24 April 2013

Paritor support Honeylands Music Therapy Service Honeylands League of Friends

We are delighted to announce that Paritor have adopted Honeylands Music Therapy Service Honeylands League of Friends as the Charity of the Year for 2013.

Paritor have already been in talks with the Honeylands Music Therapist and the Honeylands League of Friends, establishing fundraising plans for the coming year.

 
Paritor received a high number of applications for our charity of the year partnership, but it was the Honeylands Music Therapy Service that managed to gain the team’s vote. The Music Therapy Service supports pre school aged children with complex special needs. Some have little or no social interaction and can find language impossible. For these young children, music can provide a wonderful way to encourage their development and engagement with the world around them.  The Music Therapy Service  allows them to develop their social skills such as communication, listening, sharing and responding. At present, the Music Therapy Service deals with 35 patients, however, a further 20 still remain on the waiting list.

Despite receiving NHS funding for the centre, the Music Therapy Service is not included, and their funding from other sources has now been withdrawn.


The Partnership between Paritor and the Honeylands Music Therapy Service, Honeylands League of Friends will last for 12 months from April 2013 to March 2014. The aim of the partnership will be more than just fundraising, providing greater emphasis on a strategic, mission-focused, cross sector partnership. One of the most essential elements of this partnership will be support into future years. Therefore a strategic plan will be developed to pool their varied resources, including know-how, networks and brand, working together to achieve common goals.

On the announcement of the adoption Simon Dutton, the Managing Director of Paritor said: “As part of our on-going commitment to support charities in the local area, we are truly delighted that our staff have voted Honeylands  Music Therapy Service  to be our chosen charity in 2013. Throughout the next 12 months our staff will come together to raise funds through a variety of events and activities, as well as aiding them in achieving a higher profile. We look forward to working with Honeylands Music Therapy Service, Honeylands League of Friends and supporting them”.

 

If you would like to find out more about the partnership please call 01395 445092 or email info@paritior.co.uk.
 

Paritor Ensemble Demonstration

Paritor Ensemble is our flagship product and the most used system of its kind in the UK. In the last 12 months Ensemble has undergone some fantastic developments both in line with requirements for music education and beyond.

If you would be interested in a demo our product manager will be happy to visit with you to show you all the exciting new developments within Ensemble and find out how it could fit in with the way that you work. If you be interested then please email sales@paritor.co.uk or call one of the team on 01395 445092.

www.paritorensemble.com

17 April 2013

Finance Management Course 12th or 13th June 2013

Paritor will be hosting a Finance Management Course for users or prospective use of the Ensemble system. Discover how to set up charges, discounts and invoicing rules, raise invoices and post credits and receipts and manage your debtor’s ledger.
Includes:

  • One-day course tuition
  • Morning, afternoon tea and informal lunch
  • Course certificate
At: Elizabeth House, Exeter Business Park, Exeter, EX1 3QS
Date: 12th or 13th June 2013
Price: £175 per delegate with lunch included.

(Please let us know if you require a quote with accommodation also included).

If you are interested in attending or would like to know more about the course please call one of the team on 01395 445092 or email sales@paritor.co.uk.

Paritor commission research in to the on-going provision of music tuition

Help to build a picture of music education provision and WIN A TABLET!

The reforms in music education over the past 18 months are unprecedented, never the less it is important that there continues to be a comprehensive picture of the provision of music tuition.

Paritor have commissioned this research in order to build a picture of music education sector. This research will be available on the Paritor Ensemble website as soon as it is published or alternatively subscribe to our newsletter we’ll make sure you receive  a copy.
The first stage of the research is aimed at organisations who currently provide music education tuition. Here is a link to the survey:
In exchange for giving up your time we're offering you the chance to WIN A TABLET as well as for every survey answered we'll donate £1 to Honeyland's Music Therapy Unit. 

15 April 2013

Guest blog: Robert Lawrie, Technical Manager. Security Best Practices

During our internal end of year conference we discussed several aspects of security, including personal, company and software security. This included identifying risks from malicious parties in addition to data integrity and disaster recovery. Many of the points of discussion were relevant to any business with a proactive approach to security.

