Strathallan is a leading Scottish independent school that provides academic, sport and art opportunities for all.
Founded in 1913 by Harry Riley aged just 25, he had a very clear vision for the school and its pupils: to nurture and care for them from the start. This vision still holds true today.
As of the 2023/24 academic year, Strathallan had 220 staff and 600 pupils, with 55% of those pupils boarding at the school.
In 2018, Strathallan realised they needed to change the way they processed and stored documents as the sheer volume of information they were amassing had become difficult to manage. They had a variety of requirements including:
Strathallan's paper records filled the basement of the school, due to financial information that is required to be retained for nine years, as well as any information relating to pupils being kept until the child reaches the age of 25.
The school had employed someone who spent a full year archiving the documents and shredding what they no longer needed.
After a period of consultations, demos and meetings between DocTech and Strathallan, it was decided that DocuWare, a dedicated document management system was the perfect fit for their needs.
Strathallan's IT Director told us:
"Going paperless was a huge selling point of DocuWare as the paper costs and the admin hours were sky high. A better way to create, manage and email forms was also really important due to the large amount we send and receive every term."
When their IT Director joined the team in 2021 she was excited to inherit DocuWare as she disliked relying on paper processes. In her previous job, paper records made carrying out a subject access request extremely difficult and she knew how easy it could be with DocuWare.
Strathallan has received two subject access requests since the implementation of DocuWare, and each time the software made finding all the information held on an individual effortless, due to the way data is tagged, organised and stored.
The full text search capability has been used to great effect to ensure all information is retrieved even when the name hasn’t been used to store the document.
As Strathallan is both a boarding school and day school to international and UK students, there are a wealth of forms parents and guardians are required to complete. At the start of a new school year alone, there are 12 forms sent out to the guardian of every child. This equates to processing more than 7,000 forms prior to the start of the 2023 academic year.
Added to this, Strathallan also need completed forms for trips away, staff on-boarding, scholarship activities, near miss hazard forms and UK guardianship forms to name a few. These forms are for when the school requires a UK name and address of a person to act as a guardian for students when returning home is not feasible.
In total, Strathallan have around 30 different digital forms that are all built and managed through DocuWare. These online forms sit on the school's intranet, easily accessible to staff who need them.
Once a form is completed and submitted, an automated document workflow in the back end of DocuWare kicks in to start the next stage of the process. This might involve sending an email to a member of staff to organise pupil pick up from the airport, or a reminder being set for six months' time to update a policy.
Strathallan have a variety of workflows in place and their IT Director can create workflows and forms when required, speeding up processes further.
Additionally, information can be automatically and simply stored to the correct digital filing cabinet with retention rules applied. Strathallan have 14 different digital filing cabinets, set up according to department needs, including data protection, pupils, health and safety, parents, staff and HR.
Prior to DocuWare, all these forms were completed on paper which made the traditional student files huge and hard to manage.
Digital forms have replaced all the paper, removing storage costs and the associated risks of keeping information in hard copy.
The IT Director told us:
"There are now much more stringent processes in place regarding logistics and how we communicate with parents. New parents regularly comment on how easy it is to get all the information they are required to complete and return to us. We've had no complaints at all."
The control over the information received has improved greatly with digital forms, as questions can be marked as mandatory and the form cannot be summitted without an answer.
A further use of DocuWare at Strathallan is to monitor their car park. Being a big campus in a rural setting, it's important to be able to identify who a vehicle belongs to.
Each owner submits a digital form and information including the registration number is automatically stored to DocuWare. If there's a car on campus they want to check, a quick search of DocuWare means they can confirm if it belongs on site.
Strathallan's IT Director summarised:
"The biggest benefit of DocuWare has been the flow of information. It's quick and easy to store documents, the information is accessible, and we know the data is secure. This is vital for us."
A huge reduction on paper use, storage and costs
Secure data that is only accessible by authorised users
Document access restrictions, based on role within the school
Digital form implementation to simplify data collection
Streamlined processes improving efficiency
The ability to manage form and workflow creation in-house
Quick and easy access to documents
Remote access to information
Automatic retention rules applied with reminder emails for renewals
At Strathallan there was a drive to centralise information, provide remote access to documents and eliminate paper use and storage.
By using digital forms and automated workflows, Strathallan have improved data security, improved access to information and improved the pupil registration process for parents.
"The biggest benefit of DocuWare has been the seamless flow of information."
processed at the start of each new school year alone.
in a centralised system. Access is restricted to authorised users with further controls based on employee role within the school.
We know the team at DocTech very well and support has always been great. Since the implementation of DocuWare in 2018, we’ve had very few issues. Any we have had are rectified very quickly.