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Taking Time Back

As originally published in The Educator magazine

Coomera Anglican College

Technology has turned the arduous task of creating a timetable into a straight-forward, automated exercise. Mark Heaney, Deputy Principal and Timetabler, shares how his school benefits.

Queensland’s Coomera Anglican College has a primary and secondary school as well as an early learning centre. After a surge in student population, concerns arose as to whether the software was up to the task of dealing with an increasingly complex timetable. Heaney says, “We needed a lot more capacity in the timetabling software to be able to deal with clashes and come up with solutions than we were getting from the previous software.”

“It’s really efficient and quite seamless, in terms of coming up with solutions to many combinations of subjects to give most students most of their preferences. It does that very quickly. It allows us to explore different options and then play with scenarios, like what if we got a new teacher and added a separate teacher, what would that do to the mix.”

Heaney was at a conference at which Edval presented its timetabling software and attended a couple of training days in the area. He decided that Edval was the answer.

One of the many benefits Heaney recognised right away was the ability to make the process of handling covers completely seamless with Edval Daily. “That was a real attraction, since I spend most of my time doing daily relief covers, as well as doing the timetable.”

Heaney notes that, since implementing Edval’s software, the school has been able to offer more Year 10 students their top subject preferences for Year 11 and 12 studies. The real time data is also beneficial during class selection interviews with Year 10 students and their parents. “As fast as the data is entered, we can see the picture emerging.” And for the younger students, making subject selections at home with their parents is so easy.

Heaney says responses from the support team are timely. “It’s great to have that support that’s, generally speaking, within a day [and], often, much quicker than that … you’ll get their solution to your problem. That’s always helpful.”

“You’ve got all that capability, but it does that very quickly, and I guess that’s where the strength of the algorithms comes in.” – Mark Heaney, Deputy Principal and Timetabler, Coomera Anglican College

Talking about times ahead, Heaney plans on expanding Coomera Anglican College’s use of Edval software across sectors and bringing about further timesaving benefits.