TimeTabler Testimonials - Full versions


 These are the full versions of the testimonials
 provided by Users of TimeTabler, Options/Electives, StaffCover

Taking on the timetabler role in any school is a daunting task, and it has for many years been seen as something of a black art. TimeTabler moves it into the 21st century, no more pieces of paper, no more boards, pegs or spreadsheets, just a great tool that does what it says it will do.
 
I had no experience of timetabling when I took it on in my school other than a vague notion of schematics and a brief flirtation with the previous years timetable.
The task seemed twofold to me at the time, I had to learn how to use the software and I had to learn how to timetable.
 
In fact I was wrong.  In the process of investing time in learning to use the software, I learned more about timetabling than I could have any other way.  The program forces you to think rigorously, to plan and to have no uncertainty as to what you are trying to achieve before you begin.
As it has evolved it has got better and each year I look forward to the new enhancements, as I have never found one yet that I could not use.
 
I knew I wanted a technological solution when I started. I had experience of project-planning using software and knew there had to be a solution.
I tried demos of every package I could find.  TimeTabler stood head and shoulders above the competition.
Simply it retained the 'art' of timetabling, but with the science built in.
 
It has clearly been put together by school timetablers, for school timetablers.
 
It allows for infinite flexibility but within a rigorous construct.  It allows me, in minutes, to 'try' scenarios that I would never have considered by hand.  But most of all it kept me right.
 
This is now a vital part of my timetabling.  I have not yet found a situation that cannot be programmed in, nor have I found that the time invested in learning how was wasted.  
My timetable cycle has been shortened, the quality of what is produced has improved and the task itself seems less daunting.
 
I cannot recommend it highly enough.
 
Derek Simpson, Depute, Dunbar Grammar School (ages 12-18) , East Lothian, Scotland
[Derek Simpson is now at Knox Academy, East Lothian]

 
 

I use TimeTabler because it does what I tell it to do.  It allows me to encode the curriculum exactly how I want it to be encoded. I can then build the timetable lesson-by-lesson, putting each activity exactly where I want. TimeTabler is a splendid assistant that serves me throughout the timetabling process.  It will not let me inadvertently “double book” a teacher or a class and it tells me which activities it thinks I should place next, though it does not get offended when I ignore its advice.  Should an activity not fit readily, TimeTabler’s FIT routine will churn out multi-step shuffles of activities that I have already placed until I find one that I like.  Whenever I have run into difficulties I have found both the documentation and the helpline to be excellent.

I am now writing my third timetable at King Henry VIII School. We are a five-form entry 11-18 secondary school with a large sixth form.  Our curriculum plan is not straightforward.  It comprises large heterogeneous option blocks at GCSE and A-Level, setted blocks in Maths and MFL in all key stages, carousels involving DT, ICT, Art and Music, several peculiar structures that have been incorporated over the years, and just enough pure class activities to make it all stick together.

My predecessor had used Facility Timetable, but the documentation accompanying that package defeated me completely.
 
When I was appointed, my school was implementing SIMS.net so I was also encouraged to consider Nova-T6 because (a) we had paid for it and (b) Nova could export the timetable straight into SIMS.net.  Unfortunately I made little progress with the Nova documentation and, even after four days of training with a Capita rep, I was not confident with T6.  
 
It did not help that T6 seemed unable to cope with an unusual aspect of our curriculum plan.  
Several people including the Capita rep told me that there must be a solution, though nobody was able to supply it (meanwhile TimeTabler handled the curriculum plan easily).  With T6 it was also not clear who was in charge – me or the machine.

I decided to press ahead with TimeTabler and did not regret the decision.  At the end of the timetabling process I can export my timetable from TimeTabler into SIMS.net using exactly the same import wizard that is used by T6.
The only difference is that I have access to the TimeTabler HelpLine: this has been particularly valuable when I have been stumped by SIMS.net and I have been unable to solicit help from Capita.

I would wholeheartedly recommend TimeTabler.  Writing a school timetable can never be effortless and stress-free, but TimeTabler guides me through the entire process from setting up the curriculum plan to the final transfer into SIMS.net.
 
