Introduction to Arbor - Guide for new Admins, Data Managers and Back-office Staff

This guide and further training

This guide is part of our series of introduction guides for new users.

If you'd like further training, take a look at the services we offer here: Customer Education and Training Services. Then contact your Account Manager if supported by Arbor, or your Support Partner if not supported by Arbor.


We designed Arbor to open data up to everyone and automate repetitive tasks to save you time. The student, staff and guardian profiles have been specially built to allow administrative staff like you to see an overview for everyone at your school, plus our bulk pages and Data Quality Dashboard help you tidy up and add data.

This guide will give you an introduction to managing user access to the MIS, common HR and student administration tasks and will teach you how to do the most important actions in your day-to-day life.


Logging in

Logging in yourself

If you have not logged in to Arbor yet, welcome! Your school is now live and it’s time to log in.
Launch an internet browser - we recommend Google Chrome, and go to your school's URL e.g. http://[exampleschoolname] Follow the instructions in the Logging in for the first time section of this article: Log in and out of the School MIS as staff

If this does not work, get in contact with someone else in your school’s office team who will be able to send you a reset password email and follow our troubleshooting guidance in this article.

Helping other staff to log in

Once you’ve logged in, you may need to help other staff to log in. You can send staff a welcome email that includes their username and a link where they can set their password. You can also manually set a password for them, or get them to reset their password if they are struggling to log in.

Follow the instructions in the Helping other staff to log in section of this article: Log in and out of the School MIS as staff and troubleshooting login issues

Top Tip: The most common login issue staff will have is when they're asked to add in a Date of birth when logging in. This means the system is trying to log them into an old guardian profile - follow these instructions to remove the email address on the old profile.

Sending login details to Guardians

If your school has already switched on the Parent Portal, you may need to support Primary Guardians with logging in. You can see more details about what this is here: Getting started with the Parent Portal and Parent App

You can track parental engagement, and send out login emails from our Students > Parents & Guardians > Parent Portal Usage page. From here you can select all guardians, or just one specific guardian who needs to log in using the bulk actions. You can see full instructions of how to do this here: Sending and resending login details to Guardians

There are many reasons why parents may be struggling to log in to the Parent App or Parent Portal. You can share this article with parents so they can troubleshoot login issues they're experiencing, and to help you determine what the issue is. You can then use the tips in this article to resolve the issue before raising it with the Arbor Support Team if supported by Arbor, or your Support Partner if not supported by Arbor.



My Homepage

This is the first screen that you will see when you log in to your school's Arbor site.

my homepage.png

  1. Top menus and site links
  2. Search
  3. Favourites
  4. My Calendar
  5. To do
  6. Alerts
  7. School notices
  8. Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Take a look here for a full breakdown of how you can use each section: My Homepage - your personalised Arbor Homepage

Why does my view look different to teachers?

If you’re an administrator with no teaching or pastoral responsibilities, your homepage will look different to other staff at your school:

  • You won’t see incomplete attendance registers in your To Do section.
  • You won’t get most alerts as you aren’t linked to specific students.
  • You won’t see the My Students tab, but you can drill down into your whole school KPIs.


HR Admin and staff access

Managing access with business roles and permissions

Business roles control what areas of Arbor staff have access to. Every staff member must be given a Business Role to be able to log in to Arbor.

You can see how to give staff access here: Adding a Business Role to a member of staff

Top Tip: For Permissions associated with their new Business Role to take effect - the staff member will need to log out of Arbor and back in again.

Each business role on Arbor comes with a default set of permissions to enable the staff member to carry out the tasks required by their role, to view or be able to edit certain fields or take certain actions. Please note that you cannot create new roles.

For example, a teacher would by default have the permission to take registers for their classes, but not have permission to take registers for all classes.



If you find that a staff member needs to be able to do additional actions in Arbor, you can give them the permission to take that action, rather than giving them more business roles: Giving an Ad-Hoc permission

You can see how to remove access here: Remove a permission from a user

When a staff member no longer works at the school, you must end their Business Role. They will no longer be able to access Arbor once the end date for their Business Roles has passed. To find out how to end a staff member’s employment and end their Business Role, click here.

Updating staff checks and using the Single Central Staff Record

All schools have to keep a single central staff record up to date to make sure all checks and precautions have been made to keep their students safe. Arbor has a dedicated page that allows you to check you have all the information about your staff members, which you can read about here: Check and update Staff Details from the School Single Central Record (SCR)

You can't upload into the SCR in bulk, such as via a spreadsheet, but you can update the checks from School > All Staff > HR Admin > Checks > Manage Check Types. On this page, you can use the Bulk action button to update the check. More information here: Adding checks and qualifications to staff

If you want to edit one staff member's details you can use the top-right search bar or the Browse staff page to find their staff profile and edit directly from there instead.

