22 December 2010

Prof. Susan Hallam's paper delivered at Music Education Conference on 9 Dec

Intended and unintended consequences of proposed government policies








Professor Susan Hallam, Institute of Education, University of London

We are currently in a period of great change. During this time we should not underestimate the considerable threats to music education. The aim of this conference is to enable those involved with every aspect of music education to share their concerns and explore collectively what we can do and how we can maintain and enhance what we already have in spite of the challenges.

You should not assume that the title of this presentation means that I am able to distinguish between the intended or unintended consequences of proposed policies. This would suggest insider knowledge that I don’t have but I am confident that some consequences will be intended and others not. My intention is to provide a brief overview of what we know about proposed policies in relation to different areas of music education and to consider some of the consequences.

Adult and community music: Budget cuts for adult learning are at an average of 16% but in some Local Authorities are as high as 20%. The Adult Learning Grant (ALG) is to be abolished. These changes will impact on programmes offered in music. Arts council cuts are also in train and these are likely to impact on a wide range of community music provision.

Higher Education: A cut of 80% is proposed in the higher education teaching grant. There will be no state funding for study in the arts, humanities or social sciences. Students will pay the full cost of their tuition with fees expected to be between £6,000 and £9,000 per annum. In addition they will have to cover their living costs. This may deter young people from studying music in the UK. Some young people may go abroad to study where there are no or low fees. This may impact on the music profession and the creative industries in the UK. University music departments and the conservatoires may also face a reduction in overseas students because of the tightening of the visa regulations. It is not unthinkable that some university music departments may close as a result of these changes.

Further Education: The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is to be cut. This may lead to a reduction in the numbers of students staying on in education until age 18. There is to be a much greater emphasis on apprenticeships as a means of delivering training. This may have consequences for the music industries.

The government is ending the disparity in funding between schools and colleges for 16-18 year olds. Funding will be at the previous level of colleges which were the most efficient. This reduction in funding for school sixth forms is likely to lead to rationalization of their curriculum offer. Subjects with small numbers of students may no longer be offered. This may mean that ‘A’ level music may not be able to be sustained in some schools.

Schools: The aim of current policies is to give schools more autonomy. The intention is that, in time, all existing schools will become Academies. Academy chains, multi-school trusts and federations are already developing. There is also provision for the setting up of ‘Free’ schools by parents or other groups. Schools will be able to determine the targets that they set, choose what forms of external support they want and determine how to evaluate themselves.

It is difficult to interpret what the White Paper ‘The importance of teaching’ says about the curriculum. Academies and free schools will be able to depart from aspects of the National Curriculum where they consider it appropriate but will be ‘required by law, like all schools, to teach a broad and balanced curriculum.’ Schools will be encouraged to offer a broad set of academic subjects to age 16 but they will also have the freedom to innovate with the curriculum. There are plans to review the National Curriculum, including that for the early years. The revisions should ‘set out only the essential knowledge and understanding that all children should acquire and leave teachers to decide how to teach this most effectively.’ The new National Curriculum will embody children’s ‘cultural and scientific inheritance’. There is also reference to ‘traditional subject disciplines’. The proposed new curriculum is described as ‘slim, clear and authoritative for all parents to see what their child might be expected to know at every stage in their school career.’

The English Baccalaureate will be awarded to students who secure good GCSE passes in English, maths, the sciences, a modern or ancient foreign language and a humanity such as history or geography. The arts are not included. This is a cause for concern as the Baccalaureate is likely to become the vehicle by which the performance of schools is judged.

Funding will largely be devolved to schools through a single funding stream called the Dedicated Schools Grant. A fairer national funding formula is proposed with increased transparency. Ring fencing of funding for specific activities is to be removed as a principle. This could have a profound impact on some musical activities. There is to be a pupil premium for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, there is considerable controversy about whether this is ‘new’ money or the redistribution of existing monies. This source of funding could be used to support the musical activities of disadvantaged children. Individual schools will take decisions relating to the use of such funding.

Accountability: Information on expenditure in education will be in the public domain so there will be greater accountability. Ofsted will retain responsibility for assessing the quality of education in schools but will refocus inspection on schools’ core educational purpose and spend more time in the classroom observing teaching. Outstanding schools will be released from all routine inspection.

