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It’s daunting to make a change in a school. You need to get buy-in from key stakeholders, which is tricky if the change impacts on every aspect of school life. But schools that are brave enough to go paperless are finding that the benefits outweigh the challenges.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, how can you convince staff, pupils and parents that going paperless is right for your school?
We’ve done some of the leg-work for you with our top seven reasons to go paperless.
Paperwork is one of the biggest drains on time for both teachers and support staff.
Teachers can save hours using an electronic system to give feedback to pupils. Administrative staff are much more efficient when they don’t need to tackle manual filing, various printing tasks and sending letters home. Not to mention the labour involved in chasing up reply slips.
Going paperless means that your school’s staff would no longer need to go to the staffroom notice board to fill out their choices for which sessions to attend on INSET days, or to give their food choices for the Christmas party.
Whenever a time-consuming process is involved, there’s every chance that a paperless system would save you money.
Recent research has shown that schools use an average of 1,000 sheets of paper per pupil each year. Some schools spend as much as £65,000 on printing costs alone. That’s a lot of paper, staples, ink, photocopiers and laminators.
What could you do with this additional money in your budget? That could pay for two teachers’ salaries, or several class sets of iPads. Imagine the impact this additional spending power could have on teaching and learning.
Everyone has their part to play when it comes to reducing waste. What better way for a school to do reduce their carbon footprint than becoming paperless?
Reams of paper get wasted in schools every year – piles of forgotten print-outs, surplus photocopies and letters to parents that never make it home. Modelling the right behaviour to pupils will teach them to be more eco-friendly.
What could your eco-schools policy achieve if you didn’t have to invest so much time in recycling waste paper?
How many classrooms in your school have old filing cabinets taking up space? How could your classrooms be transformed if this space was freed up?
Teachers could set up their classrooms to enable more collaborative work. Teaching assistants could be given suitable spaces to work with pupils on a one-to-one basis whilst staying in the classroom.
Your office staff could reclaim enough space to create an additional office. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if many schools could reclaim enough storage space to create a new classroom.
Imagine having all resources for teaching and learning, assessment and feedback and administration in one place.
Teachers will be more efficient and collaborative in their planning, and SLT would have a clear overview of what’s being taught. School leaders would no longer waste time collecting in sets of books for marking reviews. No more danger of pupils’ work being misplaced.
...and no more excuses about lost homework.
Having sensitive documents stored electronically is more secure than a paper filing cabinet. Access to these documents can be controlled centrally and even deleted from mobile devices at the click of a button.
With paperless document management, staff can access the information they need to from anywhere in the school, saving yet more time.
Even better, in the event of a disaster such as a fire or flood, all your electronic documents are retrievable.
Any school leader who’s ever dealt with a flood would jump at the chance to keep their valuable information safely online.
So many processes in the workplace are now completed electronically, so isn’t it time for schools to follow suit?
An employer won’t expect workers to use a paper planner to organise themselves, or to record their performance targets manually - so why do we expect it of our pupils?
If we are to truly prepare our students for the working environment, then the school environment needs to change to reflect this.
Is your school looking to go paperless? Are you blazing a trail and taking all your paperwork to the shredder? We want to hear your stories about going paperless in schools. Share your experiences, successes and concerns in the comments section at here.
Written by Cassie Marshall for Frog Education.
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