Not all heroes wear capes! Sentral takes their development heroes for a night at the movies with Avengers: EndGame

In what was the busiest period yet for Sentral, finding a balance between work and everyday life can be a challenge for some.

At Sentral, we like to recognise and reward our employees throughout the year which provides a sense of recognition and empowerment in their day-to-day activities whilst also promoting a healthy work-life balance all year round.

This time, to celebrate the highly anticipated Avengers: EndGame movie release, Sentral rewarded the development team for an evening at Hoyts Chatswood to relax with colleagues and bond over the biggest box office hype at the moment.

To capture the mood and excitement of the event, we asked fellow employees about what it meant to work at Sentral:

Will who is a mobile developer at Sentral really enjoys working with his colleagues. He is enthusiastic about the work he does and believes “management is lovely and really encourages a health work-life balance.”

Ewan who is a test analyst at Sentral believes his colleagues are great to work with but also fun to hang out with. During busy periods, Ewan believes “the camaraderie and playful banter really helps us maintain positivity and celebrate our successes.”

Sentral encourages other businesses to pursue similar initiatives to celebrate success and recognise the efforts made by teams in achieving business outcomes. Happier employees translate into greater employee satisfaction and better results!

SENTRAL TAKES SERVERS TO THE CLOUD!

For decades many organisations and educational institutions relied heavily on physical servers to store data, communicate with each other and access resources easily.  The growing need for reliable network connectivity is largely due to the increasing demand of the modern world when it comes to accessing accurate information quickly, seamlessly and in real time, no matter where you are.

For years schools appreciated servers as highly essential and functional but soon discovered as demand increased, it was not flexible. While physical servers have proven to be an effective solution for many years, there are several qualities lacking that will hinder technological advancement.

Why your physical servers should be history!

Unreliability: While most schools continue to use servers they sometimes experience inevitable breakdowns affecting school productivity and workflow. For example, a server breakdown during report-writing season would result in a delay in finalising school reports.

Unscalability: Servers do not give schools the flexibility to reach economies of scale in a quick and cost-effective way due to limited bandwidths service providers may have on offer.

Risk: A server in the classroom or school office could be affected by disasters, such as a fire or malfunction in which case valuable school data may be lost.

Technology and IT Support: Keeping up with technology can be costly and investments into servers are a dreaded expense for any school, particularly when new advances or updates drop into the market. A server also requires constant IT support and rely heavily on a full-time staff member or a third company IT provider.

Serviceability and warranty: A server warranty only lasts a few years and could be shorter than the standard education period of a child over the course of their schooling years. Once a manufacturer’s warranty expires there are two issues at hand, the first being parts for particular models can cease and if they are still available, they can be expensive to source. If schools experience this situation, it is recommended that an investment in the cloud is undertaken to avoid this reoccurring problem.

Sentral Education believes the future is the cloud

The move to the cloud is fast becoming the norm across all industries and education is no exception. Schools are embracing technology and benefitting from using cloud computing across all school functions.

Cloud computing is simply the delivery of computing services – servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more – over the Internet, you probably already use cloud storage such as Netflix, Spotify and Office365.

Users will notice improved functionality, faster speeds, regular upgrades and easy access to module releases and benefits from third party integrations.

Why Cloud Computing is the right answer

Simplicity and flexibility: Schools will be able to reduce their IT support requirements, reduce infrastructure and space, receive automatic updates and enjoy seamless expansion of bandwidth for data. This will ensure your school future proofs its expansion and scalability needs.

Speed and accessibility: With a 99.9% uptime, teachers will not be bogged down by technical issues and get to do what matters most to them in the classroom. Staff will also have access to Sentral anywhere and anytime across any mobile device with high speeds and no disruption during peak periods.

Value Creation: Moving to the cloud reduces capital costs in IT infrastructure (such as servers), has no data limits, reduces IT support costs and lowers total cost of ownership for most schools.

