Governor access to RAISEonline

Ofsted have announced a long-awaited method for governors to have access to at least part of the RAISEonline system. In a nutshell, they are suggesting that each governor should have password login to the website and, when logged in, would be able to access the ‘full report’, but not any of the interactive data.

Whilst I believe that this is a fantastic development, there are a couple of real problems with the thinking behind it.

Firstly, there seems to be an assumption that the printing costs for the report are to passed on to governors, in order to save the school money!

The full reports (the part that govs are to be given access to) are PDF files created on an A4 Portrait layout. A4 Portrait is one of the best paper formats, but is highly unsuitable for on-screen reading. Any portrait format is not very suitable for screen reading. We all have landscape screens, so why not design the report to a landscape format?

Most governors do not have fast laser printer/copiers with duplexers, whereas many schools have. It is much cheaper, greener and more time efficient to print multiple copies on a big school printer than each governor print out their own copy on a little inkjet at home.

Secondly, instead of the printing costs, the development has imposed a system management overhead on the school in creating individual user accounts for each governor in order to get access. Group access accounts are discouraged (a good thing), but in many schools, especially small schools, the RAISEonline Administrator is the HT or DHT. Do we really want them to have to go in and create multiple accounts, just in case a particular governor wants to read a single PDF file? Why not just download the PDF and either print it out and pass out the copies, or email it to all governors? Wouldn’t that be simpler?

And thirdly, if separate user accounts need to be created, why not let the users request an account? This would require a single admin point ON THE RAISEONLINE SITE where we could go in and register, and request and account giving our name, email, school name and school URN. this request would be automatically passed to relevant school’s RAISEonline Administrator who would then authorise (or refuse) the request. Minimal overhead on the part of the school. Works for every school in the country. It’s a system that’s in use right across the web on millions of sites. It’s simple and it works.

This is a cumbersome, clumsy and inefficient way of giving governors access to a single PDF file.

It (again) shows a lack of understanding of ICT systems by the decision makers in Ofsted/DCSF.

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