T.O.O.L.S

The Challenge

It is pointless designing 'Option blocks/electives' that cannot be timetabled, yet you want to offer as much choice as possible to your students. The Options process is an integral part of the timetabling process, and one you want to get right. Typically 'Options' is done by the school timetabler, and inefficient or ineffective option columns will have a negative impact on the timetable overall. Hence, it is important to use appropriate software that can satisfy as many students as possible.

Options process with TOOLS

Change the time consuming and labour intensive Options process by doing it online. It will be easier for both students and parents. The options process can be quite time consuming as typically letters are sent home, for the student and parent to complete, the paperwork is returned and then keyed into a piece of software. T.O.O.L.S (TimeTabler Options On-Line System) can help reduce the timescales, labour and margin for error as the parents/carers can enter their preferences on-line.

Hosted Options

For schools who are not in a position to easily host and/or install T.O.O.L.S Options, you can let us do it all for you. There are FREE hosting packages available too. Let us worry about all the geeky stuff while you get on with more important matters. We will host and configure T.O.O.L.S for you, and all you need to do is provide students and parents with the link to your dedicated webspace, where they can complete their option choices quickly and simply. Once all the students have completed their selections, your staff will be able to simply download the finished file. Absolutely no manual data-entry is needed, therefore the scope for error is much reduced.

HELP AND SUPPORT

Options/Electives challenge

Why not sign up to our FREE 5 day Options challenge. You will receive one email per day for five days with hints and tips to help you achieve your 'Best ever' result. What's stopping you - there's nothing to loose.

On-line courses and tutorials

New to the Options/Electives process and would like to have some training? Then head over to our on-line training courses and select the course which is right for you.

Link up for 1-2-1 session

As a Gold-Start user you get a complimentary half an hour remote session - click to join your pre-arranged session.

Support

Got a question? simply head over to the Support centre and browse/search the Knowledge base but if you can't find your answer just submit a 'ticket' - it's all free!

What our customers say

We have three sites.  One for GCSE, one for A-Level and the third one is a 'test' site for us.

John Doe
Director of Studies

We issue the logins to students and parents on our Options evening and to a two minute demo.  Then they are off!

We wonder why we ever did it by paper!

James Stevens
Assistant head

We took the Gold-Start offer in our first year, but the £74.95 in subsequent years is really worth it!  No geeky setup, SSL security all done.

Jenny Askter
Data manager

FAQs

The TOOLS (TimeTabler Options On-Line System from October Resolutions Ltd) solution is designed to allow parents and students to access an account using a username and password that has been provided to them in letter format directly from the school, whether that is posted or delivered via the student. When the parent has successfully logged in they can select the subjects they would like their son or daughter to study within the new academic year. It has been designed in such a way that very little personal information about a student is actually required, and all the data that is stored is mentioned later.

Package A gives you a single site for your school with SSL security applied.  But it doesn’t have your school logo on the home page.   If you need more sites and/or your school logo then you need Package C.

Up to three sites, all with SSL security applied and your school logo added to the home page.  Package B is is completely free if you are a Gold-Start user.

Up to three sites, all with SSL security applied and your school logo added to the home page.   Costing £74.95+vat for a year.

Queen Elizabeth School have two ‘Populations’ doing options; GCSE (Year 9 students) and Post 16 (Year 11 students).

If the school runs both populations ‘active’ at the same time i.e. you are asking the GCSE students to be entering their subject preferences at the same time as the Post 16 students, then you need 2 sites. Schools usually adopt a naming convention of QES-GCSE and QESPost16 or similar.  If the school doesn’t have both populations ‘active’ at the same time i.e. the school collects all the GCSE data and once that process is completed the school collects Post 16 data (or vice versa) then you only need a single site so Queen Elizabeth School might adopt QES.

Should you be unclear on how many sites or which package is suitable then please email mist@mistservices.co.uk

Or alternatively you may wish to read further TOOLS documentation from October ReSolutions at
http://www.timetabler.com/PDFs/TOOLS-Manual.pdf

Should your school wish their logo to be placed on the home page then please provide the artwork to mist@mistservices.co.uk
 Image format is .png
 Image name is logo.png
 If you require a transparent background, use alpha channel transparency

School logo is not included in Package A.

Absolutely you can – to set up the TOOLS system, it requires access to a server with a MySQL database, and permission to install PHP files and be accessible to parents. It may be that it is not possible or not convenient for your IT Manager to do this. So, MIST Services are offering an alternative.  But if you wish to do it email mist@mistservices.co.uk and we can supply the php files required.

The following data is stored within the TOOLS database for each student that is uploaded:
 First Name
 Last Name
 Registration Group
Additionally, a record of the subject choices that a student selects is stored.

Student Data is required to allow a unique log-in to be created for the parents, as well as to personalise certain information on the webpages.

SSL is a security measure that secures the connections (you will see a padlock in your browser near the web address).  The web address provided will be an https address meaning it is using SSL encryption, the certificate is issued by RapidSSL CA.

Your school controls the Student Data, as you upload the student and subject data.  MIST Services only stores the data while there is a formal agreement between us – as a subscriber to the service.  It is the schools responsibility to ensure the data has been exported to Options prior to this date.

The school will be provided with an empty TOOLS system initially, although the default password on the Admin account will have been changed for added security. The Admin password will be communicated to the school either in an email or if preferred over the phone.

MIST Services recommends this password is changed immediately to a school defined password.  The school generates the student username and passwords within Options and uploads  them into TOOLS.  Any issues regarding parents not being able to log-in are to be dealt with by the school. 

The school must test the TOOLS system as per the TOOLS documentation to ensure they are happy with the functionality it is providing (in your chosen browser) and that the data is being stored and ultimately exported. Any issues please report to MIST Services who will either resolve them or liaise with October Resolutions (creators of TOOLS). If a solution is not found whilst the school is in its testing phase (5 days after the site is released to the school by MIST Services) then MIST services will communicate with the school and where appropriate not invoice for the service. 

Your school TOOLS system will be accessible by knowing the direct web address e.g. www.studentoptions.co/schoola   As a school you may wish to provide a link from the school website directly to the page, or embed the page within the school website.  Appropriate web expertise within the school is required to do this.

The ‘schoola’ (directory name) can be defined by the school, typically it should be short and will be unique. On application MIST Services will check availability (as there are many Queen Elizabeth School’s whose typical request is for QES), should it have been reserved by another school you will be informed. If your school runs different year group option procedures at the same time, each site will need a unique address (not available on the free
Package A). Up to three addresses are included in the single fee on Package B and C.