Education Endowment Fund: An Education Endowment fund of £110 million will be set up to fund innovative projects to raise the attainment of deprived children in underperforming schools. Applications will be invited from schools, Local Authorities and others. There may be opportunities here for proposals relating to music.

Teacher education and Continuing Professional Development: More places will be provided on the Teach First Programme to encourage high performing graduates to enter teaching. There will be no funding for students with less than second class honours in their first degree to take a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

Teacher training will be focused on classroom practice. More time will be spent in the classroom with a focus on observing existing teachers. Teaching schools will lead training and offer professional development opportunities. University Training Schools will be set up. The focus on training in schools may present some problems for music particularly at primary level, where there is sometimes limited musical expertise. At secondary level, while there is some outstanding teaching, this is not always the case. There will be a competitive national scholarship scheme to support Continuing Professional Development.

Extra-curricular activities: Funding cuts at Local Authority level are impacting on Music Services with some staff already in receipt of redundancy notices.

The Henley Review: The White paper ‘The importance of teaching’ states that children should expect to be given a rich menu of cultural experience. For this reason Darren Henley has been commissioned to explore how music education can be improved and how more children can learn to play an instrument. The Henley review is also expected to inform the government’s broader approach to cultural education.

The assumptions underpinning the Henley Review include a commitment that every child should receive a strong, knowledge based cultural education and should have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument and to sing. The government recognises music as an enriching and valuable academic subject with important areas of knowledge that need to be learnt including how to play an instrument and sing. This suggests that there is a commitment to ensuring that children have opportunities to engage in music making despite the austerity measures currently being implemented.

Endnote: I would like to try to end on an upbeat note by quoting from a recent article in the Times Higher Education in the ‘Off Piste’ series where people are invited to write about something other than their own subject. Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford concluded his article:

‘we should do away with the entire school curriculum and have one long music lesson instead. That way we would cover pretty much everything in the national curriculum, all within an overarching themed structure – and have a great deal more fun doing it. I sometimes wonder whether we haven’t missed the point of education.’

Education Bradford celebrate with festivities at Bradford Cathedral

Education Bradford brought together two schools to join as one choir in the final Christmas festival at Bradford Cathedral on 13.12.10. The pupils were from the Ks2 cello continuation scheme.





In the New Year celebrations will continue, on 23 January 2011 Bradford Youth Orchestra's New Year Concert will be held at Square Chapel, Halifax.



Coventry Performing Arts Service's Christmas Concerts

Coventry Performing Arts Service is the major provider of performing arts activities in Coventry. Teachers and artists work in schools and the community to provide a range of high quality learning and performance opportunities through music, dance and drama.


Coventry performing arts service held a number of chrismas concerts such as Youth Brass Band, String Orchestra, Recorder Academy and Coventry Show Choir.



Christmas really wouldn't be Christmas without a very special evening of Carols for All and at CPAS this included the St Michaels Singers, Cathedral Choristers and organist Alistair Reid followed by a Christmas Concert finale.







15 December 2010

Job Vacancy: Junior Software Engineer

Essential skills

  • Experience of programming in at least programming C#, VB.NET or JAVA
  • Friendly telephone manner
  • Ability to work in a logical manner
  • Exceptional problem solving
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Based in Budleigh Salterton or the surrounding area
  • Enthusiasm!
Desirable
  • Knowledge of VB.NET and SQL
  • Experience of web design
  • Experience of mobile phone development

We are currently looking to recruit a junior engineer for our software house based in Budleigh Salterton, Devon. Our team is fast expanding and the successful candidate will be enthusiastic and willing to learn.


This is an excellent opportunity for the right person to join a highly successful organisation and build a career in the field of software engineering. We are a relatively small team and you will be jointly responsible for the development of a continuously developing software system.


You must also be a friendly and have an excellent telephone manner, as an additional part of the job will involve communicating with clients.


If you are interested in the role and would like to find out more please email jobs@paritor.co.uk with a word copy of your CV, all suitable applicants will be contacted to discuss the role in more detail.

14 December 2010

Rhondda Cynon Taf Music Service join Paritor....


Rhondda Cynon Taf Music Service are our newest clients. This year has been an immense year for them, not only have they been involved in the largest single production at the Wales Millennium Centre, @In tine with Yourth in October and have also run a fantastic song writing project in school with Martyn Joseph called Broken Peace, to commemorate the Tonypandy Riots of 1910.





