How to build a school management system
Updated: Aug 1, 2022
The educational sector is undergoing a digital transformation. This transformation has accelerated due to the focus on remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of specialized management software is one outgrowth of this change. The size of the global school management software market was evaluated at $7 bln in 2020. It is expected to exceed $10 bln by 2026.
Why should an educational institution seize the opportunity to integrate a school management system? Which tools are required for school management system development? What are the main challenges? In this article, we answered those questions using our experience and expertise as a custom school management software development company.
Key benefits of designing a school management software
Educational institutions need school management software to make their work more efficient and their staff, students, and parents more satisfied. Below are key points covering those benefits in more detail.
Automating or simplifying routine tasks
With the help of school management software, teachers can make timetables, plan lessons and courses, manage class activity records, and control attendance much more easily. Here are some other areas of the education process, which may benefit from such a system:
Homework management. While students can upload their homework in a few clicks, teachers are able to download and grade assignments easily.
Exam management. New tools allow educators to manage testing for various classes in an eye-blink. The results can be made available almost instantly.
Admission. Institutions, which implement a school management system, boost the efficiency of the admission process. Parents or students can quickly fill the online registration form. Digital records are easier to maintain than paper ones.
Billing. Such a system allows parents to pay school fees securely online without the frustrating waiting in long queues. Administrators process electronic bills instead of paper ones.
Improving resource management
Administrators get all the information they need about available resources from a single screen. They don’t have to check multiple sources to get a clear understanding of the situation. Staff analysis also becomes much easier.
The system can record the attendance and check for the availability of the teachers. Moreover, management systems simplify record maintenance of supplies, furniture, uniforms, etc. Administration can keep track of the quantity, titles, and authors of the books in the library. The purchase orders can be created automatically as needed.
Providing seamless communication
School management systems also serve to connect administration, teachers, students, and their parents. They provide instant access to important information (for instance, timetable, upcoming events, etc.). The teachers can share lecture notes, and students can have easy access to them. The learners can ask questions and collaborate on some projects. The parents are kept updated about their children’s progress. They feel much more secure with instant access to information about the whereabouts of their offspring.
Providing seamless communication
School management systems may vary. However, the most popular of them have some common features. They are linked to the main benefits such tools are expected to bring. If you decide to develop software for school management, pay attention to the list of best practices below.
School management platforms are for administrators, teachers, students, and parents. You can’t expect all those users to attend special training sessions. Thus, its interface should be intuitive. Make sure that it is functional, but don’t try to cram too many features into the solution. Test the UI of your platform thoroughly to make it as intuitive and functional as possible.
Ambitious educational businesses, planning expansion, are prospective customers for school management software developers. However, the software may have to accommodate a growing network of schools. Make sure that your software can handle all past records and keep up with the pace of transformation.
At Menklab we use cloud platforms for our edtech solutions to ensure easy scalability. There are some cloud-based school management systems like GoSchooler or Mystudentsprogress.com to consider.
Educational institutions tend to be quite conservative. Still, more and more of them embrace new approaches to the learning process. As modern schools evolve, school management software should be ready to embrace the changes.
Also, the education standards and frameworks may vary. If you want to approach a wide range of customers in international markets, make sure you account for those differences. For instance, the Camu Digital Campus platform, operating in 400 institutions in six countries, provides integrations with several international boards like IB, IGCSE, etc.
Custom school management software features to consider
School management platforms can be quite complex, accommodating dozens of features. However, you’d better start custom school management software development with some basic ones. The features below will most likely be on your checklist.
A school management system should provide handy digital tools for planning lessons according to students’ timetables and teachers’ availability. Mobile apps will keep everyone updated about any changes. They can also provide reminders, making the learning process more comfortable.
It is essential to provide teachers, students, and parents with a clear idea about the learning progress of each student. A special formula can be used for student performance tracking. Some software solutions allow the creation of customized data analysis and reports.
Attendance tracking is a must for any school. In some countries, authorities are very strict about it. At the very least, a school management system should relieve educators of the necessity to manage a database of Excel spreadsheets or Word documents. Teachers will appreciate a tool, keeping track of when the child came to school, moved to another classroom, and went home. Getting useful totals and graphs in a few clicks would be essential.
The role of the school management software for the admission process is twofold. Firstly, it should provide an application accepting tool. The latter will record admission status, contact information, demographics, and communication log. Secondly, the school management system can offer some kind of digital onboarding for new students. Thus, it can offer some guidance for newcomers.
Managing school or college finances is a complex task. The administrative staff will appreciate a tool which will make the whole process easier. If you decide to build a school management system, provide them with tools to create and email invoices, keep records of the payments, etc.
School management solution tech stack
Experienced engineers in your development team for school management software will know which tools to use. If you choose Menklab as your tech partner, we will select state-of-the-art technologies to meet your requirements. The tech stack below will provide you with a general understanding of how to develop a school management system.
The back-end is the backbone of your system. It is all “cogs” and “wheels” behind the interface. The back-end tech stack largely depends on your specifications. Here are several tools which may come in handy.
Go programming language is a good choice for back-end development. It is similar to well-known C++ in terms of syntax and speed. Being clear and simple, Go allows developers to create readable and maintainable code.