Personal Security

In a modern office environment we all have passwords we are required to remember and enter into our computers every day. These can range from Domain passwords that we use to sign into our computers at the start of the day, to online service passwords such as webmail. By adhering to good security practices we can minimise the risk of these passwords being either stolen or guessed by malicious parties:

  • Use complex passwords, including mixed case, numbers and symbols
  • Keep passwords secret
  • Do not use the same password for more than one account.
  • Do not log into accounts on potentially compromised computers.
  • Lock any unattended computers.
Company Security

It is key to any company’s security that all employees practice good security techniques, however this can be further improved upon by good policies and practices at a company-wide level:
  • Ensure business critical data is backed up.
  • Give employees access only to what they need to fulfil their role.
  • Publish a company security policy so all employees know the expectations and requirements.
Software Security
As a software house, Paritor have additional security obligations. Many of Paritor’s software solutions handle sensitive data and with Paritor’s recent provision of cloud hosted databases it is extremely important that Paritor’s software keeps customer’s data safe. Paritor have added several measures to the software to ensure customer’s data is kept safe:

  • All connections to internet servers are secured with SSL 3.0 / TLS 1.1 so all data exchanged is encrypted.
  • All weak SSL ciphers are disabled on servers.
  • Customer passwords are complex.
Paritor also restrict access to their servers so only computers in Paritor offices can log onto them.

One of Paritor’s main assets is their source code. This is retained in a Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server which keeps a fully audited record of all changes made to the source code. This means Paritor can retrieve full source code for their products for any given date and time.
 
Rob

12 April 2013

Hints & Help: Adding a Mail Merge Document to your Record Menus

 
For this week’s Hints & Help blog I am going to show you how you can save your most common Mail Merges to your records, allowing you to access them more easily.
Once you have created the Mail Merge document you want to use, open up the associated record card (e.g if you have created a merge document that relates to Teachers, open up any Teachers record card). Go to the Communications tab, click on either the Mail Merge or Selection Mail Merge icons and choose the last option in the list called Manage Items in Menu.
Note: Remember the Mail Merge option will create documents just for the current record, whereas the Selection Mail Merge will take you through the extract wizard allowing you to select a set of records that match your selection criteria.
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This will display a manager dialog which allows you to add documents to the current record types menu.

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The dialogue displays three options:
  • Single and Multiple – This is for documents you want to appear in both the Mail Merge and the Selection Mail Merge menus.
  • Single – This is for documents you want to appear in just the Mail Merge menu
  • Multiple - This is for documents you just want to appear in the Selection Mail Merge menu.
Select the option you want and click Add Document. You will then need to select the document you want to add to the Menu. Once you have added your document, you will now it them Mail Merge menus you selected.

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If you have any more questions regarding this topic, or you want to request another topic for the Hints & Help blog; please let us know by leaving a comment or emailing us at support@paritor.co.uk.







9 April 2013

Guest Blog: Richard Hallam. How do we take charge?

Richard Hallam is currently the MEC treasurer and was previous the National Participation Director for Music Education as well as undertaking other roles in music education including as a teacher, Advisor and Inspector, Head of Music Service, professional trumpet player and conductor.

I have just attended my third major event in three weeks: Westminster Education Forum; Future Play and the Music Education Expo. Each time I was inspired by the sheer passion and commitment of colleagues in the world of music and their desire to share their expertise with young people. Over 200 people contributed to the debates on the future of the national curriculum; a further 200+ were looking at Music Systems for the 21st century, inspired by Dudamel, the LA Phil, HOLA and YOLA - their programmes for communities and young people – and over 2000 attended seminars and workshops at the Expo.

Two things struck me: first that there was very little overlap of attendees (not surprising as most people have day jobs and actually work with young people on a regular basis); and second, the messages from the delegates seemed to be largely about the impact of others on us and what others should do to make things better for us and the young people we care about.  So many of our problems arise from being asked to do ‘important’ or ‘urgent’ things for others that are neither important nor urgent for us. A school SLT demands that we assess every half term using sublevels; or use a lesson plan that works for English or Maths but not for music; or they care more about the extra-curricular showpiece events than they do about the entitlement for all young people through classroom music. Funding bodies ask for information in formats that are different to the ones required by our own parent organisation or accountants, doubling the workload for no extra gain. We are asked to provide information that does not impact on the quality of the experience for young people and not asked for information relating to those things that actually matter. Or at least, that’s how it seems to us.

So, what can we do about it? The good news is that help is at hand, if only we know how to access it! First, we must take charge of our own actions and take responsibility for how we prioritise our own time. If someone else asks for information by a deadline we can’t meet, or in a format that will require additional work – negotiate an extension or ask why your format is unacceptable. There may be good reasons why you need to comply and it will be less frustrating if you can understand. Consider what would happen if you refuse! Maybe someone else, higher up will get involved and come up with a solution no-one else had the authority to implement. But beware – relationships are easily damaged and take a long time to rebuild. Choose your battles carefully.