Earlier this year their top young musicians successfully auditioned for places in the National Youth Ensembles. A total of seventeen pupils successfully won places in the National Youth Choir of Wales, National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Wales, and the National Youth Training Choir of Wales, with two achieving places with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales.

Hints & Help: Sending Christmas E-cards to Teachers

With Christmas fast approaching, we at Paritor thought that it would be a good idea to provide some Christmas Themed help. So here are instructions for sending a Christmas E-card to all your Teachers using Paritor Insight.

Step One: Extract Teachers for Email

On the Ribbon Menu go to Teachers -> Extract Teachers.
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Select from the Extract Wizard that you want to Email Teachers and refine the search to include the teachers you want to email. Note that to send the email to Schools or Pupils you can just follow the same instructions but in the relevant Extract Wizard.

Step Two: Write your E-card

You can either write the email yourself or you can use the HTML template we have written . The template is attached to this email as a Word Document; you can change the text, colour, picture etc. if you so wish in Microsoft Word.
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If you would like the Christmas Template to send out to your teachers please conatact Support@Paritor.co.uk and we will email the template to you
When the E-card looks as you want it to simply save the file as a ‘Web Page’ which will save it as an HTML file. Once you have the HTML E-card refined to your specifications you can load the file in Paritor insight.

Step Three: Load and the HTML with Paritor Insight and Send the email

To load the HTML into the email you need to select the HTML icon on the Email function
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You then need to click Browse and select the amended HTML file that you have saved.
Once this has been done simply click Send and all your recipients will receive your festive E-card.
If you need any help with this please contact Support@Paritor.co.uk

13 December 2010

Local Authorities spending cut by 4.4%


This month we learnt the funding for local authorities would lose an average of 4.4% for the 2011/2012 period. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles also said that no council would be losing more than 8.9%. He went on further to confirm that he would be publishing he Localism Bill which will dramatically change the role for local authorities.





Gwent Music Support Service Christmas Celebrations

Gwent Music Support Service held a number of Christmas Celebration Concerts around the county including a main one held at Newport. The Newport concert was an annual Christmas concert and featured all groups and was held at Caerleon University Sports Hall on Saturday 11th December 2010.

Other activity included a Christmas Extravaganza which was a full day of Christmas activities from Taiko Drumming to choirs, Brass bands to Isca Linea.

Chrismas at Norfolk Music Service

Year 7 students really enjoyed their festive Christmas treat as Norfolk Music Service's own pop band paid a special visit to our school in the last week of term to perform a 'Live Concert'. Students really showed their appreciation in the traditional manner and it was great to see them all dancing and singing along.


'Live performances are more entertaining than CD's as you have to look somewhere and we are dancing and watching them play' (Student quote)




'What I enjoyed the most was being able to sing along' (Student quote)




'I loved 'Dancing Queen' (Student quote)

Local Authority Spending Revealed

Today is an important day for Local Authorities as it will be revealed how much funding they will receive from the central government over the next 2 years.
It is anticipated that this will be a significant cut for many councils. The Localism Bill is believed to give groups in local communities more control over their spending and be able to take control of services previously regulated by central government.

Norman Smith, Chief political correspondent, BBC Radio 4 “Localism is a key part of the Cameron agenda and is regarded as central to building the so-called "big society".
“The aim is to empower local residents and communities so they, and not the state, take more responsibility for services and decision making.”
“The big question though is whether this localism agenda can be delivered without extra money.”
“Critics suspect at a time when local councils are having to cut budgets by 27% over four years placing responsibility on local residents is just cover for cutting council services.”
“Voluntary and community groups are equally sceptical that they will be able to take up the slack if their funds from local government are being cut back.”
“But perhaps the biggest challenge to the localism agenda is the fact that the one ingredient it seems all government reforms require if they are to be a success is - money.”



Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, speaking to BBC Radio 4 this morning said “local authorities would see a reduction in local authorities' spending – but councils could still provide a "decent service" and save money through changes like sharing chief executives and the way they buy goods and services.”
"I believe it is possible to cut significant sums out of local authorities by simply improving the way local authorities operate."

"They've simply got to wake up to the fact that it is no longer viable to have their own chief executives, their own legal departments their own education departments, their own planning departments - they've simply got to put this together and they've got to look for ways to see these services provided in partnership with local communities."

