29 October 2010

November will mark Teacher’s Month at Paritor

Paritor will address the concerns and pressures which are felt by many teachers across the country.

November will mark teacher month at Paritor following the most recent launch of Ensemble Schedule. Ensemble Schedule is design specifically for the management of teachers and will be given away free.

In honour of this new development, the company have decided to mark its launch by dedicating November to the celebration of teachers, the core feature of the software solution. The month will focus on different activities applauding the hard work and dedication of those who play an influential role in education, but also looking at the stress and pressures which they face today. The end of October marked the coalition government’s comprehensive spending review and the funding cuts have considerably heightened both teachers and teacher manager’s stress, with worries that they may lose their jobs as well as the pressure of having to do more for less. Therefore, it is the perfect time to launch Ensemble Schedule a free product that can be used to improve the organisation and simplify teacher management.

For more information or to keep up to date with Novembers developments follow us on Facebook http://alturl.com/2fab9 or Twitter www.twitter.com/paritor.

Updates: Changes in the System

The Help Blog this week is slightly different, Instead of retelling an interesting Support Ticket. We have decided that it would infact be better to inform you of the changes to the system that are to be implemented in V4.1.6.25 Enjoy.

Changes to Viewing Pupils from the Schedule

This year we have had several queries regarding the process of transferring pupils between lessons and entering finish dates for pupils. We have therefore taken a fresh look at the way this works within the system and made a number of changes which we hope will simplify things and make it more straightforward to operate.
You will see that the buttons within the Pupil Group are only active when their specific operation can be performed. So for example you can only select Transfer Pupils(s) when one or more pupils have been selected and you can only view a Pupils Details when a single pupil is selected.

Entering a Finish Date
Rather than having two separate buttons on the ribbon to enter a Finish Date and to Remove a Finish Date we now have just the single button that changes depending on the state of the current pupil. So if the currently selected pupil has a finish date the button will provide the option to remove the finish date and where the current pupil does not have a finish date the button allows you to add a finish date.
We have also added an icon to the display to indicate where a pupil has a finish date in a future provision (term). The system has always displayed a small red no entry icon alongside pupils who have a finish date within the currently selected provision but you will now see a grey version of this icon where the pupil has a finish date but you have selected to view a provision that is not the provision in which they finish.

When you select to enter a finish date you now have an option to finish the pupil at the end of the currently selected provision. This option is in addition to the existing option of selecting a specific date. Where you do select to enter a specific date, the date you select is now restricted to being within the currently selected provision.

The Batch Finish button has been removed. To finish a batch of pupils you now select the pupils you want to finish by holding down either the CTRL or Shift button and selecting the pupils. The Enter Finish date operation will then apply to all the selected pupils.

The Delete Tuition button has also been removed as a number of users were mistakenly using this to finish a pupil’s tuition rather than entering an actual finish date resulting in all the tuition details being removed. To totally remove a pupil’s tuition use the Enter Finish date and select a date on or before the pupils original start date. Note that in order to do this do will need to select the pupil’s original start provision so that the form allows you to select this date.

Transferring Pupils between Activities

As with the Enter Finish Date operation the Batch Transfer button has been removed and you now transfer multiple pupils by selecting them all and then hitting the Transfer Pupil(s) button.

The Transfer Pupil form has been changed slightly. The Transfer at End of Provision option has been removed accept for when you have selected the last provision of the year. This removes the confusion over whether to transfer as at the start or end of a provision. If a pupil changes activity between terms the required approach is therefore to select the provision in which the pupil starts in the new activity and then take the option to transfer from the start of the provision. This is the only way to perform this transfer correctly, selecting the Transfer on date option and choosing the last day of the provision will not result in the desired result. Doing so will result in the pupil being in the original provision for all but the last day and then being in the new provision for the last day of the provision.

Where a pupil transfers within a provision then you must select that provision and take the option to specify the transfer date. The available dates are restricted to dates that fall within the selected provision.

The one exception to the guidelines above is where you need to transfer a pupil at the end of the academic year. This situation occurs when the activity a pupil is in does not exist in the following year. The system is therefore not able to progress the pupil into the next year leaving the pupil in a state where they do not have a finish date but are not in an activity. These pupils can be listed using the Unallocated Pupils report. To resolve this situation you need to indicate in the original year where to pupil is to go in the following year and to do this you use the transfer facility, first selecting the last provision of the original year. The Transfer form will offer an option to Transfer as at the End of the Provision and if selected will list the activities available in the following year.

I hope that this has helped and that you have all had a nice half term. The Help Blog will return next week and it its usual format.

28 October 2010

How much will stress cost the public sector?

