Concepts

Scheduler is built around two basic concepts - events and resources.

Events

An event is an instance of something happening. It has a time when it happens, and possibly a duration. However, events are for the most part not very interesting unless they involve people or things. The main thing that Scheduler does is to keep track of which resources are involved in each event, and then let events be selected, based on the resources which they involve.

Resources

Scheduler understands five different kinds of resources which can be used by events, plus two kinds of pseudo-resource used to categorize events.

  • Staff
  • Pupils
  • Groups
  • Locations
  • Services
  • Properties
  • Subjects

Staff, Pupils and Locations are fairly self-explanatory.

Services are things like Catering, Parking, Porters or Cleaning.

Properties are used to categorize events - the largest category is Calendar, for events in the school’s public calendar, but you can set up as many other ones as you like. Obvious candidates are “Sport Calendar”, “Music Calendar”, “Drama Calendar” etc. Any event can belong to as many or as few of these as you like.

Subjects are used to keep track of which subject any given lesson is devoted to. In a typical school, it is possible to derive this information from the name of the lesson, but by storing it explicitly, one can then select lessons based on the subject.

Groups are the odd man out in the list of resources. They don’t represent anything on their own, but instead allow you to group together any of the other resources. They can do obvious jobs like representing teaching groups or tutor groups, but they impose no restrictions on what resources can be put into each group. Rather than just being groups of pupils, you can potentially create a group containing 6 pupils, 3 members of staff, 2 rooms, plus the Music Calendar. You can also nest groups within groups, and even subtract one group from another.

Structured information

Much of what Scheduler does could be done with a general purpose calendaring program like Google Calendar, except that they don’t usually understand structured information. You’d need to create thousands of separate calendars to cover all the resources within the school, then spend thousands of man hours copying all the events between the calendars.

Instead Scheduler uses just a single place to store all its event information, along with details of what resources are used by each event - staff, pupils, rooms and services. A single medium-sized school can easily have several million such records, and so much has been done to allow selective viewing of just what the user wants to know.