He went on to say: "I'm expecting local authorities to be able to provide more for less, I'm expecting them to be able to provide a reasonable level of service and I think local authorities shouldn't have some kind of alibi in feeling that these have been imposed from the centre and therefore they've got to provide every single cut on the front line."


The bill will also include a community right to challenge, here by giving community groups or parish councils the potential to take over a local service such a children’s centres.

9 December 2010

Music Education is imperative say the British public

Whilst we are all awaiting the announcement of the music education budget, a recent study by ISM has found that 91% of British adults want children to have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument at school. ISM Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts said 'These results are overwhelming evidence that people in Britain are hugely supportive of our world-class music education system. Now is the moment for us to speak up loudly and proclaim just how good music education is in this country and how much support it has.'







These result have come through at an important time, and with cuts lingering, it is imperative the importance of music education is demonstrated. John Witchell’s Chief Executive of the FMS agrees ‘We produce superb musicians because we have a first class, world class music education system, underpinned by and dependent on music services’

The government body, Ofsted have not failed to recognise how important music education is, Tony Knight, Specialist Adviser for Music, OFSTED ‘Having the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and to play and perform with others is known to improve self-esteem, self-confidence and social skills leading to a positive attitude to schooling and improved standards in music and the wider curriculum”. But in today’s client economic climate nothing should be taken for granted, and continuous progress should made with promoting how good the system is, keeping shouting about it and tell everyone!

Celebrating 5 years of a successful partnership

Paritor Ltd and North Somerset Music Service commemorate 5 years of working together to provide a high standard of service for music pupils in North Somerset. Paritor’s principal software Ensemble Enterprise has supported North Somerset Music Service in much of their day-to-day running. Enterprise has offered assistance from general administration to producing complex financial reports. The key initiative being to allow The Music Service to progress in their key role; delivering the best service that they can to pupils in the most cost effective way.


In May 2005 North Somerset Music Service incorporated Ensemble in its day to day running. Five short years later the partnership is stronger than ever.


So how did it all come about? The initial idea came from North Somerset’s Head of Service, Mark Trego who realised that in order to operate efficiently and to the optimum standard, the administration of the service needed a central software solution. Mark called Les Wharram, whose expertise lay in this field as ICT Project Manager North Somerset,. Les didn’t take this decision lightly, and after carefully establishing the requirements of the service including those set by the DfES, he undertook a thorough examination and review of the market. Eventually Ensemble Enterprise was found to tick all the boxes and prevailed above all others, with most importantly providing a ‘value for money solution’.









5 years later both organisations have seen many changes but as with any good relationship they have grown and evolved together. Both organisations share the vision of providing the best quality music service to pupils efficiently with value for money and this has been the core foundations of the successful partnership.


Today, North Somerset works with over 6000 young performers each week through delivering training to school teachers, running festivals and projects, undertaking visits to schools in order to introduce music from other cultures , delivering ICT sessions, providing instruments and leading bands, orchestras and choirs.


Mark Trego, Head of Service at North Somerset Music Service said ‘The range and quantity of music provision in North Somerset has been developing very rapidly for a number of years; to such an extent that the administration and management processes came under severe strain. Introducing Ensemble as the central tool in the administrating of the service has had a very positive impact and effectively removed barriers to expansion and future development.’


Great success has come to North Somerset Music Service this year, in Jan it gained praise from government inspectors. An independent evaluation of the service by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) said the service was ‘very good with outstanding features’.


Rob Lawrie, Paritor’s Senior Software Developer says ‘We are very proud to be in association with such a great organisation. They are always striving to improve their service and we are glad to be a part of that. We would like to say a massive thank you for the remarkable 5 years of business and we hope that this will continue long into the future’


‘It’s been really good to work with a company that has such a passion for music but that also has a strong business head, constantly looking for new and innovative ways of improving the service they offer.’


This five year anniversary celebration not only commemorates these accomplishments, but it also recognises the potential of this partnership to provide an even better service in the future. Mark Trego Allied with exceptional product support from the Paritor team, investing in Ensemble has proved a very worthwhile undertaking.'



10 ways to make your Music Service more cost effective

Avoid letting the budget cuts affect your music and performing arts service, instead follow our steps to make your service more cost effective and efficient.







