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Thousands of schools risk being left behind in digital transport revolution

  • Three quarters of schools are dissatisfied with their existing technology offering
  • Less than one in four schools have invested in technology to manage their school transport
  • Staff losing thousands of hours every week on outdated school run processes

Schools are at risk of falling behind the curve due to a lack of technological investment in crucial support processes, according to a new study into school leaders across the UK.

An overwhelming 73.2% of schools do not believe that their existing technology offering is at a good level – meaning thousands of staff hours are currently being wasted on inefficient, outdated back-office processes. This is a central finding of a nationally representative survey of 250 school leaders, commissioned by school transport technology specialist, Kura.

In particular, ineffective management of home-to-school travel has a major impact on time, productivity and quality of life for staff. One in six school leaders (16.8%) report that staff at their school spend 11 hours or more managing the school run each week, equating to thousands of hours needlessly wasted each year. This comes as little surprise, given that a third of schools still track attendance through easily lost manual paper registers and a further 29.6% still do not keep track of pupil numbers for safeguarding purposes.

Outdated school travel was also found to have a major impact on time, productivity and quality of life for parents, who increasingly expect a safer, greener, smarter school run, with a third of parents (34%) expressing a need for the school run to be made easier.

Furthermore, 53% of parents expect schools to be doing all they can to improve their carbon foorprint, and a further 42% report being more interested in green issues than their children, making environmental credentials a key point of difference for schools looking to boost admissions ahead of the new academic year.

Despite 40% of schools believing technology is the key to solving these issues and running their school more efficiently, less than a quarter (22.8%) have invested in technology to manage the school run over the last decade.

With schools across the country being held back by outdated processes, forward-thinking organisations that invest in school transport technology will encourage parents to choose a more sustainable, convenient mode of transport for their child, and differentiate themselves from rivals.

Reassuringly, 38% of schools and 48% of multi-academy trusts (MATs) report that they plan to invest in upgrading technology, including school transport, within the next five years. However, those schools that do not follow suit will be left behind and will inevitably lose market share to their more innovative and forward-thinking neighbours.

Godfrey Ryan, CEO of Kura, comments:

“There remains a minority, but a growing one, of schools who see the potential of a technology-enhanced school run service to attract new pupils and parents. The innovative schools that take the leap both differentiate themselves from competitors and encourage parents to choose a more sustainable, and convenient mode of transport for their child’s travel each day.

“Tens of thousands of hours are wasted each week to inefficient school run processes across a mere sixth of the UK’s national school network. Outdated, manual, unfit-for-purpose school run procedures waste time that could be better spent improving the day-to-day running of the school.

“Given that many schools remain behind the curve, the financial, reputational and environmental dividends this initial outlay could bring those who dare to innovate are monumental – the sky is the limit.”

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