Reduce your Covid costs with smarter timetabling

If last year taught us anything, it’s that even the best-laid plans change - here are some of the ways you can adapt your timetable while reducing costs

Tes Editorial

Reduce your Covid costs with smarter timetabling

Unfortunately for leaders, the new year looks set to pick up where the old one left off. Schools across the globe are set to be faced with more staff isolation and absence, meaning an increased reliance on supply or leaders being forced to fill the gaps at the front of the classroom. 

In November, Tes reported that UK headteachers had seen their supply budgets go ‘through the roof’, with heads also seeing their own time in class increase by as much as five times. With infections increasing across the globe, these pressures show no immediate signs of relenting.

2021 could see partial closures, with classes or year groups forced to self-isolate. Optional classes may get dropped in favour of core subjects. The school day may need to adapt in order to facilitate mass testing of students. If last year taught us anything, it’s that even the best-laid plans may need to change, sometimes at very short notice.

With all this in mind, having a simple, flexible tool that allows you to quickly adapt your timetable will save schools both time and money.

Tes Edval provides timetabling software that is designed to tackle even the most complicated requirements. The tool has saved schools thousands of pounds in supply costs alone, has been modified to include new functions such as social distance scheduling and contact tracing, to help schools cope with operating during the pandemic.

Here are some of the ways Tes Edval can help your school save money this year:

 

1. Reduce reliance on cover staff

In the best of times, staff illness can complicate the timetable and result in additional costs for casual teaching staff. During Covid-19 the situation has become untenable with supply costs spiralling as a result.  

Many regard this as a cost that can’t be reduced, but there are many ways to significantly cut this expense with smart timetabling tools, and the right experience.

Tes Edval’s software can support an automatic cover of classes by on-call staff or available internal staff (who may be underloaded, or have an in-lieu).

On-call rotas which are constructed efficiently will promote equity in subsequent allocations, as well as faculty diversity – meaning there is always ‘one’ English teacher available on call each period.  

Active prompting by a system of merge class opportunities within bubbles also leads to great savings, as it reduces the number of classes which need to be covered.

2. Collapse classes

Running two classes on a line makes sense, so the classes can easily collapse to one if large numbers of students are forced to isolate or a subject is dropped. But it’s not ideal to run both classes in one line, as it reduces access to choice.

Tes Edval allows collapsing of classes ‘across lines’. This can be achieved in several ways, providing any Covid-19 bubbles allow, such as swapping students through subjects they take in other lines where there is more than one class of that subject, or by adjusting the lines themselves.

3. Reducing optional classes

With students forced to spend time isolating and having their studies disrupted through staggered starts or home learning, some optional classes may end up being dropped.

Having a timetable that can easily adapt to these changes will quickly free up staff meaning any cover requirements can then be dealt with in-house.

As well as reducing the need for supply staff, Tes Edval also includes:

Social distance scheduler

To ensure proper social distancing is followed, many schools have had to stagger student attendance throughout the week. Our timetabling tool has a new social distance scheduling feature which can help you implement social distancing requirements by staggering your student attendance, without having to completely re-write your timetable.

Contact trace assistant

Our contact trace assistant easily allows you to minimise further infection if a student attending your school contracts Covid-19. With this feature enabled, you can easily generate a report detailing what other pupils, teachers and rooms they were in contact with within the timetable.

To find out more about how smarter timetabling can help save your school money download our free report.

 

 

For more details on Tes Edval and how it can support your school click here.