Debbie Hayton, Timetabler, King Henry VIII School (ages 11-18), Coventry


 
To see another 270 comments by Users, including comparisons with other programs, please click here.
 
  
 Since 1999 I have been able to approach the timetabling season with pleasure, because that is when I began to use TimeTabler.
 
Every year I have appreciated the improvement in the software in response to Users' needs and comments. 
Moreover I have known that if ever I hit a problem, even one specific to only our school, I would always get an appropriate overnight response (the time difference helps here!) by sending an email to the HelpLine.
 
Our school's curriculum has many quirks.  For example, some subjects are taughts over two grade levels, while others are taught by homeroom or according to ability levels; some departments want only double periods, others want a mix of doubles and singles.  Teachers often have commitments to more than one department or to extra-curricular activities, while some teach throughout all age ranges.  Moreover, there are specific requirements for the use of rooms--of which we do not have enough!  In addition the part-time teachers can only teach on certain days.
 
TimeTabler has an extraordinary degree of flexibility built into its programme, which allows it to be used in a wide variety of places.
I find that its methods are consistent with my intuition.  Nor is it software that 'takes over', since I can always overide the 'autofit' mechanism by placing or fixing classes in position in advance of a run.  The administration at my school is appreciative of the fact that I can present them with several saved solutions, so that they can then choose one out of several different timetabled patterns.

Mary Saso, Timetabler, International School of the Sacred Heart (grades 1-12) , Tokyo, Japan


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I started writing timetables fifteen years ago.  I used to spend a good three or four weeks of my summer holidays producing the timetable for September with pencil and rubber, and had dabbled with TimeTabler previously. Once I thought I had finished I would have, of course, to comb through it all to write individual staff timetables, in the course of which I would discover slips, usually with the double-booking of rooms.  This would involve re-scheduling, which was very frustrating. For a prep school we have quite a complex series of subject-blocks in our curriculum plan, with differing lunchtimes, part-time staff, team-teaching here and there, and all the usual complications.
A few years ago, with the mid-term aim of exporting things to our PASS management system, I was given a stand-alone PC (we are an Apple Mac school) simply to use TimeTabler seriously for the first time.
Our Academic Manager had sorted out staff deployment by the summer half term, so for the first time ever I was able to make a start on scheduling actually in term time, using TimeTabler but also, for my own peace of mind, keeping a paper copy as a back-up.
 
My Damascus moment occurred when TimeTabler found, in about five seconds, a Level 7 'musical chairs' fit which I knew from bitter experience would have taken me two or three days to work out.
And of course, with the whole thing finished, formatting and producing individual staff and room timetables (in a variety of pretty colours) requires next to no effort at all.
At a pinch, I could have issued staff timetables on the last day of the summer term – then an unprecedented feat. I decided not to, so that I could mull over some possible improvements. I was also reluctant to dispel the impression gained by most colleagues that I grind away at this thankless task for most of the summer break!  I think that I’ve been rumbled now, though.
The hassle and stress levels of the first few weeks of my summer holidays have disappeared, and TimeTabler has saved me many days of work.
 
The manual is excellent, as is the prompt and patient guidance offered on-line or by phone.
I have no hesitation in recommending TimeTabler to prospective users, who are very welcome to contact me directly for a chat if they wish.
 
Bob Bass, Director of Studies, Orwell Park School (ages 3-13) , Nacton, Ipswich


I have used TimeTabler for the last 15 years to write school timetables and manage the staff, students and rooming issues.
Over this time the TimeTabler program has continued to develop and now is an essential central tool in curriculum and school development plans.
I have found it to be an excellent program for construction and maintenance of current school timetables, allowing one to plan current and future staffing and curriculum programmes.
 
Paul Schofield, Principal, St Andrews International School (ages 2-18), Bangkok, Thailand



With such a complicated mixture of teaching sets for different year groups in our school, TimeTabler and Options give me the flexibility and ease to do my timetabling in such a short time.
 
Anton Kok, Director of Studies, King's School (ages 13-18), Bruton, Somerset


TimeTabler has been in my life for twenty years and it has saved me heartache each year when the near impossible timetable has to be created for the next academic year. The software has come along way since the 8-bit software where the only colour was the green text and there was not an image or too many tables in sight but it served the purpose of creating a balanced timetable. Like all software TimeTabler needs some input and it is the skill of the input and the intricacies of the software which makes for effective timetables.
 