1. Efficiently inform all members of a group for cancellations

Due to unforeseen circumstances lessons, groups etc are cancelled which means that a significant amount of time is used up getting hold of teachers and pupils to inform them. Therefore it is necessary to find the most cost effective and efficient way to reach them. Many forward thinking organisations now consider SMS and emails an invaluable tool, and Ensemble allows you to contact all members of a group through the database by sending emails and text messages.
Quickly type messages and send them to all members of a group as easily as one individual. Check what messages have been sent by viewing the comprehensive communication log.


2. Use online applications

Parent’s application for their children to join a lesson can be a long drawn out process, and often means that once the application is received it then needs to be imputed by the administration team. Here cost efficiency can be save through providing an online space for parents to apply, pay and check their child’s progress without even getting in contact with the service.
Ensembles cloud database allows them to do everything online, which means fewer interruptions for the administration team.

3. Use online timesheets for teachers


It can be a long process for the administration team to gather timesheets from teachers, waiting for them and then having to administer them into the system. Ensemble allows teachers to fill in their own timesheet online, cutting back on unnecessary administration costs.

4. Improve debt management

As with any successful business it is important to keep a good cash flow system in place. One key part of this is to improve your debt management. Most debts are not bad but are often the result of people who have genuinely forgotten to pay which is why it is so important to remind parents/payers at regular intervals and to give them deadlines which are both realistic but also not so far in the advance it will give them the opportunity to forget. Ensemble sends out an automatic invoice to debtors at specified periods so you can keep on top of this.

5. Measure the value of individual teachers

Teachers are a core part of any music service they are your key resources. Therefore it is important that they are working to optimum capacity. By analysing their progression with Ensemble this means that it is possible to highlight any links between the teachers and the success that their pupils are achieving. It is therefore possible to ensure that your service is working to the best of its abilities or identify where problems have arisen, and perhaps where more training should be allocated.

6. Optimum utilisation of teachers

Teachers are an effective resource for services and should be used effectively. For example you may start the year with 10 pupils in a group but a few months later this may drop to 5 as the year progresses, so while at the beginning it was necessary to have 2 teachers, this is probably no longer the case, and valuable resource could be better employed elsewhere. Ensemble allows you to consistently check this information, and records can easily be updated online.

7. Online mileage calculator

With many services, teachers need to travel from school to school it is therefore necessary to find out the optimum schools or routes for a teacher to take. With Ensemble online mileage calculator it is possible to do this.

8. Find cover efficiently

A time consuming task is to find cover efficiently, without having to ring around to all the teachers that you currently hold on your database. It is possible to use Ensemble’s data extractor to specify which teacher’s will be free at that particular time, who will be able to get there and who is qualified to take the class.

9. Understand what are the main reasons for pupils to leave

As with any business it should be necessary to find out about customer dissatisfaction. If you have had a lot of pupils leave one lesson in particular, Ensemble will record the reasons for this so that in future this can be avoided.




10. Reporting and analysis of how the service is progressing

Reports are necessary for any music service, as part of the dfes and Ofsted who want to know how you are doing, what you are doing in order for any assessment. But analysis and reports can also be a useful tool to find out where you are going wrong and thus help you to rectify these mistakes. Ensemble Insight allows you to produce custom reports to help this.

7 December 2010

Contacting parents, teachers and pupils in adverse weather conditions

Hundreds of schools were closed last week and tens of thousands of children were forced to stay at home due to the adverse weather conditions. The snow reached record levels for the time of year. With Scotland and the North of England were the worst affected.



Dr Lynn Rose, head of Lindisfarne Middle School in Alnwick, who opened last Wednesday but by lunchtime weather warnings had become so severe and driving conditions were consider hazardous that she had to close.

“Every day we do our best to open if it is safe to do so. But there is a lot of deep snow. It is up to my knees on the school site and where the snow had slipped off the roof, it was up to the caretaker’s waist.
“Our concern is to the get the children home safely. Some of our transport providers didn’t manage to get children into school and we are getting reports from them that the roads south of Alnwick are worsening. We share transport with other schools so we made the joint decision to close.”


Problems were found with relations to how to contact parents to let them know that lessons had been cancelled, and in subsequent days also teachers and parents to inform them that the schools wouldnt be opening. Sending bulk emails or text messages is the most effective way but many education establishments don’t hold this information in one database let alone have the ability to send out text messages.

Paritor’s software allows users to send out emails and text message to members of one group.

