Four tips for easier option block generation

The option block generation process is a critical phase in preparing a timetable. Read our top tips to make sure you get it right.

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Do you have a plan?

Before you send your online subject selection forms to your students, you need to think about how you’d like your timetable to look. Consider the size of your student community, the resources available at your school and the number of subjects you may be offering.

You should also think about how your lines will fit against lines in other years, and what relationships should exist within the set of lines that you’re about to generate. For example, should you run two ancient history classes in the same line to make collapsing one of those classes easier later on? Or should you schedule biology and investigating science together in case students who opted to study biology find it too difficult?

What about a structure?

As a standard, you should generate lines with multiple year data sets. If you've a structure that depends on staged based curriculum delivery then this is essential. When generating lines in Year 11, you should be layering years 10 and 9 into the timetable. To identify issues or understand where to make improvements within the structure, our timetabling software, Edval Timetable allows you to create multiple grid structures in a single timetable file.

Things to consider

When placing classes into your timetable, consider your teaching and rooming resources. Think about part-time teachers and ensuring your structure work best for them as well, and also aligns them into complementary lines to enable better spreads in the timetable. This is a common mistake made by schools and consequences include moving lessons before or after school, poor spreads or split classes. With Edval Timetable your school can easily generate automated timetables that account for flexible working schedules, cut down on split classes and manage lessons spreads to fit within school hours.

Test and test again

When you think you've a timetable that best serves everyone’s needs, test it out before signing off. It doesn’t take a lot of time to produce a draft timetable if all the proper planning, structure and considerations have been taken into account. Refining this process will also make the task of testing your lines much more efficient. It’s highly likely you’ll find an unforeseen issue in your timetable, but don’t be disheartened. Remember this is the perfect time to find them because you’re in a position to resolve them in the lines.

Looking for a simpler system for generating option blocks?

Edval Timetable does so much more than a regular timetabling software. It can generate option blocks which allow more students to study what they wanted, highlight staffing needs and support you to make decisions on the running of certain classes.

Some of the many advantages to using Edval Timetable include:

  1. Your school can ensure students submit preferences that meet school rules and requirements with no data errors

  2. Improving class list management to support behaviour management, collapse classes and balance class sizes

  3. Gives schools the ability to explore possible timetable scenarios without a large investment in time and

  4. Provides rich data to make good decisions that impact on teacher and student welfares

To learn more about Edval Timetable or to book a demo, fill in our short form.