One year I had to produce four unique school timetables and if it was not for the ease of use of TimeTabler and the power of the software there would have been embarrassment and a lack of confidence amongst the staff, the pupils and the parents.
Many people are sceptical about using software and still revert to their pins and boards and/or tracing paper because they feel TimeTabler would not cope with their needs.  In my school we have different length of days, we have half-days, we have various meetings, we have part-time staff, we have setting in some year-groups involving over half the subjects taught, and I have never had a failed outcome from the software. Yes, TimeTabler has on occasions told me the matrix is impossible and when analysed, nobody and/or no machine would have rectified the situation.
 
Why have I chosen TimeTabler?
 
-Cost was the first issue and having looked at more expensive software I found they were not as powerful as TimeTabler.
 
-You become part of the Johnson family and the assistance you receive from them is very efficient.  They respect you as a person and not a number.
 
-They listen to their users and are always updating the software taking into account requests they have received during the year.
 
Doing your first timetable using any software can be daunting but I feel the new interface of TimeTabler eases the nerves and the Help pages make you move forward with your quest.  If you would like to know more of my views do contact Keith or Chris Johnson and they will forward your mail to me.
 
Douglas Buchanan, Timetabler, Eagle House Prep School, Sandhurst, Berkshire


 Having been charged with the daunting task of becoming my new school's timetabler, I looked at a number of software applications which claimed to make this crucial role as straightforward as possible.  Given the number of options available, I can honestly say that the best decision I made was to invest in TimeTabler.
From the day I installed the software, the product and the support offered by Keith Johnson and his company have been absolutely superb.
The good people at TimeTabler understand that the key to good timetable construction is not complicated programming and elaborate interfaces, but rather software which allows the school timetabler to concentrate on the key issue of building a quality timetable without having to first understand the software behind it.

TimeTabler is an intuitive piece of kit; finding your way around it takes next to no time and within hours you are focusing on constructing an effective timetable, not concerning yourself with trying to work out why a programmer has built the software in a particular manner.
In essence, TimeTabler takes the stress out of timetable construction.  Produced by people who know how timetabling should be, TimeTabler is without doubt the only piece of software I will ever use.  The online support and telephone helplines give you all the support you need, and the annual 'wish list' enables those on the front line of timetable construction to be involved in implementing improvements for the following year's software release.

I would not hesitate to recommend TimeTabler to anyone who takes on this vital role, whether experienced in curriculum construction or complete novice.  It really is that good.

Phil Horstrup, Timetabler, Maidstone Grammar School for Girls (ages 11-18), Maidstone, Kent



To see another 270 comments by Users, including comparisons with other programs, please click here.
 
 

As a prep school, our timetable is not as complicated as larger secondary schools, but I have found TimeTabler has made my production of the timetable so much easier. (I have, under difficult circumstances, been able to produce a new timetable in less than one working day! (but don't tell my Headmaster!!)
 
The transfer of data from TimeTabler to SchoolBase is easy and saves so much time.
 
Nigel Kinloch, Director of Information Services, The Pilgrims' School (ages 4-13), Winchester, Hants


I have used TimeTabler for 8 years now.  
I’ve reviewed other products, but they simply don’t match up in terms of ease of use and flexibility.
 
The support has been great, you have always responded quickly to queries and helped out with problems.
In my last school where I had 50 classes and 50 students, I was able to rewrite the whole school timetable in one evening when we had to add an extra class and change all the staffing.
It makes my job easier because I know that once I have collected the data, I can play around with the timetables, produce different variations easily make changes to suit individual staff.
 
I would not use any other software.  TimeTabler is cost effective and works well in big and small schools.
 
Options
was great in my last school as it allowed us to prepare individualised timetables for Years 10 to 13.

John Todd, Head Teacher, Compass International School, Doha, Qatar


 When it comes to timetabling, Keith Johnson literally wrote the book!  Most school timetablers have been trained directly or indirectly by him.
I have timetabled for four different independent schools both boarding and day, single sex and coeducational and TimeTabler has coped magnificently with the vagaries of each.