6 December 2010

Paritor to team up with Music As Therapy International

Paritor Ltd has launched a charity partnership with Music as Therapy International today, aiming to increase the charity’s fundraising and to enhance their profile. MasT International won the Charity of the Year position with the software company after securing the majority of the clients and public vote.

Paritor’s staff will have the opportunity to take part in any of the Music as Therapy International events as well as being able to organise their own. Later this month Jodie Vickerstaff, Marketing and PR will visiting the Music as Therapy International office and meet with Alexia Quin, Founder and Director to establish a fundraising and project plan for the next 12 months.

Simon Dutton, Managing Director ‘All of us at Paritor are thrilled to announce Music as Therapy International as our Charity of the Year 2011. It will be an amazing fit for what we are doing and we hope the 12 months from Jan will see an inspirational and rewarding partnership develop.’

Alexia Quin, Director of MasT International “We are overwhelmed by the incredible show of support from Paritor’s clients and other people excited by our work who have voted for us. It is an honour to be working with Paritor and a fantastic way for us to enter 2011 with all that we have planned.”


MasT International began working in Romania in 1995 and has now expanded to work internationally in countries including Georgia, Bethlehem, Rwanda and the United Kingdom, as well as continuing their activities in Romania. As a result of their training projects, Local Partners are now running their own Music Programmes in care settings across 3 continents, potentially benefiting over 4,000 previously neglected children and adults.

2 December 2010

Changes in version 4.1.8.0

There are several new features included in this update especially to the facilities provided within the schedule

If you would like to download a PDF of the changes click here.

Changes to the Schedule View

Lesson Shuffling and Create Extra Session

It’s now possible to shuffle lessons forward or backward by a week; this will push all following lessons forward or backward one week.

To do this, expand the detail of a lesson, select the session you want to shuffle and click the Shuffle Back or Shuffle Forward icon.

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The Create Extra Session function allows you to add on an extra session to a provision if any previous sessions were cut short and the time purchased has not been met.  This is an idea method to use where teachers deliver lessons but cut them short.  So that the full due time is delivered over a full term you can create an extra visit.  This feature is also useful should a teacher want to split a lesson due to be provided for a specific week.  Say for example a teacher is scheduled to visit a school for two hours on a Tuesday afternoon but for some reason wishes to change this to an hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon.  To achieve this you can alter the original lesson to be an hour long and then create an extra hour session for the morning.

To use this feature simply click on the Create Extra Session Icon and choose the time, date and duration of the extra lesson.


 

Separation of Ad Hoc and Term/Annual Schedule Activity View

This new feature means that Ad Hoc provision activities are kept separate from your Term Based provision activities.  This de-clutters the schedule display as activities such as courses and trips are displayed in a separate list from standard academic term based activities.

To switch between the two lists click on the Term/Annual Schedule or the Ad Hoc Schedule view icon when viewing a schedule.  Note when adding a new activity you need to have first selected the appropriate view.

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Default Ad Hoc Provisions

This function allows you to set the default number of sessions, session duration and session frequency for an Ad Hoc provision. This facility is particularly useful when you provide tuition on a simple repeating week pattern. For example you provide six weeks tuition to a pupil and then repeat this with another six weeks and so on until the pupil finishes.

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Rooms in Centres

This allows you manage multiple rooms or studios with a single centre allowing you maintain separate diaries for each.

Too add a room go to the Rooms tab in the Centre Record and click New Room

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Too add a lesson to a room select the room from the Venue option when creating the Centre Activity

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When you select the diary view from a Centre record, individual room diaries are displayed for up to two rooms.  Click on the drop down bar at the top of each diary to change the room.

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You can merge all room diaries together or show then has separate diary views by clicking on the Show Rooms icon on the ribbon.

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Individual Lessons

This allows you to create a lesson for a specific pupil rather than creating a lesson first and then adding one or more pupils to it.   As a result the lesson only exists while the pupil attends i.e. if you enter a finish date for the pupil then the lesson will finish, likewise if you finish the lesson then the pupil is assumed to finish.

To add individual lessons simply go to the Schedule view of your teacher or venue and click the Pupil Activity icon

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New option on Print Debtor Balances

It is now possible to list accounts which have marked as Held or Stopped but have made a payment since a specified date.  To produce this list, select the Print Debtor Balances Report and choose the Held or Stopped with Transactions Since option.

