Technology could be the answer to growing admin workloads

Jarrod Brown
Jarrod Brown

Schools are calling for greater efficiency after a growing administrative workload has office staff struggling under the weight of piling paperwork.

In 2023, teachers across the country are pointing at “unmanageable workloads” as the number one cause of the growing burn-out rate in the profession.

Almost half of Australian teachers are considering leaving the job in the next year, according to the report released earlier this year from the Black Dog Institute – up from only 14 per cent in 2021.

“The data suggests we are looking at a profession in crisis,” said Associate Professor Aliza Werner-Seidler.

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“Teachers are working longer hours with fewer resources and this pressure is building, with an increase of burn-out and time being taken off due to mental ill-health.”

Australian teachers report spending 4.1 hours per week on general administrative work, compared with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average of 2.7 hours.

Principals have also reported putting in an average of 55 hours per week during school term and 21 hours per week during school holidays in 2022.

Averaged over a year, they reported working 94 hours per fortnight – 18 hours more than their ‘ordinary hours of work’.

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“Schools must use modern technology”

Experts are encouraging schools to leverage modern technology to combat the workload, effectively reduce staff workloads and improve efficiency and productivity for finance, administration, and reception staff.

In his whitepaper, A Roadmap for School Leadership, former principal of East Victoria Primary School, Neil Spence, said it’s vital schools incorporate digital technology to accommodate parents and students.

“In an economy that offers digital solutions to everything from dog-walking to D.I.Y., it’s clear that embracing the digital world offers huge potential for schools,” wrote Mr Spence.

“Constant connection and ease of access to services through digital applications is now the norm for most Australians – and there is no reason this shouldn’t apply to education.”

Six ways tech can help administrators

1. Efficient enrolment and finance management

Modern School Management Systems (SMS) offer a comprehensive solution by centralising enrolment inquiries, wait lists, follow-up communications, and enrolment processes within a single platform. Additionally, these systems incorporate automated billing and bank reconciliation, significantly reducing the time and effort spent on daily financial tasks.

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2. Productivity anywhere, any time

Thanks to the power of the Cloud, administrators and staff can now maintain their productivity from anywhere, at any time. Real-time data accessibility through mobile-friendly interfaces allows staff to mark attendance during school trips, update timetables, reserve specialised classrooms, book essential equipment, and access vital student information on-the-go.

3. Strengthening parental engagement

Schools can offer flexible solutions for managing family groups and members through technology. They can also help foster a deeper connection with parents by offering improved communication, student tracking, and improved accountability.

4. Simplified compliance

Navigating rules and regulations of compliance can be a daunting task for many schools. But thanks to technology, compliance process can be simplified and automated.

Comprehensive reporting, ranging from state and national mandates to standardised reports, allows schools to meet compliance requirements and instil confidence in principals and governing bodies during audits.

5. Rapid and customised reporting

Administrators can now swiftly provide principals and governing bodies with tailored visual reports at their fingertips. These can be generated using templates and interactive dashboards with a few simple clicks.

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Depending on the system, administrators can also configure and schedule automated reports for routine requests, easing last-minute stress.

6. Enhancing student well-being and academic outcomes

Technology allows school staff to access critical student behaviour, such as behaviour, attendance, medical records, group affiliations, disciplinary actions, and achievements.

Using this more comprehensive perspective, teachers can cater to individual student needs in the classroom to develop and nurture improved well-being and educational outcomes.

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. Jarrod established his journalism career working on the education news and information site The Bursar. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.