Forum is ready to go!

The Curriculum and Community App for the future

Forum is a web-based information system providing schools, pupil referral units, and alternative providers, with a responsive  management system suitable for  primary and secondary phase. 

The core system includes a robust curriculum progress management module arranged by subject area, to record your school's curriculum intent, implementation, and impact

Forum enables teachers and teaching teams to

  • plan, support, demonstrate, and celebrate their children's achievements
  • effectively monitor and respond to their personal and social development and well-being needs.
  • manage their continuing professional development 

Forum enables schools to

  • capture the key narrative describing the children's learning and development
  • maintain a comprehensive and current map of the whole school's curriculum planning
  • ensure that programmes of study are being implemented in a timely and effective way
  • review and respond the impact of teaching and learning on children's curriculum progress
  • maintain key information on their children and export this with one click for statutory reporting
  • manage staff professional development.

Forum flexibility

Schools can apply forum's flexible tools to a huge range of management and administrative tasks.

  • collecting, reviewing, and sharing information within school using Forum is quicker and easier than using paper or e-documents
  • schools can also choose to share information with. and collect it from. parents and governors. 

Our unique notes forms and tags system enable you to combine narrative data, grades and ratings of any kind, across the whole database. 

So you can view, edit and combine data to meet the specific needs of the moment. 

Forum is ready to go

Forum is provided to schools preconfigured with default settings. 

As soon as the children and staff users have been added to the system schools can begin to 

  • add baseline assessments to pupils in core and foundation subjects
  • build their curriculum map
  • add programmes of study and assign these to classes
  • monitor children's progress.
  • keep a running record of student well-being, social and emotional development
  • monitor and respond to conduct concerns
  • transfer other school management and development activities to Forum at the school's own pace. 

The way Ofsted inspect schools is changing from September 2019

The new draft ‘Handbook for the Inspection of Schools’ has already been published for consultation. 

Matthew Purves (Ofsted’s deputy director for schools) says, “…a vast amount of teachers' time is absorbed into recording, collecting and analysing excessive progress and attainment data… And, in fact…they and we can’t be sure that it is valid and reliable information.”

Heather Fearn (Curriculum Lead for Ofsted) says: “The Curriculum is the progression model.”

The TES says, “Clearly not all schools are happy about this proposal… There are those that have invested heavily in tracking systems and implemented them almost entirely with Ofsted in mind, only to be told that inspectors will ignore it.”

SecEd says, “…judgements on the breadth and depth of a school’s curriculum (are) to be placed at the core of school inspection…”

These dramatic changes are to be welcomed from an educational point of view.  But this obviously has a huge bearing on what data schools gather in the future.  

Forum is already configured to support the curriculum progression model    

Forum is designed to record children’s progress through the curriculum.

The curriculum framework module makes it easy to generate Programmes of Study, Schemes of Work, Unit Plans, Mark-books, and other curriculum assessment schemes. 

Our intuitive curriculum mapping module will bring together curriculum planning and implementation data with evidence of ‘impact’ on a single page.

We are also developing a new timeline feature which will enable users to view graphically and analyse all the data on the system on one page

These developments will be made available to schools during the trial period and be included in the core configuration. 
 

We are offering a free trial to early bird subscribers!

Schools can use Forum for free during their trial of the system. 

There is no obligation and no cancellation fee.

It's as simple as that.

Schools can book  an online demonstration before signing up

You can book a demo using the book a demo link.

You can then sign up for the free trial. 

We will contact you within one working day with detailed, but simple, joining instructions.

We will send you two agreements in electronic format

  • our terms of service and conditions
  • our data protection  compliance and assurance agreement.


Your forum app will be ready to go live one working day after both agreements are signed and returned.

Towards the end of the trial period you will be asked to pay the annual subscription fee for your account. 

If you do not wish to proceed you simply notify us that you wish to cancel your account before the trial end date.

Forum maintains high standards of data security

Data is encrypted in transfer using the same level of security as banks, stored on secure servers located within the UK, and backed up frequently.

Once the data leaves your device you can be sure it is completely secure.

The main data security risks arise when users do not apply appropriate data security policies 

Users will be automatically logged out of the system if they do not use it for 15 minutes. But this still leaves 15 minutes during which an unattended computer can be accessed by someone who else.

Staff using the system in a busy locality may be unaware their screen is visible to someone else.

Users should therefore be reminded of the four basic data security rules: - 

  • never leave your device unattended and open
  • when other people are around, make sure no-one can see your screen
  • user a strong password and make sure no-one else knows it
  • make sure your device is protected from malware and spyware and all applications are up to date. 
  • How forum ensures managers can always be clear about accountability

Every time users write a note they are required to specify exactly who can view the note and the information in it (The system will not allow ‘viewing by default’).  This means that the user posting the information is accountable for who it is shown to, because it cannot be posted until the user actively says who can view it.

