The school photographers were in this week. Once a year, we have every pupil in the school shot (and we take their photographs too. BOOM! Thank you, I’m here all week).

This year, we wanted to finally implement the fairly simple process of matching up the digital thumbnails we get from the photgraphers with the pupil records on our MIS system, so we have an up-to-date mugshot on each record. This involves giving the photgraphers a pupil list with the pupil’s MIS code on. They then name each file with the correct MIS code, and we do a batch import that takes about 2 minutes.

Trouble is, they didn’t always get the correct MIS code. I mean, why would they? It’s not like it’s part of their job, or that they need to know who each child is so they can send the parents the correct sodding photos. They just work a camera, guv. The end result is that I spent an hour going through the balls-up they left us, calling on half a dozen different teachers trying to work out which boys in the school were apparently girls when the photographers took their photo.

Next year, I will be taking a more active role in the process. Specifically, I will be sitting in the room with the photographers, holding a large anvil above their heads in an attempt to persuade them that correctly writing down which child they are photographing is not as hard as they made it seem this year.

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

7 responses to “Identity”

  1. ITTech says :

    Ha, had exactly the same problem yesterday!

  2. John says :

    Ah the joys of MIS Photo processes, I’ve got mine on the 5th October (I think) and I’m sure it will all go fine, it was perfect last year bar two kids who thought it was funny to swap names around when they sussed what was going on. The Head soon sorted them out!

  3. IaninSheffield says :

    Not sure whether our method ‘trumps’ yours, but our photographer turns the whole process (1k pupils) round in a day, so naming image files not possible. Instead the students are arranged alphabetically so that when they are uploaded to MIS the students are all in the right order. Unfortunately this relies on a)students being able to arrange themselves alphabetically and b) all students being present (so no gaps)

    As you can see this provides hours of fun for our data manager.

    (Actually since last year’s photo for most pupils is present, it’s manageable … but still a big job)

  4. joe90bass says :

    for added fun, add in the latest SIMS update which for us appears to have randomly taken the photos already on the system with the correct pupil, and attached them to a different one.

    If it wasn’t the update (though the timing is very coinicidental!) somebody is not owning up to a big screw up!

  5. Steven says :

    What we do here is get the first pupil in each class to stand with a piece of paper displaying the form class that is going to be photographed next and then that helps the sorting process.

    Still a mighty pain though!!

  6. Steve Rochford says :

    Surely the solution is obvious – you take Steven’s suggestion but add to it an ID number barcoded/tattooed onto the forehead of each pupil

    That way you can easily recognise the photos and link them to your system :-)

    I imagine that it wouldn’t take much work to have barcode readers at the classroom doors to handle the registration process as well (guessing that 3D barcodes would work better but I’m sure experimentation is possible)

  7. Gerard Sweeney says :

    If I recall correctly, the school here got the kids to sit in a chair next to a stand holding a piece of paper with the relevant info.

    I then gave them a quick IrfanView demo on how to batch crop the pictures (and gave them a script for future use).

    That was about 6 years ago.. I have absolutely no idea if they still use this method :)

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