Welcoming Arbor to The Key

Chris Kenyon

We are thrilled to announce today that Arbor Education is joining The Key and we welcome James Weatherill and his team to the group.  This is great news for existing schools and partners, and I wanted to share in more detail why this is good news for the sector generally.

Arbor’s vision is to help schools change the way they work for the better and the community of schools and partners who share that vision is very special. Thousands of participants at ArborFest in November were testament to what happens when you combine the natural desire of school leaders to collaborate with intuitive tools and great support.  

Over 1,300 schools, leading local authorities and MATs have found in Arbor a partner that is not just migrating their MIS to the cloud – it is helping them to work more collaboratively with smart, modern tools. 

Arbor schools report that they save huge amounts of time, that Arbor informs better decision-making by all and that it improves the working life of staff.  While no system is a universal panacea, it is also clear that schools deserve better core systems than they are currently using.

At a time of huge upheaval in the sector, moden cloud-based systems that are remotely accessible, are also able to adapt in realtime to changing requirements from schools to deal with Covid-related requirements.  

Combined with the 1,500 schools that already use our existing cloud-based MIS ScholarPack a couple of patterns have become very clear to us: 

Firstly, schools that upgrade their MIS to ScholarPack or Arbor universally feel it is a huge improvement over their existing systems.  The most common refrain is ‘why did we not do this earlier?’. This applies across the board – from small primary schools to the largest MATs in the country.  

Secondly, it is clear that schools are always surprised by how easy it is to move over to a new system. For a typical primary school the switchover can be completed during term-time on a weekday, without missing a heartbeat and with immediately positive feedback from support staff and teachers. 

Across the board, we now support over 2,800 English schools on modern school management systems – from rural single-entry primaries to large urban secondaries and everything in between.  Last year, 8 out of 10 schools switching MIS in the UK chose Arbor or ScholarPack and we are now the second largest provider of MIS systems in the country.  

Going forward, we are increasing our investment in both platforms and see them each serving distinct needs in schools.  

We are also focused on helping local authorities who operate MIS support organisations.  Where local authorities allow schools the freedom to choose the best platform for their needs, data indicates in some regions, 50+% of schools will move off SIMs to the cloud in 3 years. This is why we now offer comprehensive support programmes to help Local Authorities evaluate their options, retrain staff and make sure that they are not negatively impacted, financially or operationally, by supporting new platforms for their schools.

At the Key, we are committed to making sure  that all schools across the UK have access to modern tools that provide better ways of working, improved processes for collaboration and clearer, more timely communication.  

We are delighted to be on this journey with James and everyone in the Arbor community.

Chris Kenyon

CEO, The Key