Top Tip: Click any field with a > symbol to see further information or edit it.



Adding staff contracts

From the Contracts section of the staff profile, you can edit or add contracts. When adding a new contract, check the right Position exists so this can be recorded for the Workforce Census - take a look here for more guidance.

You can also choose whether to include the staff member in the Workforce Census. You can choose to discount all staff contracts or only specific ones if you submit the information through a different channel - take a look here to see your options.



The name of the staff contract is what appears in search results in Arbor and your signature when sending communications. If this is incorrect:

  • If they don't have a contract yet, you can add one to change their title from Staff to their actual role.
  • If they do have a contract, select the contract, then scroll down to the contract details. If there isn't a job title, the staff role defaults to the Position chosen. To amend the role, you can add a job title or change the name.

Student Admin

In Arbor, individual student data is all stored on the Student Profile. You can use the global search or the Students > All Students > Browse Students page to find their profile and edit directly from there.

You can see full details of what you can see, edit and do here: The Student Profile

Top Tip: Click any field with a > symbol to see further information or edit it.



SEN and student background (Pupil Premium, FSM)

Some of the tags that display on the child’s profile card, such as FSM, are based on automatically calculated Derived Background Indicators. You can edit these from the Background section of the student’s profile.

Pupil premium is a little different, and is not managed using a tick box which you may have previously had in your past MIS system. To set a student as Pupil Premium Eligible (possibly in receipt of funding), they need to have certain Derived Background Indicators, as detailed here.

This data is then submitted in the census, which the DfE then uses to help determine who should be set as a Pupil Premium Recipient. You can see further details including how to import Pupil Premium Recipient data here: Pupil Premium Eligible vs Pupil Premium Recipients



Click into the Educational Needs section from the left-hand menu to see a student’s needs or log them as SEN: Adding SEN (Special Educational Need) for a student



Enrolment into the school and registers

One very important part of the student profile is the Enrolment section. This is where you can see what registers the child will appear in and is important to be right to prevent Census errors.

You can edit any of this information by clicking the field or add a new enrolment by clicking +Add.



If the student has been enrolled into your school incorrectly, or you need to change their enrolment date, click their enrolment into your school at the top of the page.

In the slide over, click Edit, then you can make the changes, which will apply to all enrolments. For example, if the student was never meant to be enrolled in your school, click Delete.



Finally, make sure that the enrolment mode you have selected is correct. If no mode has been selected, the system will assume the student is a single registered student and your school is the only school the student attends. Some other options are Dual registration and Guest Pupil (also to be used if you record nursery pupils from another PVI provider - you can see more about this here).



Guardians and student relationships

In the Family, Guardians and contacts section of the student profile, you can manage all family members of the child, add new Guardians and set priority emergency contacts to manage which family members can be contacted or can collect the child.



Managing user data

The Data Quality Dashboard on Arbor allows you to view and add missing data on Staff, Students and Guardian users on Arbor. You can see how this works here: Using the Data Quality Dashboard



Resolving Duplicates

You can identify and resolve suspected duplicates from School > Data > Data Quality Dashboard > Suspected Duplicates:

  • student duplicates in preparation for DfE School Census (shown below)
  • guardian duplicates to improve communication to guardians and save costs on avoiding to send multiple text messages to the same guardians
  • staff duplicates in preparation for DfE School Workforce Census

You can also use this area for resolving duplicate email addresses, as you need to make sure all user profiles have unique email addresses to allow them to log into the right profile: Check for duplicate email addresses

Data Retention and removing profiles

We have Data Retention Dashboards for personal records which highlight records that exceed data retention timelines, so they can be deleted in bulk. You can see how to manage this here: Managing data retention for your MIS data


Changing your timetable

Basic timetable changes such as changing academic leads, changing rooms, editing timetable slots or changing lesson times can be made in Arbor: Editing timetable slots, lesson times, rooms and staff

You can also import new timetables from our timetabling partner providers Edval or TimeTabler. Before importing your file, please read the guidance below to ensure you're completing the process correctly depending on when you're importing the file.

You can see how to change the timetable for individual students here: Move students between different classes or registration forms

Using your timetables

You can view timetables in Arbor from School > Timetable, and identify gaps and clashes, or print the timetables for staff or students. You may also wish to see how to book out rooms.