Security: Sentral’s cloud software complies with all Government privacy requirements, is stored in numerous geo-redundant storage (GRS) and has regular data back-ups and fast restoration so schools can rest assure that data is kept safe and secure.

DON’T BE LEFT BEHIND

The shift to the Cloud from your current on-premise server is simple – contact your Sentral Consultant today!

The role of the cloud in helping schools move towards an agile future

Technology has impacted almost every aspect of life today, and education is no exception. School IT administrators, principals and teachers are acutely aware of the need to rise to the demands of ever-evolving technology to ensure they work smarter, faster and are able to seamlessly run a school management system.

In recent years, moving to the cloud has gained momentum and will soon become a norm across all business sectors with 83 per cent of enterprise workloads expected to be in the cloud by 2020 according to LogicMonitor Research. Integrating and moving to the cloud is the future and Sentral is now spearheading this change to provide current and future schools all the benefits that cloud computing has to offer.

The industry outlook for IT cloud computing according to Bloomberg Intelligence is continuing its global growth trend from $77 billion in 2015 to $205 billion by 2020.

A cloud model will help schools achieve a slew of significant advantages and drive a fundamental change in how schools manage and operate their IT department. One major highlight of being on the cloud is its agility.

LogicMonitor’s survey revealed many enterprises face challenges in digitally transforming their models and the adoption to the cloud has been fast-tracked due to its IT agility (62%) and mobility (55%).

Schools are often held back by inflexible and complex IT infrastructure systems, as such, school administrators are becoming attracted to the agile nature of cloud systems which optimises infrastructure to meet disparate needs and workload requirements.

With Sentral being a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, schools can now easily migrate into the cloud and experience Sentral at its best. Simply contact Sentral and they will be able to provide an on-demand, shared service which includes IT support, services and program software.

Why agility is key!

In a fast-paced world, agility is key to growth and success! Here are some benefits schools can look forward to when moving to the cloud:

Flexibility & Scalability: Think ‘unlimited’. When moving to the cloud with Sentral, schools can relax and know that there will always be room for flexibility and scalability with little to no downtime for upgrades which will push your efficiency and IT infrastructure further.

The centralisation of school infrastructure: Sentral can adjust server capabilities to allocate extra bandwidth based on demand while remote management and maintenance can save time and increase security by being outsourced.

Cloud provides an all-in-one solution: Rather than installing and maintaining servers on each device, Sentral on the cloud provides easy access to teachers and students across many devices.

Greater access to learning: cloud functionality enables students and teachers to access new resources, multimedia learning, cloud-based textbooks and other educational resources without accessibility limits compared to textbook to student ratios.

To transition your school to a cloud system, talk to your Sentral Consultant or call Sentral to get a cloud license quotation based on your school size.

Global Payments Acquires Sentral, a Leading Provider of Cloud-Based School Administration Software Solutions in Australia

MEDIA RELEASE
March 4, 2019
Global Payments Acquires Sentral, a Leading Provider of Cloud-Based School Administration Software Solutions in Australia
BRISBANE – Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN), a leading worldwide provider of payment technology and software solutions, announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Sentral Education in Australia, further expanding its educational market capabilities.
The cloud-based school management platform streamlines school administration, student management and data management. The acquisition will accelerate product enhancement and development for schools using Sentral’s school management platform and aligns well with Global Payments technology-enabled, software driven payments strategy.
“We are excited to be a part of the Global Payments team,” said Greg Coffey, General Manager of Sentral Education. “It will be business as usual for our clients. Sentral’s core values, vision and customer centric approach continue to be at the heart of our future operations and strategy. Sentral is dedicated to providing market-leading school management software and we look forward to introducing additional innovation and further enhancing our platform.”
“We are delighted to welcome Sentral Education to Global Payments,” said Mark Healy, Managing Director of Global Payments Australia and New Zealand. “Sentral was founded and run by a group of truly passionate individuals who are dedicated to making schools better. Software integration is at the core of our businesses and Sentral will benefit from the global expertise we have not just in payments, but in school management solutions. The acquisition aligns perfectly with our strategy of providing market leading software and great user experiences in technology solutions and payments.”
ENDS
For media enquiries or interview requests with Global Payments or Sentral  please contact:
Brenton Gibbs
M: 0419 828440
Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN) is a leading worldwide provider of payment technology and software solutions delivering innovative services to our customers globally. Our technologies, services and employee expertise enable us to provide a broad range of solutions that allow our customers to accept all payment types and operate their businesses more efficiently across a variety of distribution channels in many markets around the world.

