February 1, 2019 / Richard King
Hello, and welcome to the Bromcom Product Blog. So far this year we have been busy continuing to make the improvements to the user interface that John mentioned in his blog post last year. This work is ongoing, and there is much more to come, but I wanted to share with you some detail of a new development – clubs and trips.
But first, let me quickly introduce myself. My name is Richard, and I joined the Product team earlier this month, working alongside John, Simon and Ed. I’ll be focussing on the MIS from a Primary standpoint, and my first project is to develop clubs and trips to help make the management of all your extra-curricular activity that much easier.
We’ll be delivering Clubs in phases, the first of which will deliver the core functionality. After that we will start adding more features – based on requirements that we already know, and user feedback. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas or thoughts.
Creating and managing clubs
Clubs will feel familiar to you, since they will be a new type of group, and so will share similar screens and features. By navigating to the Groups area, you’ll be able to select Clubs as a group type and then start creating and managing your clubs.
In this first version, clubs will run weekly, between the start and end date you set. Once you’ve specified the day of the week the club runs, we’ll create the schedule for that club. In future we’ll build in more flexibility for the scheduling, but I think this will work for most of you.
Parents will be able to sign up for clubs via MyChildAtSchool. Clubs will have a membership limit which, once met, will mean no one else will be able to join (unless you increase the limit, or add them to the club manually via Bromcom’s MIS). If you want, you will be able to hold back places from MyChildAtSchool, so if you had a pupil whose parents couldn’t enrol or pay online, you can reserve that space for them.
Another feature we’re building in from the start is the ability to schedule when the club goes live on MyChildAtSchool. So, if there’s a set time or date that you want the clubs to become available for parents, you can do this. I’m hopeful that this will reduce the mad rush of creating 50+ clubs at once, and at the last minute, just in time for your MIS provider’s midnight update.
Clubs can be paid-for, or free. Parents will be able to sign up their children via MyChildAtSchool, and will able to pay online. Payment via MyChildAtSchool will be a one-off fee for the club: payment in instalments, offline payments, and payments per session will be built into the future releases of Clubs.
We had a direct request for the basket to be capable of reserving inventory for a set period of time. In other words, when a parent puts an item into their shopping basket, that item is held for them for a few minutes, similar to how some online ticketing companies work. This prevents a parent from putting something in their shopping basket only to find that it’s no longer available when they go to buy it if someone else has snapped it up. If they do wait too long, though, the timer will expire and the club membership will be removed from their basket, making the space available for others to buy. This also prevents savvy users from adding everything to their basket at once so they can take their time making their final choices! You’ll be able to switch this feature on or off and set the length of the timer.
That’s about all I can tell you right now about the first version of Clubs. In future, we’ll be expanding the payment options and reports, as well as delivering some features specific to school trips. I also want to make it easy to clone lots of clubs at the same time, so those of you who make the same clubs every term can do this in just a few clicks.
Now that development has started on Clubs, I will soon be working on improving our safeguarding featureset and looking at intervention groups and costs – I’ll share details about these developments when I can, but if you have thoughts about how we can do better in these areas, do get in touch.