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Schools

Today we announced a partnership with Schola Technologies to deliver an integrated online school management system for roll out in the New Zealand 2011 school year.

Xero to deliver online based school management system

Managing school finances and the various stakeholders can be a nightmare. We’ve heard from many accountants that they avoid school boards because they don’t want to get dragged into the mess and many of our partners have asked when will we do Xero for Schools.

Since we mentioned Xero for Schools last year we’ve had a detailed look at the school software market. From an accounting features point of view – schools sit between normal small business software and low end ERP software. We have quite a number of schools using Xero already, but we believe there is a great opportunity to extend the Xero feature set in a few key areas to deliver a very powerful solution for schools and save a huge amount of money that can be better spent on education outcomes.

Schools are the key first customers in the Government’s Fibre to the Home (FTTH) initiatives. For school principals to create a business case to connect to the new fibre networks, the software industry has to provide quality cloud solutions that can remove local servers and their associated management costs from school budgets.

While Xero should be able to work well with schools on its own, we identified significant additional benefits in integrating school management with financials. We had a good look around at the existing School Management vendors. While there have been some great companies, most of the solutions are dated and the customers at the schools we talked to were very frustrated. Then late last year we met Schola Technologies.Schola operates the school management system SchoolMaster and has been developing a new online solution called Assembly. Assembly helps schools with analysing student learning including, presenting National Standards, the management of planning and assessment by teachers, and student administration – including electronic attendance. Assembly is of a similar generation and design approach as Xero and quite frankly we’re excited about how much better Assembly and Xero will make things for schools and their stakeholders.

We’ve still got a lot of work to do but we’re well progressed in adding key features for schools into Xero over the next few months and hope to be in a position to show the integrated solution during Q3 this year – well in advance of the 2011 school year start.

For us at Xero, schools are a strategic vertical we want to play a part in. As parents we want to see our kids get the best education they can. We hope we can help by making school administration easier and help with the business case for fibre connections to schools.

 

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5 comments

Kenneth Leong
26 March 2010 #

Rod, you are absolutely right in saying there are “significant additional benefits in integrating school management with financials”. At Euroasia, we have been looking high and low for some way of tying everything together, from student enrolment to student management, and financials.

I’m a big fan of Xero (as you know from my Euroasia blog entries). I think there’s huge potential in something like this. At Euroasia, after years of searching around, we have just adopted Learning Source as our student enrolment and administration solution, and in the process of implementing this. The key reason we chose Learning Source is because of the emphasis on the management of enrolments thereby reducing admin time matching payments, tracking students by class, and having all information in one place. Of importance is the fact that they recognise the importance of good design. Like Xero, the LS interface is clean, and easy to navigate, unlike the Access-based Windows 95 GUI that dominate most School Management Systems in the market.

Sometimes developers underestimate the importance of keeping things simple, and legacy systems that require a degree in computer science to operate will be slowly squeezed out of the market. This is why I believe the future for Xero is bright (as well as for startups like Learning Source).

Education is indeed a strategic vertical as Microsoft has discovered. You need to get them young, just like MYOB is doing in the tertiary market.

[...] We thought we’d give you a bit of an update about schools and Xero. A growing number of schools are choosing Xero as their accounting system. The feedback we had early on was that it would be great to have a one-step solution for schools. What does that mean? Part of it is integrating an accounting system with a student management system, to save on time and data entry. This is why we’ve partnered with Schola. [...]

Phill Long
16 July 2012 #

Hi Xero
Can you give any updates on Assembly (Schola Technologies Ltd) link with Xero. What has been achieved since May 2010 and how long will it be until we can use the two systems together?

Thanks
Phill

Cindy Brown
16 July 2012 #

Hi Phil,
We are in the process of working with Xero to both update the Accounts Receivable package in Assembly and to also provide the integration between Xero and Assembly. We plan on having an exciting new development ready in this area by the end of Term 3, beginning of Term 4.
Regards
Cindy Brown
Development

Pavel
22 May 2013 #

Hi
Any news or updates about this software for schools?
Thank you
Pavel

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