Teachers call for reduction in administration according to survey

91% of teachers in NSW reported administrative demands were a major hindrance to their core job according to a University of Sydney survey conducted in July 2018.

Around 18,000 primary and secondary public school teachers in NSW were involved in the Understanding work in schools: The foundation for teaching and learning survey and asked to rank the frequency of activities in schools across planning and preparing lessons, reporting to parents and playground duties.

Teachers believed data collection requirements such as administration, paperwork, data and reporting were delaying constantly move them away from their key focus – providing quality lessons to their students.

Sentral is a solution that helps teachers move away from the hassle of daily reporting, paperwork and administration. Sentral provides tools to make student assessment and reporting a breeze throughout their education lifecycle so teachers are able to spend their time on what matters most.

Here’s how most of Sentral users are evaluating student learning and differentiating their teaching to address students’ needs more:

Using target teaching methods

Sentral allows teachers to insert data and compile comprehensive insights to individualise student performance and tailor requirements for those performing or underperforming.

Save time

Did you know you can save time on collecting, managing and reporting by creating teacher friendly workflows? Spend time on what matters most with automatic templates to insert data.

Communicate better in and out of the school

Improve your communication frequency and quality with Sentral by sending reminders using the Parent Portal to notify parents of homework and assessment tasks and direct message parents about achievements or concerns – that way you can always remember what you said and track progress!

Analyse your class results and plan accordingly

Analyse class results and identify whether you need to amend classroom activities at the right classroom level. You can also easily analyse student, class or cohort performance to measure against internal standards.

For more details on how Sentral can help your school, visit www.sentral.com.au

Education and technology adoption delivering industry empowerment in the classroom.

Education software exists to drive the education industry to greater efficiency, so it can be said teachers of today are being empowered by technology more than ever before to help develop student academic performance.

One may not think of Schools as typical to adopt technology. However, this is all changing. While digital technology has been around for decades, over the last few years the education sector in Australia has invested significantly more than most high-achieving OECD countries across public and private schools according to the Education at a Glance 2018 report.

The application of technology such as Sentral Education’s web based software, has added innovative and paperless tools allowing teachers to spend more time interacting with students and identify learning patterns faster.

As today’s world continues to evolve and become more automated, teachers and administrators are asking for web-based software solutions to help seamlessly manage school administration, student data to empower and deliver results.

Without technology wasted time is spent on duplication of processes, lack of insight and the operation of different systems between schools.  New technology offers the possibility to review  inefficient methods and adopt a central process with transparency for both teachers, students and parents.

Helping to reduce excessive workload

The Education Training Directorate (ETD) claims that a reduction in face-to-face teaching hours is not the most effective or efficient way to reduce teacher workload. Back in 2015, the ETD in the Sydney Morning Herald proposed to reduce teacher workload by a minimum 20 hours per year by streamlining or re-assigning administrative tasks.

Sentral Education plays a large part in eliminating wasted time and reducing inefficient processes across many of the responsibilities teachers deal with daily including administration, attendance, assessment and reporting, wellbeing and parent communication.

Changing landscape of the classroom

Technology has allowed teachers to focus more on student needs rather than mundane and repetitive tasks.  With Sentral Education, we hear all the time that teachers have developed a more personal interaction with students by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of academic performance. Parents also gain as Sentral assists in continual education development digitally with comprehensive visuals that parents can understand using Sentral’s Markbook tool.