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Profiles

This feature allows you to select the defaults as to which reports you want Emailed and which you want Printed. You can also select whether or not you want to send an SMS Notification to the recipient to inform them that you have produced the report.

To set the System Profile Defaults go to Tools -> Housekeeping -> User Profile Defaults.

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This will display a set of tabs for each part of the system and on each tab is listed the related reports.  By default all reports are set to print and not have a text notification.  To change this for any report select it from the list and click the add button.  This will move the report into the right hand column where to can select the required Publish Methods and Notification.

However if a particular person e.g. Teacher, School, Payer etc may like a particular report produced via a different method from the default.  So for example you may have set your system default to email out Payer Invoices but a specific payer may want theirs posted.  In such a case you can override the system defaults by opening up the record card and setting the profile for this person.

 

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Other Diaries

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The Other Diaries icon allows you to add various Teacher diaries to the view so you can see if any of them have corresponding free times in which you could enter a lesson.  This has a number of uses, take for example you have a request to provide some individual tuition at one of your centres.  In order to recourse this you can open the Centre record and view its diary.  From this you can see the free time for each room.  By clicking on the Other Diaries icon you can pull in selected teacher diaries in order to find if they also have free time.

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Note it is not possible to alter the Teachers’ diaries from this view


 

Other Changes

 

Multiple Teacher Lessons
On the Centre Pupil Lists, Lessons with multiple Teachers no show all teachers involved.

Instrument Hire Link
The Pupil Name on a School Pupil Instrument hire is now a link to that pupils Record Card, i.e. when you double click on a School Pupil Hire the corresponding pupil record is opened.

Remove Tuition Icon
The Remove Tuition Icon has been re-instated.

Please Note that this icon removes all of the tuition’s history from the database. Only use this option when you want to delete the pupil’s tuition, if you want to end the tuition you need to enter a finish date.

Instrument Search View

When listing Instruments the status column now shows the related person where the instrument is on loan.

Fixes

Unscheduled Requirements Fix

There was a problem with opening the Unscheduled Requirements Report which has now been fixed.

Pupil Record Tuition Amendments Fix
On the pupil Records, amendments made to tuition in the Autumn term now is copied onto the subsequent terms

Pupil Transfer Fix

There was a problem with Pupil Transfers which has now been fixed

Startup Error Fix

There was an occasional Startup error which has now been fixed

Pupil Timetable report Fix

Last Names now show in the Navigation Pane when printing Pupil Timetable in Diary format

Finish Dates Fix

There was a problem with the default Finish Date which has now been fixed

Signature Fix

Signatures entered on User Records now show in Emails.

1 December 2010

Celebrating 5 years at Paritor


In 2005 Rob joined Paritor to help re-engineer the core product, Ensemble. Rob had just finished University and was looking to find a project that really interested him. As a keen guitarist from 7 years old, he had experienced and been a product of the amazing work done by the local authority music services, and so Paritor seemed an obvious choice.




Since then Rob has held an innovative role within the company, making a number of key developments to the software. At present he is currently leading the development of the cloud based software which will mark a key milestone in the company's roadmap. So according to Rob what have been the highlights ... 'Obviously working on Ensemble has been a fantastic project; it is a very specialised and truly innovative product. We are able to develop a close relationship with all of our clients, something which I feel so many software companies fail to do.'

'The reason that it is has been so interesting for these last 5 years is that we really want to make a difference to music education, and here at Paritor we do this through ensuring that we are always at the cutting edge of new developments within both software engineering and music education. These past 5 years have been absolutely fantastic.'

Stop the snow spoiling your schooling

The snow is here and isn't it beautiful and lots of fun, assuming that is you are not trying to manage a Music Service with teachers all over the place and schools ringing in saying they are closed.



Did you know that with Ensemble you can simply select the school and with the click of a single button Text a message to every teacher due to visit the school. How simple is that?

26 November 2010

New Faces - William Parslow


William Parslow, Customer Relations Consultant. Will joined us over the summer and has been working towards improving customer relations.

He has been involved in projects such as re-writing the user and reference guidance, restricting the online help facilities and developing online help videos and other materials.


Will has spent the majority of his life immersed in the performing arts scene and planned a career as a drama teacher before coming to Paritor where he has brought his passion for performing arts and ability to solve the related problems. This mind set means he can view the software from a performing arts teacher’s perspective and thus understand and help solve any issues that may arise.