Controlled access can also be provided to families, external course providers, and other agencies to view essential information and contribute to progress, which is especially useful for monitoring alternative provision and co-ordinating external intervention programmes.
image showing how notes are assigned to users by the person posting

 

Full details of our data safeguarding policies are provided in the GDPR compliance agreement - you can review this during your demo, or request a copy using the contact form.

 

Full details of our data safeguarding policies are provided in the GDPR compliance agreement - you can review this during your demo, or request a copy using the contact form.

This data asset map shows the status of your data when it is managed by us within the Forum App

DATA ASSET MAP

Flow diagram showinh encryption of data in transit and UK location of servers 

 

The specification below describes the subscription version of the application.

Some features will not be available until March.  

Most management information systems show users a spreadsheet of data (a bit like MS Excel) and then provide views of the data drawn from the spreadsheet. Forum collects and displays the data to users using a different background technology called Ruby on Rails (wikilink).

Ruby manages the data differently depending on the way it is input and provides a styled view of only the essential information on screen, with appropriate controls.  This means forum is easy to view and to use on any device (mobile, tablet, desktop).

The IT term for this is 'responsive'. It means that the page reshapes itself to fit readably on any size screen. Click here to view an example.

Data input modes

Notes forms frameworks and records are all assigned to one of the three groups - staff, students, and school.

 

data entry modes are notes forms records frameworks

 

Students data can be viewed on the students timeline, and for progress data, on the curriculum map or in students' progress records.

Dtaa flow diagram

Writing a note page and writing an email requires about the same time and effort. But a Forum  note has many advantages over email for all in-house purposes. Notes can also be shared with external professionals, families, and governors who are registered on the system.  Users can also tell Forum to send a notification to a user telling them there is a note for them to read with a direct link to the note. 

As with email, you can send a note to any selection of people and add attachments, and request confirmation the email has been read. In addition it saves users' time and stress by 

  • assigning the note to a particular students' or staff member's log. 
  • assigning it a tag (category) and a rating if selected.
  • adding it to the student's timeline
  • immediately notifying senior leaders if the note is critical
  • processing tags and ratings for easy review
  • linking the note to other notes, forms, and frameworks to form a running record of critical events or situations which persist over time
  • requesting notes to be digitally signed (if required) to confirm they have been read and understood.

The timeline page has three areas

  • Options area
  • Timeline display area
  • Data table(s)

Users can select

  • a student or student group (e.g. class/ ad-hoc group/ whole school)
  • the time period to show
  • what notes, attainment, and forms to include on the time line

The view can also be stratified by key demographics such as gender or SEND

The selected data is shown on a vertical timeline

Beside the display a range of relevant demographics are displayed. 

  • count of items on display,
  • averages where relevant,
  • changes week on week in relevant items, etc. 

A ‘tooltip’ shows the content of the timeline item.

On click, that data appears in a second pane

On double click the selected item can be opened for detailed review and response.

Use the zoom button to compress the timeline vertically (shows more dates without scrolling) or scroll the page to view older information in sequence.

shows vertical timeline with bars for tags, and data analysis, with options select

 

Forum was designed from the beginning to support students' progress on a curriculum basis 

Now that Ofsted are going to be looking very closely at curriculum intent, implementation, and impact (see Ofsted tab above), we are upgrading our curriculum planning features to include an interactive curriculum map bringing together frameworks for planning and delivering the curriculum, and measuring student progress in terms of what they know and understand,and what they have developed in terms of the skills to apply them.

The curriculum map is a graphic display of the school’s whole curriculum

Schools can choose what maps they want to create - generally it is easiest to have one for each phase - Primary, Secondary and Sixth form.

Managers, teachers, and Governors can:

  • Click on any cell to navigate directly to the chosen curriculum area (eg ‘English, Y5, term 2’)
  • See which areas of the curriculum need review and which areas are underdeveloped.

Colour codes:

Brick-red:               there is no planning or other information about this curriculum element

Amber:                   this curriculum element has planning or other information

Lime-Green:          this curriculum element has been approved at Governor level  (lapses after 6 months).

Grey:                       the school has opted not to use this element in curriculum management

This example shows the Primary phase map

In this example:

  • There are no planning, progress or other documents for Religious education
  • English, Art and design, and Music subject level documents have been approved at Governor level.
  • STEM Key stage documents (and PSHE, Citizenship, ICT, Art,  Music) have been approved by Governors.
  • The school does not plan at year level except in STEM subjects – preferring to plan at Keystage level - so the year level cells are greyed out.