Restoring work-life balance

Technology in the classroom helps to restore work-life balance for teachers who can now identify and eliminate non-essential tasks and spend time getting to what matters most.

Sentral Education is the trusted solution of choice in over 2,800 schools across Australia.

www.sentral.com.au

Notifications to parents made easy

There are many instances when parents need to be informed or updated with information from their childs school. Maybe the bus is returning late from an excursion, a child is absent, the school is closed due to a freak weather event or a lockdown is in progress and parents need to be informed.

In this digital age, everyone expects real-time communications. However, managing real-time notifications can be cumbersome and costly. If you’re relying on email, these can be easily missed or siphoned into the junk folder.

Sentral’s Messaging module offers bulk text and email capability, that can be managed both on and off-site from a computer or tablet device. Templates and cohort filtering make it easy to send out information quickly to the whole school, a targeted group or individuals so staff can get back to their most pressing tasks quickly.

Some key features and benefits include:

✔  Messaging is linked into the Attendance module to facilitate a semi-automated daily text message personalised for parents with children absent from school.

✔  Messaging leverages sporting and excursion groups from the Activities module to send permissions notes and reminders via bulk email.

✔  Reduce parent ‘notice fatigue’ by targeting messages to relevant groups and individuals. Distribution groups can be made on the fly or saved for future use.

✔  Two-way text messaging allows parents to provide absence reasons and schools that take a dedicated SMS messaging number can receive unsolicited messages (eg not just replies to messages sent but new messages) from parents advising of absences or other important information.

✔  Student reports can be emailed to parents, providing them an PDF copy they can reprint on demand. This eliminates costly printing and postage and saves considerable staff administration time as well.

If you are interested in learning more about how Sentral can help with your schools administration and student management tasks, call us for a demonstration.

Phone (02) 9029 3993

Streamline reporting to parents and get back to teaching

Reporting student progress to parents is something all teachers and schools want to do well, though the time and effort involved in the process of generating individual student reports is stressful and exhausting. It can also be very expensive if reports are still printed on paper and posted to parents. The combined administrative effort of printing, collating, envelope stuffing and posting reports is an often invisible but very time consuming task.

Good software can help to streamline the processes involved, reduce inefficiencies, and eliminate some of the hard labour involved in a manual reporting cycle. Teachers still need to spend time reflecting on data and classroom observations to then write meaningful feedback for parents and students. However good software can automate some things and create timesaving workflows for others.

Sentral offers a solution that takes some of the effort, time and cost out of academic report writing and distribution. The system is highly configurable to cater for your school curriculum, preferences for the types of information included in the report, and the way it’s presented to parents. Some key features and benefits include:

✔ Intuitive workflow to define all curriculum and reporting requirements using inbuilt scales or define your own. Workflows can also be set for assigning sections of the report to be completed by specific staff and setting due dates for completion.

✔ Automated data transfer from Markbook, Continuum Tracker, Activities, and Attendance eliminates double data entry and historical views of student reports provides ready reference to inform reflection on progress.

✔ The comment wizard is smart enough to insert the individual childs name, add the correct gender references like his/her and check punctuation issues like sentence case and full stops.  It also provides comment starters, curriculum content statements and access to shared or personal comment banks to help teachers to provide meaningful feedback regarding students progress.

✔ Supervisors can see the progress their staff are making towards completing reports and approval for publishing gates can be established. Summary print views also help to reduce paper use when supervisors prefer to edit and mark up comments for staff to rectify.

✔ You choose how to distribute reports to parents. Reports can be printed on paper as individual reports, or bath printed as class or cohort groups, year groups or whole school. All reports can be PDF archived. Schools can also publish reports to PDF’s for distribution via email through our Messaging module or distributed to the Student and Parent Portal where Parents and students will always have access to their current and past reports.

While the term 2 reporting session is beginning to fade into memory, the end of year reports are not that far away. If your schools reporting is harder than it needs to be, call us for a demonstration.

Phone (02) 9029 3993