Last year the cost of stress was an average of £900 per worker per year, new figures have revealed. Stress is the biggest cause of long term absence in the public sector, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

"Many public service jobs are stressful at the best of times but now, with everyone across the public sector fearful for their jobs and the extra pressure of having to do more for less, it's hardly surprising that the health of many workers is under threat" said Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary.

Public sector workers took an average 10 days off with stress last year whilst for teachers it was 6.2. However the Teacher Support Network have warned that it is set to increase this year and they have open a support Line for those who are struggling to deal with stress. If that’s you, you can contact them on 08000 562 561.

27 October 2010

Arts Council England cuts announced

In the aftermath of the government’s spending review, the Arts Council England has been left with a massive 29.6% cut in its budget.

The budget has been cut from £449 million to £349 million and is going to affect everyone involved in music and arts. But how have the Art Council decided where to make the biggest savings. Below is a brief outline of the cuts which were announced yesterday:

• A 6.9% across-the-board cash cut for U.K. arts organizations in 2011/12.

• A 14.9% real-terms cut to the money available for the regular funding of arts organizations by 2014/15.

• Significant cuts to the funding of Creativity, Culture and Education, Arts and Business, and the Arts Council's development funds.

• A 50% reduction to the Arts Council's operating costs, currently stated as £22m ($34.8m), by 2015.

In response to these cuts Liz Forgan, chair of Arts Council England, has said: "We are determined to lead the arts through this tough period, using all our knowledge, expertise, and brokering skills, and drawing on the resourcefulness and imagination around us."

"These measures are designed to ensure a strong and resilient future. The country needs its artists at a time like this and we are about building, as well as sustaining, our unparalleled arts and cultural sector,"

25 October 2010

Job opportunity! We're seeking a Marketing Assistant for our expanding team.

For immediate start

Organisation: Paritor Ltd
Location: Budleigh Salterton, Devon
Job: Marketing
Job Type: 3 month temporary (with opportunity for a permanent position)
Hours: Part time hours to suit

Role purpose:
The marketing assistant will provide support to the marketing team and will be in charge of managing prospective clients and the day to day running of a direct marketing campaign.

Position requirements
• Proficient with Microsoft office
• IT literate
• Excellent communication skills
• Ability to provide excellent customer service
• Educated to A-level standard or equivalent
• Good telephone manner
• Computer literate
• Interpersonal skills - an outgoing and sociable person who is a team player
• Professionalism, a self-starter with good time management & organisational skills

Please send a copy of your CV to jobs@paritor.co.uk

21 October 2010

Will the music education grant be preserved?

Schools funding is safe but what about the music standards fund
The coalition government’s comprehensive spending review has meant that schools in England are to get a real-terms increase in funding. However, what does it mean for music education in the form of the Music Grant (formerly the music standards fund).
The music grant is a high source of funding for Local Authority Music Services around the UK. Henley’s music review is to be announced next month and leaders and officials have suggested that this will form the basis of any decisions made on funding. However, the local government settlement means that it will need to reduce the number of core grants from 90 to 10.
‘We would strike a serious note of caution at the suggestion of the end of ring-fenced funding,’ said Virginia Haworth-Galt, chief executive of the Federation of Music Services.

She continued: ‘We hope that there will be no arbitrary decisions made on music budgets before the Department for Education’s own review of the funding and delivery of music education has been completed.’
But Council leaders have already been stung by a cut of £311m in area-based education grants announced by Michael Gove in the summer, and the end of National Strategies next April means there has already been a reduction in support services.80% of local authorities plant to cut education services. Leaving 1000’s of teachers and education staff facing redundancy.

Deborah Annetts, chair of the Music Education Council,‘At the moment it’s difficult to say exactly what it does mean for music education. There is a possibility that ring-fenced funding will no longer be going into music education. We don’t know, but that has always been a risk.
‘It does make the Henley review even more significant. Arguing passionately for music education, being the very best advocates and speaking with one voice becomes even more important.’
To read the full CSR go to www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/spend_sr2010_documents.htm

Hints & Help: Progress and Batch Transfer Pupils Icons

The most noteable Support Ticket this week contained a question about a couple of icons that have been removed.

The customer asked said 'The Progress Pupil buttonand batch transfer button does not seem to the there - unless I'm not looking in the right place - it used to be at the top?

The answer was as follows

Yes your right the button isnt there any more, we have changed the layout a bit because there were a few too many icons to fit on the screen for smaller moniters. To prgress pupils now what you need to do is selcet transfer pupil and then choose the option 'Transfer at end of' selct the necessary provision, this will have the same effect as the progress pupil function.