Employing cloud platforms is essential for ensuring scalability. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a great choice to balance out project costs and the workload. We’ve used a combination of AWS and Node.js to create Nurture, preschool management, and communications system.
MySQL and PostgreSQL are quite common solutions for database management. If you expect educational institutions which use your software to be geographically dispersed, you consider using a content delivery network (CDN). It speeds up the delivery of data to users, employing the closest servers. We recommend using AWS Cloudfront.
The front-end concerns what your users actually see and interact with. It should be both visually appealing and functional. These are the instruments you can use to build it that way.
HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is the cornerstone for a UI. It helps the browser “understand” how to display your web app. HTML specifies the font type, hyperlink effects, graphics, color, etc.
Most adults and many school children now own a smartphone. For instance, more than half of the kids in the UK get their own phones by the age of seven. That’s why aside from the web-based part, your platform should include a mobile app. We use Android Kotlin and iOS Swift programming languages to build the latter.
Custom school management software development challenges
Creating such software is a complex task. Most likely, you will face some difficulties. Listing all things that may go wrong is impossible, but we can name at least two common challenges from our experience.
Firstly, integration with third-party services may be troublesome. Schools may need them, for instance, to get additional data. However, in some cases, different sources may provide conflicting information. Moreover, the data may be incomplete. You have to decide what to do in such situations.
Secondly, the kids may move around the school during the day, and it’s hard to keep track of their whereabouts. Your platform should assist teachers in reporting children's movements. On top of it, parents want to be sure that their offspring is still at school. Live footage of their child on the premises is the best evidence. However, it demands employing some sophisticated technologies like facial recognition.
The cost of the school management software development
Different factors influence the price of school management software development. The main factor is specifications. The total amount of work depends on the number and complexity of the features. Making your system multiple-platform is also a challenge. On top of it, the hourly pricing of software engineers may vary greatly. It is several times higher for the USA or Western Europe than for Eastern Europe or India.
Therefore, any cost estimation without a particular project in mind would be too vague to be practical. If you want to get a quote for the system, you want to build, contact us and describe your idea. However, we’ve accessed the approximate scope of work for each stage of developing a custom system for school management. Check it out to get a general idea.
Time: 160 - 350 hours
At the beginning of a project, an analyst communicates with key stakeholders to understand the software’s vision. A new instrument should be tailored to the business processes of its customers. At this stage, functional requirements and the list of high-level features are determined. As a result, the development team can understand the direction of the project clearly.
Back-end and front-end development
Time: 800 - 1700 hours
This is the part when engineers actually implement your ideas. They build a database to save data about educators, learners, curriculum, etc. Then developers create the “body” of your system: login forms, sections to contain information about each teacher, student, or class, attendance stats, grading system, and so on. They also deal with sections covering accounting and administrative needs.
Such sophisticated software as a school management system also requires some technical documentation to explain it. Educational businesses need to know its hardware requirements, full functionality, etc. These documents should be searchable and helpful for school staff. With their help, teachers and administrators can harvest the full potential of the new tool.
Time: 50 - 300 Hours
Your product has to be not only functional but also easy to use. Teachers, administrators, students, and their parents expect a smooth user experience on various devices. Simple, effective, and visually appealing UIs take time, effort, and creativity to build.
Time: 250 - 1000 Hours
Testing is crucial to spot and fix any bugs or flaws in your platform before it is released. It is impossible to think everything through in advance. Check your software thoroughly to avoid problems with disgruntled customers later.
Why should you choose Menklab as a tech partner to create a school management software?
Menklab has been developing custom software solutions since 2013. We’ve worked with clients from different industries, including education. In particular, we’ve created Nurture — the preschool communication and management platform for teachers and parents. Parents have traveled to 30 countries while using it to stay connected with their children in real-time. Let’s have a closer look at this project.
The platform includes a web application as well as Android and iOS apps for teachers and parents. It allows parents to enroll their children and change information in their accounts. The mood, meals, behavior, naps, mood, curriculum, and other data are logged on the individual page of each child. Moreover, caregivers can send photos and videos of children to the parents.
Our platform also covers security monitoring of the entry and exit points for teachers, children, and parents. Each student can be instantly located on the premises. In case of emergency, the platform provides some extra channels of communication with parents.
The parents can watch live streams to observe their children in real-time. An average customer of Nurture has 30+ locations with 20 streams for each. 100-200 parents may use the app simultaneously at each school. Our platform can cope with such load due to a highly scalable cloud-based hosting solution.
The implementation of a new system had some positive business consequences. The company outperformed expectations, opening two extra schools a year. Part of its topline revenue was saved due to a more efficient tuition process, management of operations, and improved customer retention.
Let’s make a school management software together!
A school management system has numerous benefits for educational institutions. It makes the work of teachers easier by automating or simplifying routine tasks like attendance monitoring. Remote teaching becomes much easier. Administrators benefit from extra tools for resource management and accounting. Students get instant access to all important information (timetables, grades, lecture notes, etc.). At the same time, parents can keep an eye on their children’s progress and day-to-day school life.
School management software will continue to grow and become a mainstay in the edtech market. However, its creation requires an experienced development team. Menklab has such a team and can offer you assistance. We’ve fulfilled complex projects for clients from the education industry. Our engineers, armed with state-of-the-art technologies, can make your ideas come true. Contact us to discuss your project in more detail!