisfaction and staff wellbeing. As well as lightening teacher workloads and creating cost efficiencies showing that effective timetabling is the backbone of an efficient and productive school. Using algorithms, the software aims to provide schools with the flexibility to efficiently model different structures to support curriculum decisions, allowing schools to balance class sizes and optimise flexible working patterns for teachers.

The timetabling software aims to create greater staff consistency during the school cycle and the flexibility to explore more creative curriculum plans which in turn drive up student wellbeing. “In my current school we wanted to introduce the software to use our resources more sustainably and efficiently,’’ says Jo Matherson, Deputy Principal at Somerville House in Queensland. “When doing student choices, it really helped to be able to look at those lines we were running above each of the year levels, to make sure we had staff available to teach the classes, as well as maximise the efficiency in student choice. This year was really successful thanks to the software; all students in Years 11, 9 and 8 were able to get their top six elective choices and we only had 10 students across the senior school who had to fall into their reserve preference.” Matherson continues: “We’re also doing a major renovation in our school, which is knocking out eight classrooms in the senior school, making it difficult to have a classroom for every class and still be able to run programs at the maximum class size of 25. By using the software, I was able to easily collapse classes so we were better able to use our existing classrooms. If we weren’t able to that, we would have had to bring in six demountables that would cover our school oval.’’

The Tes Timetable software allows schools to specify the exact, complex requirements of their school timetable and provide optimal solutions based on a school’s needs and resources. The timetabling software offers a variety of tools to facilitate an equitable distribution of school day duties by considering staff busy days, teaching commitments before or after duty slots, and timetables across the full timetable cycle, which in turn aims to reduce stress on teachers. “Teacher wellbeing has certainly been enhanced by the software,” says Mr David Fisher, Head of Administration at Leibler Yavneh College in Victoria who recently implemented the Tes Timetable software in his school. “In our old program we weren’t able to timetable so that all the classes would be in the same room in the upper years. Previously, upper-level students would have to move from different rooms on different days for the same classes,” he says. “One of the features that’s helped us is that it automatically does the rooming if you give it the right information. I’ve already had teachers who would not generally come and share feedback come to me and say – we can’t believe our classes are uniformly distributed in the timetable.’’

With the previous timetable software we were using, Fisher says he would have to do a lot of fiddling to try to balance classes. “Now, the algorithms in the Tes Timetable software have really created very balanced timetables, without a lot of manual intervention,” he adds. Through its unique and innovative algorithms, Tes Timetable can consider up to 30,000 timetables per second, allowing schools to efficiently rework timetables to accommodate factors such as class structures, lesson spreads, teacher availability, load preferences and constraints.

Enabling schools to avoid room clashes, prioritise teacher and student choices, and reduce staff workload. Schools typically model staffing budgets with a surplus to accommodate curriculum models – these will be higher where setting and banding arrangements are required. Grouping students by ability (as is usual in core subjects) requires multiple specialist teachers and rooms to be assigned at the same time. Some specialist subjects require smaller class sizes, which also increases the staff requirement.

Tes Timetable software allows schools to “When doing student choices, it really helped to be able to look at those lines we were running above each of the year levels, to make sure we had staff available to teach the classes, as well as maximise the efficiency in student choice.” ensure that the teaching workload is evenly spread across the workforce, as well as streamlining teacher movement between classes, which can reduce the need for additional staff and casual staff. Fisher continues to see the whole school benefits of the software. “On day two of the school year in 2022, I told our principal we had the best first day back that I’d seen in 20 years. It was calm, orderly, and everyone knew where they had to go. We’re early to using the software and we’re not even using it to its full capacity yet, but it was still the best first day back. We’re still building and everyone is patient because they can see that we are solving problems and fixing things, so I’m a happy chappy at the moment.”

Learn more: +61 2 8203 5455
Email: edval-sales@tes.com

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