By Andy | January 9, 2016 | 2 Comment
With an increasingly complicated inspection framework, which seems to change every time you look away, the management of policy documents has become increasingly difficult, and at the same time increasingly important!
The days where a school could maintain a collection of staff handbooks containing all the school policies are all but gone, as keeping them all up-to-date has become a nightmare!
However, at the same time, technology has come to our aid! At my school we make extensive use of Google Apps, although similar approaches would work with Office365, and to a lesser extent by using a content management system such as Firefly or SharePoint.
The key thing to managing a large number of policies is to split them up into individual policies, so that there is only ever one single master copy of each policy. Because GoogleDocs enables you a link to that file, your handbooks become a collection of links. This way each handbook contains the same copy of the same policy. The permission settings in GoogleDocs mean you can give editing rights to only those that need them, whilst everyone else can view the document.
This makes it simple to keep the policies up to date, as however you get to the document you know you are editing the right version, and any changes are instantly updated in every copy of the handbook, and anywhere else you happen to place them!
Some of these policies need to be displayed on our school websites - GoogleDocs also allows you to use an option called 'Publish to the web...' - this allows you to display your GoogleDoc as webpage. These can then be embedded, using an iframe, into your external website in a way that makes them look like they are a natural part of your website, or you could set it up so it downloads automatically as a PDF document.
This approach has made it much easier to manage the process of keeping our multitude of policies up to date and in sync, and also means that we know that when ISI look at our policies, they'll always have the right ones!