Go to Students > Attendance in the top navigation bar. Please note: although this option is available to Admins, teaching staff will need to access registers through their calendar.

In Daily attendance, you can see all the registers for today. You can click each register to access the Lesson Dashboard for the class or open the register. For more information see:

In Incomplete Registers, you can see Unopened and Incomplete registers and send a reminder email to teachers to complete their registers. Any students without a mark will be shown with a question mark. You can see full details here.



Editing past and future attendance marks

The easiest way to edit attendance past marks is to go to our bulk pages: Bulk editing attendance marks

Top Tip: To edit marks historic statutory marks imported from your school's previous MIS, you’ll need to use the Imported Marks page instead.



Use the Roll Call Marks page to view statutory AM and PM attendance marks for all students in your school for up to 10 days. Drill down into different student groups and take further actions such as adding students to an intervention or editing a student’s mark. You can see more details on how this page works here: How to use the Roll Call Marks attendance page

Planned absences are used to log when a student will be absent from school and can be used to choose a pre-fill mark that will automatically populate in the registers. You can see how to use planned absences here: Adding and viewing Planned Absences and future pre-fill marks

Reporting on attendance

From the left-hand menu in Students > Attendance, you can access various pages which allow you to analyse your Attendance statistics:

  • Absentees by date - All students absent on a specific date (shown in the Following up with student absences section)
  • Broken Weeks - Students with at least one unauthorised absence, broken down by week.
  • Continuous Absence - Students who have had at least 1 day of consecutive absence from the selected date. Click the column header to sort by the greatest number of absences.
  • Correlated/Siblings - Pairs of students who often have absences at the same time.
  • Persistent Absentees - Students with the highest absences during the academic year.

Once you’ve spotted these trends, you can take action to prevent these trends from continuing. You can use the bulk actions on the left-hand side of these pages to follow up with guardians or take further actions, such as enrolling the students into an intervention.

The Statistics page is an extremely powerful page you can use to create almost any type of attendance report. By using the filters at the top of the page, you can create a report of any student group’s attendance and compare it to other student groups. See this article for how to create some example reports: Viewing statistics for attendance



On the Reports page, you can generate these printable reports:

  1. Attendance Certificates in bulk or an Attendance Certificate for single students
  2. A Statutory Marks Report
  3. A Weekly Printable Register or Printable lesson registers
  4. An export of Marks Week by Week for a specific date range

Take a look here for how to generate all these printouts: Print weekly registers, attendance reports and certificates



The great thing about Arbor is that it's usually quickest and easiest to use the area of the system you want to report on rather than creating a report. In most areas of Arbor, you can find tables of data for reporting purposes!

For example, you can just jump straight to the Students > Attendance > Absentees reporting pages for out-of-the-box pre-built tables, that you can filter using inbuilt demographic groupings like Pupil Premium vs Not.

If you do decide that you need a bespoke report, you can use our Custom Report Writer to use pre-built reports or ones you've designed. You can import a whole host of common reports from our Help Centre: Creating common Custom Report Writer reports. You can also schedule the report to be sent out and shared with other staff, or do custom calculations and conditional formatting.

Any tables and reports in Arbor can also be downloaded for sharing. You could also create a Live Feed, so the data refreshes each time you open it, without you having to rerun the report. 

Reporting on your students

The quickest way to get a breakdown of student numbers by year, reg form or demographics like Sex and Pupil Premium is from the Student > Enrolment > Statistics page. You can see more about this here, or scroll up for other ways of producing class lists: Overall enrolment statistics



Top Tips

How to make the most of Arbor

Take a look at our resources for tips and tricks for using Arbor:

Don't have the level of access you need?

In Arbor, access to different pages, and the ability to action different tasks on pages (such as clicking a button) are based on what permissions you have.

Please see this article for how to gain access: I don't have access and need more permissions

How you can get further help

Go to the Help Centre at or click Help Centre in the top right of your Arbor site to open it in a new tab. Here you can find FAQs, guides, video tutorials, and free online training, so you can learn however suits you best.

Take a look at this section of the Help Centre for how to get started, including what to do if Arbor isn’t working, and how to get in touch if you need further help: Using Arbor, the Help Centre and the Community


Where can I give feedback?

The Arbor Roadmap shows you what we’re working on now, what’s coming up next, and those shiny new features and enhancements we’re looking to release a bit further down the road. If you have feedback you can see how to submit this here: Our Product Roadmap and how to submit feedback

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