We have also removed the Batch transfer and Batch progress pupil option, now what you need to do is select the pupils you want to progress/transfer (using teh Ctrl or Shift keys) and press Transfer/finish pupil, a list of those pupils will then appear and from there you can progress or transfer them

I hope that this will avoid any confusion in the future for those who want to use these funtions.
The Help Blog will return next week.

Can’t receive Twitter or Facebook at work?

Our latest feature is an in built option in the software which will allow you to keep up to date with the very latest news from within your sector. We’ll keep you update with everything from the performing arts education to new administration, in real time.

To access the new Paritor News simply:

Start at the ‘home’ tab click on the ‘tasks’ button

‘Tasks’ will then appear on the right. Under ‘settings’ click on the ‘widget’ button

‘Display latest news from Paritor’ currently set at ‘none’ click on this and then choose whether you would like it displayed on the left or the right.

Click ‘confirm’

You should then be able to see the latest updates. If you need any help please contact one of the team on 01395 445092.

19 October 2010

Music Technology can inspire poor performing pupils

Poor performing pupils learning basic skills like maths and science have been inspired by music technology. The project was devised by scientists at the University of Plymouth, and undertaken throughout the UK, Romania, Italy and Spain.

The results found that maths scores improved by over 10%. Project co-ordinator Eduardo Miranda said: "Electronic music was used as a way of engaging young people and introducing them to concepts which could then be used to teach other subjects such as maths and science."

Business will move to the cloud

Cloud computing is set to become the mainstay of most organisations' IT provision over the coming years, according to a new survey. An IBM study of IT professionals, revealed that more than 90 per cent of respondents say they could see onsite systems being put on the back-burner by 2015, with cloud taking over to become the platform of choice.

At Paritor we are committed to the future of Cloud Computing, all our products are now available as cloud versions and we offer a secure cloud data hosting service for all our clients. For more information about how we can help you please visit www.paritor.com or call us on 01395 445092

15 October 2010

Hints & Help: A list of Instruments and Pupils

Welcome to the third installment of the Help blog, this week the Support Ticket chosen was another 'HowTo' question. A customer wanted to know how many pupils were presently having lessons within the service, not including and including groups, and also a list of the total number of instruments on loan etc.

The solution was as follows:

For the Pupils having lessons you need to do Pupil Lists and Member Lists for groups. These are found in the School, Centre and Group tabs. When you publish the report, open the Data tab, which will take you to a table of the data, click any column header with a Sigma (The Big 'E' thing) and from the drop down list that appears click 'count' you will then be see the total number of Pupils/Memebers having tution at the moment at the bottom of the table. Note that you need to do this with Schools, Centres and Groups and then add them together, there is no report to show ALL pupils.

The solution for the Instruments is simelar, firstly you will need to print an Instrument Stock Report and select that you want a list of all instruments.To get this to to Instruments -> Print Instrument Stock Report. Once you have done this click on the data tab and do a count (like with the Pupil lists). Then you need to group the data by the InstrumentStatusDsc column, you will then see how many instruments are on hire etc.

Thank you for reading this and I hope it could prove helpful to you in the future, The Help blog will be back next week!

13 October 2010


Paritor Ltd, a software house based in Devon who has been solely providing software solutions for the last 15 years to Music and Performing Arts Services, has been confirmed as being the leading provider for management and administration software.
Paritor’s core product Ensemble is way ahead of competition for music and performing arts services in the UK, a recent survey has found. The survey was commissioned by Paritor to find out more about music and performing arts service’s management and administration.

7 x more popular

Ensemble is over seven times more popular than its nearest rival and is the clear choice for any Performing Arts Service. Angela Ball, Head of Knowsley Music & Performing Arts, says :
'We chose Ensemble over all the comparable systems available because it seems the most exciting and innovative one to help move our service forward.'

Paritor works solely with music and performing arts services, which means that the solution offered is tailored to them.
Clients range from large shire based local government authorities with enormous geographic range and over 15,000 students to inner-city local government authorities with a dispersion of around 2,000 pupils. These services all require something different, and Ensemble is able to provide their solution which has become an invaluable tool to clients. Russell Charley, Coventry Performing Arts Service:
'We selected Ensemble as the result of recommendations nationally from other Music Services and wanted to support a company who shared the same passion towards Performing Arts as we do and therefore understood our needs. Ensemble has reduced the need for double entry of our information on to a staff/accounts database and has led to savings in the region of £10K annually. The management information produced from Ensemble enables us to look at the service and how we are performing so that we can develop our business plan.'
The Paritor team ensure that the software is continuously up to date with the newest developments in the software world which means that it is of the highest standard possible. Managing Director Simon Dutton thinks this is to why Ensemble has been so successful.
‘The key to the success of Ensemble lies in the flexibility to adapt to any music and performing arts service and the way that they run. We are constantly updating our software so that it conforms to authority regulations, keeping us always one step ahead of the competition. Our software engineers always work with the most innovative solution.
However, whilst this is excellent news for the company, the survey also found that more than 60% of services do not use any integrated management tool. These services are still in the age of using a selection of tools such as Excel, Access and council based finance systems.
This lack of integration and the inability to bring together teacher activity, pupil information and financials is restricting the amount and accuracy of management information and having a negative effect on the service provided to customers. Two factors which are becoming extremely important as services find themselves coming under more and more financial pressures. Ensemble can provide the Solution.
Simon Dutton, Managing Director ‘The next 6 months mark an exciting time for the company, and we hope to take the performing arts world by storm. This month we have launched our first ever free software solution, Ensemble Schedule (Beta) which we hope will assist teaching managers in their management and administration. ‘
To find out more information about Paritor and its software solution Ensemble please visit www.paritor.com or call one our team on 01395 445092.

