In the world of education, the mention of ChatGPT often stirs up concerns about academic integrity and plagiarism among headteachers and school leaders. However, it is essential to explore the potential benefits that AI-powered tools like ChatGPT can offer.
In this blog post, we shed light on the practical applications of ChatGPT, including 10 ways School Business Managers can use the online tool to automate simple tasks. Learning how to use AI not only reduces workload and stress for SBMs but saves time so they can focus on their human expertise, personalised interactions, and the trust built through client relationships that can never be replaced by an AI platform.
Before we get into it however, let us first explain what ChatGPT is.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an advanced language model developed by OpenAI. It is designed to understand and generate human-like text responses based on the input it receives. Trained on a vast amount of data from the internet, ChatGPT has the ability to comprehend and generate contextually relevant and coherent responses to a wide range of queries and prompts. It can assist users in obtaining information, providing suggestions, and engaging in interactive conversations on various topics.
The Role of ChatGPT in School Business Management
School Business Managers can utilise ChatGPT in various ways to streamline their operations and enhance communication within the school community.
Here are 10 potential use cases for ChatGPT:
1. Generating templates
ChatGPT can help create standardized templates for various documents such as memos, reports, and forms, saving time and ensuring consistency. For example, ChatGPT could help School Business Managers create a budgeting template to support financial forecasts for the upcoming academic year.
2. Data organisation, extraction, and entry
ChatGPT can assist in organising and entering data, which of course, would be anonymised, extracting information from documents, and simplifying data management processes. Schools could utilise ChatGPT to extract information from student records, attendance sheets, or behavioural records. This streamlines the data entry process, reduces errors, and allows for more efficient data analysis and reporting while adhering to data protection and GDPR guidelines.
3. Drafting documents, contracts, letters, and policies
School Business Managers can use ChatGPT to generate drafts of various documents, including change of contract letters, salary statement letters, and school policies, providing a starting point for further refinement. We however recommend that you use the online tool for this purpose with caution. Using ChatGPT for legal documents puts you at risk, as the information dispensed by ChatGPT is limited up to 2021. For up-to-date HR policies and legally sound contract templates, we’d recommend using Juniper Education’s ‘Knowledge Hub’ resource instead. Chat to our team of HR experts to find out more about this.
ChatGPT can perform basic calculations and provide quick answers to numerical queries, reducing the time spent on manual calculations. For example, you can use ChatGPT to calculate sick pay, maternity and shared parental leave entitlements, and holidays to assist planning to efficiently update your HR systems and check payroll. Schools could also leverage this functionality to calculate budget projections, analyse financial data, or determine staffing requirements. This saves time and reduces the risk of manual calculation errors.
5. Checking yes/no questions and singular queries
With proper training and programming, the online platform can help verify yes/no questions or provide straightforward answers to singular queries, making it useful for quick fact-checking. For example, a SBM could upload the school’s health and safety policy and ask ChatGPT if the school meets the mandated requirements set by their local authorities.
6. General advice and research
It can provide general advice and conduct research on a wide range of topics, assisting School Business Managers in gathering information and exploring potential solutions. SBM’s could use ChatGPT to gather information on education trends and research best practices on certain issues such as recruiting and retaining teaching staff to help them make informed decisions.
7. General organisational and administrative tasks
ChatGPT can handle routine administrative tasks such as scheduling, reminders, and data entry. School Business Managers could ask ChatGPT to create a lunchtime/playground rota based around specific staffing members and their availability. This can free up their valuable time to focus on more strategic responsibilities.
8. Communication support
The online AI tool can assist in drafting and proofreading communication materials such as emails, newsletters, and announcements. It can help ensure clarity, grammatical correctness, and consistent messaging across various communication channels. For example, School Business Managers can use ChatGPT to review and refine a school-wide announcement about a new extracurricular activity, ensuring clarity and consistent messaging. They can also tailor the tone of voice of their messaging, asking ChatGPT to add empathy or humour to any type of communication.
9. Strategic planning
ChatGPT can aid in strategic planning by assisting School Business Managers in brainstorming, exploring different scenarios, and evaluating potential outcomes. It can prompt critical thinking, and contribute to the development of strategies, for example, SBM’s can ask ChatGPT to give them some innovative ideas on how to streamline school operations to help budgets stretch further when it comes to library resources.
10. Policies and procedures
It can be a valuable resource for disseminating information about school policies, procedures, and compliance requirements. It can help staff to put together key information regarding data protection, health and safety, procurement policies, and financial governance that can then be communicated to parents and the wider school community. For example, schools could ask ChatGPT to produce a mission statement for the school based on their current values, visions, and school achievements.
Limitations of ChatGPT in School Business Management
While ChatGPT offers valuable support for various administrative tasks, it is essential to recognise its limitations and understand situations where human expertise and hands on experience remains irreplaceable.
Here are areas where we feel ChatGPT falls short:
Vetting contracts and regulatory compliance
ChatGPT is not suitable for thoroughly assessing contracts and ensuring compliance with complex regulatory standards. Human expertise is crucial in these high-stakes situations.
Legal advice and dispute resolution
AI cannot replace the specialized knowledge and experience of legal professionals when it comes to providing advice on complex legal matters or handling disputes. Legislation, regulations, and practice law is only available before 2021, therefore current guidance is unavailable which could cause major issues from a HR point of view.
While ChatGPT can assist with data organisation, it may lack the ability to systemise data comprehensively, especially when dealing with complex systems or specific requirements.
Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
ChatGPT can provide general information, but it lacks the interactive and tailored approach of human experts when it comes to CPD and addressing specific professional development needs.
Appeals, allegations, and disciplinary actions
High-stakes cases involving appeals, allegations, and disciplinary actions require human judgment and expertise, as well as the ability to navigate sensitive situations effectively.
PR and crisis management
ChatGPT cannot replace the strategic thinking and nuanced decision-making required in high-profile PR and crisis management scenarios. School Business Managers should always consider the context, consult with stakeholders, and exercise their professional discretion when it comes to PR and crisis management.
While ChatGPT has its limitations, it offers School Business Managers the opportunity to automate routine tasks, improve efficiency, and access general information and support. It is important to strike a balance between leveraging AI-powered tools and maintaining the invaluable experience, expertise and judgment humans can offer.
This is where Juniper Education and our team of professionals can help!
The Juniper Approach
Here at Juniper Education we offer a comprehensive suite of solutions and services that can complement the areas where ChatGPT will not be able to assist, for example education HR.
Our experienced team can provide tailored guidance on complex HR issues, support with payroll and pensions, HR training, compliance audits and much more.
Or visit our dedicated HR services page on our website.