The TimeTabler program is the easiest and most versatile I have used and I have tried most of them.
For the timetabler it is a dream; easy to understand and works exactly to timetabling best practice.
The constraints can be overwritten and any locally acceptable compromise made to work.
As a timetabler all you have to do is set it up and it will deliver a real quality timetable.

Options is without peer and many school management systems do not have an effective or any options capability at all.
It is easy to extract pupil information from the school MIS into options and easy to read it back in. I have no criticism at all to offer of Options and would not be without it.  It delivers the very best option blocks based on free choice or with some or many constraints.  Our bottom line depends on customer satisfaction and the Options program delivers results leading to more happy pupils and parents than any other system by far.

I have never had to use the help-line since the first year I used TimeTabler as it works exactly as a good timetabler should and is very instinctive.

Heather Salmon, Timetabler, Arnold School (ages 11-18), Blackpool, Lancashire



I am in my second year of timetabling.  The first year was horrendous as I found the previous timetable program not to be up to the task and, subsequently, I had to spend hours assigning lessons manually.  Fortunately the Deputy Head was already familiar with previous versions of TimeTabler and the school purchased the latest version of the TimeTabler software.
 
From the start, it was clear that the program had been designed from a Teacher’s perspective and the initial set up was much more straight forward.  However, the genius of the system became apparent in the speed with which it was able to generate the actual timetables.
 
It is no exaggeration to say that TimeTabler has reduced my workload by well over 100 hours.
I have also been able to create a timetable which I did not believe to be achievable due to the numerous constraints, demands and restrictions. This is despite the worse-case scenario of having a teacher hand in her notice very late in the day.
 
This has also been assisted by the online Support – responses to queries were almost instantaneous and full of useful suggestions.
 
The investment has been worth every penny and I would thoroughly recommend TimeTabler to any school.

Charles Brenan, Deputy Director of Studies, Newland House School (ages 4-13), Twickenham, Middlesex


I can’t remember how long I have been using TimeTabler, but do remember using it as far back as the days of MS-DOS, so I suppose it is some time in the early nineties…!  As an eternal Mac user the shift from that interface to the world of backslashes was pretty traumatic, but compared to manual timetabling it was a welcome change (especially not having to manually write out the class and staff timetables when finished!).
 
I had come across your book on Timetabling, and thought that this was a unique chance to have the programme that was literally written by the guy that ‘wrote the book’!
And the basic programme has always been an extremely powerful timetabling tool.  Over the years the interface has become friendlier and friendlier, and I must say that the inclusion of the Visual Builder (drag and drop timetabling) has made an enormous difference.  In the early days I used TimeTabler but kept the old board and replicated the decisions on the machine with pins on the board, so that I could have a better look at what the day was looking like for a particular class. Now I have discarded the old board, as it is just as easy to see class timetables on the screen.
 
I’m sure I won’t remember all the things that have endeared me to TimeTabler, but one very powerful tool that has always been there is the FIT feature, when a particular lesson cannot be found a place without moving something else. There were times when one would stare at the board for hours trying to find a solution (and then trying to remember the different moves!!) whereas TimeTabler lays them all out for you, and even tells you how good they are.
The prospect of even being able to see solutions that might involve moving option blocks with large teams is something that would have been impossible before, and even if you spotted a possibility, the number of pins that had to be moved might have deterred you anyway.
 
The other thing that makes this programme special is the fact that every time you assign a lesson it recalculates the tightest activities and shows them to you on the priority list.  No timetabler could do that, and I used to operate with the rules of thumb that told you which activities to place first, second, third, and so on (often passed on by the previous timetabler).
 
Options is another boon, as every year you can really optimize student choices quite easily. I remember that often one would offer a fixed menu of option blocks where students would choose one of each, rather than design the blocks on the basis of student choices. The fixed choices were based on the perception of past results, but clearly Options for Timetabler changed things radically, and its integration with TimeTabler allows you to produce personalized timetables for your students.
It is a very easy programme to use, and the flexibility of being able to re-draw you Option blocks and see what happens is wonderful.
 