Second, talk to others in similar situations to see whether you are the exception or whether they share the same frustrations. How do they manage similar demands? Together you have more chance of effecting change than if you fight battles alone. And we may find we can learn from the best practice of others.

Third, look to sources of authoritative information and people in posts of responsibility who can argue for you or at least signpost you to evidence that will help. Ofsted is clear – THERE ARE NO SUBLEVELS IN MUSIC! Lessons in music should be MUSICAL! Young people should be engaged, motivated and inspired through making music. Yes, you should be supporting the school literacy policy if the students need to do some writing, but that writing and reading should support the music making. Most English departments have more staff and more lessons for English. Music teachers are often alone and only have one lesson at KS3 each week – if that! Your time has to be used empowering the young people to access high quality music learning. See the Ofsted YouTube clips and documents: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/our-expert-knowledge/music

Hubs and the National Plan are there to help too. The plan enables schools to challenge what the hubs are doing but also requires the hubs to challenge and support schools and together, to support high quality music education for young people. Mark Philips(Ofsted) said ‘music teachers in schools have to be at the heart of the hubs.’ Are you? Of course, these things take time - time when you could be making music with the young people. But over 20 years of a statutory national curriculum and significant investment of funds have not produced the changes we need. Governments and Ofsted could do more and more money would help. But are we being as effective as we can be to improve matters and provide the evidence for that support from politicians and funders for the future?

Over 2,500 key people, who did find time to go to one or more of those recent conferences can make a difference if we decide to work together on behalf of the young people and high quality music making. We need to commit to working together, put the young people’s music making above any personal agendas we may have, and then reach out to those who have not yet engaged.

If, over the next two years, we can turn 30% of good and outstanding schools into 40% and then 50%, we will show progress that over 5 more years could reach nearly 100%! That way we secure the future of music education and provide the evidence not only for continuing funding, but, when the economy finally starts to pick up, even more funding! And because we will be able to demonstrate we have used the funding well, we are more likely to get it.

As I have argued elsewhere – together we CAN make a difference. Let’s take charge now and secure the future of a music education system that is already the envy of many others around the world so that even more young people can benefit! Is a10% improvement each year too much to ask?

www.paritorensemble.com

Elections for Music Education Council - 16 April 2013

The election for Music Education Council' Executive Committee will take place on 16th April. Members of the MEC will be invited to nominate colleagues for the election to the positions of Chair and Vice Chair of the Music Education Council and to a number of places on the Executive Committee. As a member of the Music Education Council, Paritor are  looking forward to finding out what lies ahead in the world of music education. To find out more or to book your place:

http://www.mec.org.uk/news/2013/4/8/mec-spring-seminar-16th-april.html

8 April 2013

Paritor celebrates fantastic end of year!

Last year (April 2012 – March 2013) was our best ever year and Friday was our day for celebrations. The start of the day saw us finishing our end of year work before holding our internal conference where it was confirmed that we exceeded the year’s target.

SimonDutton (Paritor’s MD) and Shaun Durham (Sales Director) revealed exciting plans for next financial year. Not only will we be taking on new people but the direction of the company is going to be exciting as Schooble becoming a big part of our future www.schooble.com. The day ended on a high and after presentations from Simon and Shaun, as well as a security presentation from Rob (Technical Manager) and a briefing about our Charity of the 2013 from Jodie (Marketing), Paritor celebrated with dinner and drinks, a great way to start the new year!

Job Vacancy: VB or C# Software Developer

VB or C# Software Developer(s) – Salary £DOE

Opportunities for new graduates

Overview

Paritor Ltd are a well-established company with offices in Exeter and Budleigh Salterton providing systems to administer performing arts education across the UK and beyond. We use the latest cutting-edge expertise to produce back office systems running in traditional office environments and exciting front end facilities that employ web and mobile technologies. Recently we have launched a new social network.

We are continually investing in research and development. Due to our high growth, and the launching of new product offerings, we are seeking enthusiastic individuals to join our young team.

We have a strong track-record of training our own developers and introducing them to the latest technologies. Therefore we will consider graduates with the right aptitude who can demonstrate a desire to extend and enhance their IT knowledge.

Role

The role is to maintain, enhance and support the development of the company’s software products.  Comprehensive training is provided and opportunities are available to develop management skills and involve working with other developers and clients to ensure systems meet customer needs.