Free to use Ensemble Schedule Launched

This month we are launching a new piece of software which will be available for you to use absolutely FREE. The beta version of Ensemble Schedule will take the stress out of managing your teachers, one of the most time consuming and demanding tasks for any music service. To find out more about what you can get from Ensemble Schedule please Click Here

Free to install and use on any number of PC's

Cloud based database so you can access you data from anywhere the software is installed e.g. office, home or out at schools.

Hold detailed records of Schools and Centres plus your bands and orchestras.

Comprehensive details of all your teachers.

Define and hold all your teaching schedules.

Maintain detailed diaries of teachers and venues.

Record non-delivery of lessons including reasons.

Produce service level agreements for your clients.

Calculate your school bills and generate billing advice notes.

Produce Teacher agreements detailing their work for the year compared to their contract.

Print Teacher Timesheets and Registers.

Provide Access for teachers to remotely update their diaries.

Produce reports and analysis using Paritor Insight.

Email and Text Teachers and Clients.

Best of all, it is absolutely FREE and because it will be hosted through a cloud database you can access your information from anywhere providing that you have installed Ensemble Schedule giving you the flexibility to work from home, another office or even the Bahamas! To start using your FREE copy of the software, simply download from: www.paritor.com/ensembleSchedule or alternatively for more information contact one of the team on 01395 445092.

5 October 2010

Who will be our Charity of the Year 2011?


Today Paritor have opened voting for a Charity of the Year 2011. After a fantastic response to our bid for charities to come forward and nominate themselves to be Paritor’s Charity for 2011, we have now rested on 9 each of who are featured on the website and are desperately looking for your vote.

The charities display a fantastic range of worthwhile causes and each one has made a very valuable case to be Paritor’s Charity 2011. It is now for clients and the public to make the final decision over who will be successful.

The successful charity will be the most high profile partnership for Paritor and it will also be the first of its kind. The partnership represents a fantastic opportunity for the winning Charity, not only with regard to fundraising but also for gaining extra publicity.

Simon Dutton, Managing Director: ‘We hope the 12 months from Jan will see an inspirational and rewarding partnership develop, but this can’t happen without the help of our clients and the general public who will play the most
important role in deciding which charity has presented the most valuable case.’
Voting is now open until 30th November 2010. The “winner” will be announced at the beginning of December. To view the charities pledges and to make your vote please visit www.paritor.com/charity.htm

1 October 2010

Hints & Help: Total numbers of Pupils/Instruments

The Paritor Help blog is returning for its second installment. The question that was asked in this support ticket was a 'How To' question that I think would be others would find useful, so here it is.

The customer asked how to get a list of the total number of pupils presently having lessons within the service, not including and incuding groups. And also get a list of the total number of instruments out on loan etc.

The answer is as follows:

For the Pupils having lessons you need to produce Pupil Lists and Member Lists for groups. These are found in the School, Centre and Group tabs of the Ribbon Menu. When you publish the report, open the Data tab, which will take you to a table of the data, click any column header containing a Sigma (The Big 'E' thing) and from the drop down list that appears click 'count' you will then be see the total number of Pupils/Members having tution at the moment at the bottom of the table. Note that you need to do this with Schools, Centres and Groups separately and then add them together, there is no report to show ALL pupils having tuition at the moment.

To get a list of instruments there is a simelar process, firstly you will need to print an Instrument Stock Report and select that you want a list of all instruments.To get this to to Instruments -> Print Instrument Stock Report. Once you have done this click on the data tab and do a count (like with the Pupil lists). Then you need to group the data by the InstrumentStatusDsc column, from this you will be able to see how many instruments are on hire etc.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps. The Help Blog will return next week for multiple installments. Remember if you ask a good question, it may well turn up here so watch this space!