I can recommend TimeTabler and Options to anyone wanting to produce a quality timetable in a minimum of time. I have never been totally stumped with any of my timetabling needs, as there have always been way to get round problems (with Special Resources and Locations, dummy teachers, etc., and all the tips and tricks outlined in the manual).
 
But perhaps the most powerful argument would be the very helpful support at the other end of a telephone, where the people doing the support know more about timetabling than I do!
I always get prompt answers to my e-mails (don’t need to phone anymore!). Admittedly I haven’t used other timetabling programmes, but then never have I felt a need to. I assume that a programme that was produced specially for this purpose is likely to be more powerful that the modules included in school management packages, and besides… the other guys didn’t write the book!
   
John Mackenzie, Headmaster, Dunalastair International School (ages 5-18), Santiago, Chile


TimeTabler
We have been using TimeTabler at Cokethorpe since 2005 taking advantage of the annual updates ever since.  Previously the timetable was constructed using a complicated spreadsheet which although it worked was very time-consuming and there was still the possibility of occasional errors.
Right from the start TimeTabler not only made the job easier but increased confidence in the product.  It is easy to see that each class has been allocated the right number of lessons with the right teachers, and it is impossible to double-book a class or a teacher unless you absolutely want to do so.  
Of course, a point is sometimes reached when the ‘perfect’ answer is just not possible but the joy of using TimeTabler is that a range of options can be tried out and saved and the relevant people consulted as to which compromise is acceptable.  However, the ‘Fit’ routine means that it is often possible to find a multi-way swap that avoids the necessity for any compromise at all, and presents a solution that would have taken days to achieve in the past if it had been reached at all.
 
I use two 19” screens attached to my computer and it is fantastic to be able to see the whole of our timetable (which, being a 10-day schedule is rather large) at once and from more than one point of view – eg. staff on one screen and pupils on another.
 
The support is excellent, if sometimes rather humbling in that the question asked is covered in the manual, but better still is the fact that one can suggest enhancements or features that would fit our situation and make the software even better and they are often incorporated in the next release.
 
The printouts are clear and easy to produce showing only the information that is required. They can be exported in HTML format so that it is not always necessary to make a paper copy.
 
The export into our MIS (WCBS / PASS for Windows) works well and enables everyone in the school to use the timetable on a day to day basis. Once completed we are able to produce individual timetables for our pupils despite the huge combination of options that are available.

StaffCover
As you would expect, the completed timetable can be read straight into StaffCover in order to produce the daily cover list. It is perceived by staff as being fair; I am always happy to show colleagues the way it works and the weightings that are applied when selecting someone to cover for an absent teacher.  Of course, the computer can be over-ridden at any time and it is possible to add events that need cover (such as exams) and a record is kept of who has done what cover.  The ability to edit the absence reasons is a useful feature although with so many possibilities not all are used very often.
We produce slips for each member of staff required to do cover which I get into pigeonholes before 8.00 each morning having started the job at about 7.30 – half an hour later than I used to when I did it manually.  
We also use the email facility to let them know and post both a paper and web version of the master copy.
The new facility enabling the master copy to be emailed means that I can let the housemasters know which of their tutors are missing each morning as well as keeping the school office and Director of Studies informed.

Options
Options has helped me to make timetabling and curriculum decisions for four years now.  At Cokethorpe we take a liberal view of GCSE choices so with five option blocks and a very full range of subjects across a year group of 90 the possible permutations are huge.  Options enables me to try as many as I like, and helps to maximise choice whilst minimising waste, both of my time and of curriculum allocation.
The ability to switch pupils around to order, to spread groups as evenly as possible, to remove and replace groups and test out the consequences, all help to make it an essential part of the process.
It is also crucial in the creation of group lists, linking with our school data management system very smoothly and effectively.  I see no need to look elsewhere for a different system, and I could not envisage the process without its help.

Overall
I think that it is safe to say that we thoroughly recommend all three products which not only save us a great deal of time but have enabled us to offer a better experience for staff and pupils alike.
 