Key Responsibilities
  • Develop new features and test software components
  • Maintain software
  • Provide support to clients
  • Design new areas of development
  • Research and introduce new technologies and methods

Technical Skills

Essential
  • VB or C# .Net
  • ASP .Net
  • Win Forms
  • SQL Server 2008/2012
  • HTML

Desired
  • MVC 3 or 4, Razor
  • Entity Framework 4.0
  • WCF
  • JavaScript, jQuery, JSON

XHTML,CSS

  • Windows 8 Apps
  • Android Apps
  • Iphone/Ipad Apps
  • Mono

Hire Process

CV’s and other relevant information should be sent to Jobs@paritor.co.uk. Interviews will take place in Exeter where candidates will be expected to demonstrate their skills.  Candidates who are successful at this stage will be asked to take an online behavioural profile.

More Information

Paritor.com

Schooble.com

ParitorEnsemble.com

Job Vacancy: Business Relationship Executive


Business Relationship Executive - Salary £DOE

Opportunities for new graduates

Overview

Paritor Ltd are a well-established company with offices in Exeter and Budleigh Salterton providing systems to administer performing arts education across the UK and beyond. We use the latest cutting-edge expertise to produce back office systems running in traditional office environments and exciting front end facilities that employ web and mobile technologies. Recently we have launched a new social network.

We are continually investing in research and development. Due to our high growth, and the launching of new product offerings, we are seeking enthusiastic individuals to join our young team.

We have a strong track-record of training our own people and introducing them to the latest technologies. Therefore we will consider graduates with the right aptitude who can demonstrate a desire to progress and flourish.  

Role

You will be responsible for supporting existing customers with support and user issues by responding to non-technical enquiries. This will be done on the telephone and the production and upkeep of support materials (manuals, how-to guides, video etc). Internally, you will liaise with the product manager, sales support and technical departments. And you will maintain the processes and systems. Full training will be provided.

The successful applicant will be upbeat and enthusiastic and an excellent communicator. Ideally you will have some experience of dealing with customer enquiries in a technical environment and be comfortable in a small team.
Hire Process

CV’s and other relevant information should be sent to Jobs@paritor.co.uk. Interviews will take place in Exeter where candidates will be expected to demonstrate their skills.  Candidates who are successful at this stage will be asked to take an online behavioural profile.

More Information

Paritor.com

Schooble.com

ParitorEnsemble.com

4 April 2013

Hints & Help: Data Analysis Tools

Data Analysis is an important part of Ensemble, in this Hints & Help blog I want to introduce you to the basic tools at your disposal in Insight. There are three main tools that you can use:

Sorting

The Sorting tool is very simple to use and allows you to order your data by a specific column. All you need to do is click on the column header that you want to order by, and the system will immediately order your data by that column.
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A grey arrow will appear on the column header to signify that you are now ordering by that column. As you can see in the image above the data is ordered by the LastName column.

Filtering

Filtering is another useful tool you can use to manipulate your data. To activate this function click on the Filter icon on the Ribbon Menu in Insight (highlighted below). You will then see a filter icon appear against every column header.
Filter Icon
To filter by a particular column, simply click on the filter icon on the column header, from here you can select the value you wish to filter by.
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Grouping

The Grouping tool is one of the most useful in Ensemble, especially in achieving the same results in other programs is much more difficult. Essentially, the Grouping tool allows you to group your data by any of the columns you require quickly and easily. All you need to do is click and drag the column header you want to group by into the Grouping area above the column headers.
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Once you have done this you will see Insight has immediately grouped your data by those columns and given you figures for each grouping.
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These three tools can be used separately or together to let you manipulate and visualise your data in many different ways. If you have any questions about these features please leave a comment or send us an email at support@paritor.co.uk, also if you have any topics you want the Hints and Help blog to cover please let us know!

3 April 2013

Celebrating the end of the fiscal year with a 50% increase in customers!

The 2012 fiscal year was the best year in Paritor’s history, and we are celebrating a 50% increase in customers, so a massive thank you to everyone who has chosen to use Paritor Ensemble. This is consequently the third year in succession in which the company has achieved unprecedented organic growth against a background of challenging economic conditions. The restructure and unrest faced by music ed organisations has meant that it has been necessary to re-evaluate their operational structures, often highlighting the benefits of Paritor Ensemble.

Next year, Paritor is set to cause an even greater stir in music education as many of you have already noticed we have already we have recently undergone a rebrand (we welcome your feedback) and with big plans to increase our staffing levels as well as our product range, Paritor Ensemble will no longer be just a software solution but the brand will cover a wide range of music education management tools. Watch this space!
www.paritorensemble.com