Mulit cell grid graphic with cells for subject, keystage, year and term planning

 

View the map by subject

Click on the subject name to open the subject

This gives a graphic display of the individual subject.

Teachers can

  •  add, view, and edit items at Subject and Keystage level

Managers can:

  • Click on any cell to navigate directly to the chosen curriculum area
  • Click on any item to review contents
  • See which areas of the subject (at any level) need review and which areas are underdeveloped

Colour codes are the same - although if it is the school's policy, approval of the planning in each area can be given by a senior manager instead of a governor.

The curriculum lead for each area of planning and implementation is displayed

Schools can specify the number of terms in each school year (in school settings)

Multicell graphic showing data uploaded at subject and keystage level

 

View the map by Year plan

Click on the year plan cell to display the year plan .

  • Teachers can add, view, and edit items at Year or Term level

Managers can:

  • Click on any a Term cell to navigate directly to the chosen curriculum area
  • Click on any item to review contents
  • See which areas of the subject need review and which areas are underdeveloped

Multi cell graphic showing all data uploaded at year and term level

Students' module

Each student has their own summary information pane in the students’ module. 

The 'More actions' button opens the student's full records. The whole school view can be searched by name and filtered by group or class.

shows student pane, info and links described below.

The student pane shows a thumbnail of the student's photo, and their year group, date of birth, ethnicity, attendance and location data (if mobile tracking app is enabled), and critical SEMH conditions and/or warnings.

One click links are provided  to frequently used pages (can be customised by the user).
'Key information' displays the student data profile, accountable adults, professional contacts, family and community, education history, and post-leaving outcomes.

Notes can be tagged, and the tags processed to show trends, and peaks in  the rating for each tag.
Notes can be linked to goals to show evidence, or otherwise explain goal outcome
The student's progress summary shows goals/ targets/ learning objectives set and achieved individually and as compared to the class.

The full record includes

  • Attendance data
  • Ratings analysis 
  • Accident, incident and near miss analysis
  • Assessments     
  • Student risk assessments
  • Consents
  • Health data
  • parents’ and carers’ termly report meeting
  • Any other data the school collects using forms (questionnaires). 

 

The Staff page displays the individual staff members' area

  • Key info
  • Movements and location (if mobile tracking is enabled)
  • Staff photo
  • Continuous performance record

The full staff records allows staff members and managers to record and share their progress record

  • Collate managers' feedback and guidance made throughout the year,
  • Captures observations for supervisions
  • Self-evaluation using appropriate professional standards template (see
  • Record and review personal objectives set at supervision or
  • Show the SIP objectives assigned to this staff
  • Links to online organisation improvement plan (if enabled)
  • Access staff guides
  • Access and record training and certificates
  • Access staff policies

shows self evaluation checklist

The Today Page

This is the site landing page providing a summary of all the key information a member of staff might need:

  •  The previous day’s reports and notes
  •  Recent Form submissions
  •  Quick links to key areas 
  •  Image and file galleries

Electronic student registration via mobile or tablet

The app includes a full function attendance registration suite if required.

Forms 
Users can create and organise their own forms or use a range or pre-set forms. 
Any combination of users can be permitted to view submissions, depending on the sensitivity of the data and need to know. For instance, it can be restricted to a single individual, shared with the executive team, or with everyone. 
Forms are ‘assembled’ using a drag-and-drop tool to add free text one-liners, paragraphs, options buttons (radio, checkbox, and dropdown field) and date fields.
Create pre-set fields for e.g. questionnaires, tests, and schemes of work, or use default. 
Submissions can be viewed, sorted, filtered, collated, and summary data generated. Data can be exported in common transfer file format.

Tools    

  • User profiles
  • Define tags, ratings and grade systems
  • Create curriculum frameworks or select default.
  • Assign schemes of work to classes (or individual students)
  • Create professional standards or select default standards
  • Set school dates
  • Create user groups 
  • Organisational identity, and options settings (eg calendar style)
  • Add assessment types
     

Mobile App    
The mobile app provides wi-fi, 3G and 4G access for Windows, Android and IoS handsets to the mobile version of Forum and tools for tracking and reporting location and attendance.
Register: Submit attendance information for students from any location.
Export data can to other electronic formats.
Report location or request tracking. 
Provide assistance: Flags up to other users in the vicinity and on administrator desktops that the member of staff requires urgent assistance.
 

Data Export and import
Data can be exported from and to Forum for a variety of purposes in common file transfer format  and as XML files for school census purposes, or as standard spreadsheets for internal use.