Ted Fenton and David Williams, Cokethorpe School (ages 5-18), Witney, Oxfordshire



In 2002, as the leader of the timetabling team at The Henry Lawson High School, I sought out a better way of doing the timetable than I had experienced at other school or was the current practice at THLHS. After viewing many alternatives I decided on Options and TimeTabler because they provided several key advantages.
With the Options software I was able to prepare basic information such as subjects and student names before students made their subject choices. That made it very easy to input data, examine the clash table and design a pattern of study that suited the students at our school. This quick and easy task also provided me with immediate feedback at to the make-up of a class as well as achieving a line structure that made it possible to provide instant information to the Principal and Deputy so that decisions could be made regarding future teaching needs based on reliable information.
 
The TimeTabler software has been invaluable on a number of different counts. Now that I better understand how the program works it has been easy to up-skill new members of the timetabling team as well as other head teachers. The program and its results are used at our school to assist with important decisions regarding curriculum options for students, staffing needs and structure of the school’s 10 day cycle. TimeTabler has been particularly useful at times when timetable changes are necessary due to staff changes, or rotation of electives.
 
Students find the printed timetable easy to read as the program allows subjects to be fully named, teachers’ names attached to classes as well as room numbers.
 
The feature that I find invaluable is what I call the 'no double-up allowed' feature that makes it impossible to timetable a teacher in two places or one two classes at once or two classes in the same room together (unless that is the intention).
The use of colours for each year/form and/or subject has been popular with teaching and ancillary staff as well as students.

Our school has continued to use TimeTabler for the past 6 years and have no intention of changing.  
Its valuable new features are added regularly via up-grades.
TimeTabler
has continued to be great value for money and the online support has always been quick to respond and very helpful.

Danny Kotel, The Henry Lawson High School (ages 11-18), Grenfell, New South Wales, Australia



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I was initially introduced to TimeTabler by my predecessor so naturally I fell into using it.  However, I was given opportunities to view other timetabling programs but I found TimeTabler much easier to use than the one offered by my school system.
 
What I find really great about the program is that it is really easy to use.  It is easy to move around the different menus and it offers the option to save changes regularly throughout as you move from one area to another.  Over the years, the different upgrades have made seeing the overall picture much more straightforward too.

The support offered by Keith and Chris Johnson and their team is excellent.
If I have been confused at any time about the best way forward or any problems that I personally have encountered I have simply e-mailed Chris or Keith and the response is very quick and very helpful.
 
Further benefits come from the upgrade that is produced every year - and it really is seamless. As a result of using the program you sometimes find yourself thinking "I wish I could do ........ on TimeTabler".  e-mail this to Keith and Chris and if it is possible and beneficial it may even be incorporated into the next Upgrade. They really do listen to timetablers at schools.

I was contacted by a local school and was asked if the Deputy Head could come and see how TimeTabler worked. Since his visit this school is now using TimeTabler too.
 
To end, I have found TimeTabler and Options invaluable tools and without them I'm not sure that I would be able to produce a new timetable for Amman Valley School and the options process would be much more difficult.
 
Beth Ledger, Timetabler, Amman Valley School (ages 11-18) , Carmarthenshire, Wales


 
I have been using TimeTabler for probably about 10 years. I found on my arrival at Kandos High School that the program they were using was not Windows, therefore we investigated several alternatives to replace it.
We liked the look of TimeTabler and so opted for it, being impressed with the way the software had the same basic structure as when creating a timetable manually.
 
I have been really impressed with the support that I have received, which has been reliable and instant - never failing me in all the years that I have been using TimeTabler.  I have also been impressed with the improvements which have been made each year with the annual up-grade. These reflect the 'wish list' given by users and the improvement over the years has been outstanding.
 
I am in a smaller Central School at present, and once I have drawn up the structure of my curriculum and entered in the data I can create a whole school timetable in a matter of hours.  The power of this software, however, is that it can be used in both large and small schools and allows for incredible flexibility in groupings of both staff and students. It also caters for the eventuality of split classes, and you can ensure that these do not occur on the same day, despite the teacher being different.
 
This is a comprehensive piece of software and does take a little time to learn using the free Tutorial and QuickStart Guide, but once you have got your head around the logic of the software, then it is fantastic.
I have always loved timetabling, and using this software makes a time-consuming job very easy. Also, the inevitable re-writes are so much easier.
 
I can and have recommended this software to other schools and would be happy to answer any questions about my experiences in writing timetables using TimeTabler.
 
Anne Holden, Deputy Principal, Portland Central School (ages K-12), NSW, Australia.

 
 We have been using TimeTabler at Marlborough College since 2003.  We were looking for a product which was able to do some intelligent scheduling, rather than be a mere electronic pegboard.  The most outstanding feature for us was TimeTabler’s use of ‘Container Blocks’, introduced in 2003, which really suited our way of working.  We were able to designate exact periods when a block appears on the timetable and, having designated activities which should appear within this block, allow the program to do some real thinking.
 
Before using TimeTabler, a major timetabling task each year was the scheduling of the Lower School forms after the Upper School had been constructed.  With TimeTabler, three days' work can be carried out in a matter of minutes.
And, if you don’t like the solution TimeTabler comes up with, impose some more constraints and set the scheduler to work again – overnight if necessary. TimeTabler will search up to a depth of 16 moves to find a solution to a problem.
We undoubtedly have a better timetable as a result.
 
Although TimeTabler has excellent auto-scheduling routines, the user can also place classes manually, and its drag and drop Visual Designer is easy to use.
 
TimeTabler comes with excellent documentation and support.
Emails to the company always elicit a swift and helpful response.
 
For all of these reasons, I would not hesitate to recommend this software.
 
Ian Crabbe, Assistant Director of Studies, Marlborough College (ages 13-18), Marlborough, Wiltshire

 
 I have been using Keith Johnson’s programs for 5 years.
Our senior school has expanded in size from 4 form entry 11-16 to 6 form entry up to sixth form during that time – and is still growing. 
 
TimeTabler and Options have been fantastic tools for curriculum planning that have allowed us to cope with the increased complexity with relative ease! 
What has been particularly useful with both programs is how easy it is to try different scenarios before fixing on a final solution.  When the timetable is nearing completion each year, the ‘FIT’ function of TimeTabler has saved hours of work – I always use it on ‘semi-automatic’ mode, so that I can choose from the range of solutions offered.
 
The tutorial provided with the program is very easy to follow.  I found it very easy to set up year-groups, classes and days to fit my school. 
When I have had queries they have been answered very promptly by e-mail. 
 
I have also been impressed by the new features that are added each year.  These are not programs that will become outdated.
 
If you are looking for an Options planning and Timetabling solution, I would strongly recommend that you look at Keith’s programs first!
 
John Ridley, Timetabler, Tanglin Trust International School (ages 3-18), Singapore


My commitment to the TimeTabler software extends beyond the use of the programme itself, because it is a product which is continually evolving in response to its Users’ needs, and because the training and support provided combines both practical and inspirational guidance.

Chris Lynch, Timetabler, St Thomas More Catholic School (ages 11-18), London


 
I was appointed to create the timetable at my school in 2000 as the big change to A-Levels started.
We were looking to radically alter the structure of the week at the same time as providing for the new, wider, choices that Sixth Form students could then take.
I was given the opportunity to buy any timetabling package I wanted so I set about investigating in early January.
First I went on a single day basic timetabling course so I knew what I was trying to achieve.  This was very useful as it went though how to achieve the whole timetable using pen and paper so that I began to understand how the software packages were to help me.
 
I then called up and got demonstration software from four companies; three large companies linked to various MIS packages and TimeTabler.
The first thing that was obvious was that all the larger companies wanted me to go on specialist timetable user courses for their software.  As I tried to work though their packages I remember realising why: almost nothing was intuitive, even though I understood the basics.  TimeTabler was much easier to use and the demonstration package had a manual which made clear sense to the non-specialist user.  It required no specialist training and yet I felt I could use it successfully.
 
When I costed each system it became clear that something was seriously wrong.  TimeTabler as a whole annual package cost less than the typical annual license for any of the three large companies' products.  If I added in the cost of the necessary training package for the alternative products the cost difference was over 100% more for them than for TimeTabler.  It was a 'no brainer'; I bought TimeTabler.

The Helpline was really useful when I had questions.  Emails were almost invariably answered the same day and phone calls sometimes clicked a few times before the soothing voice of Keith Johnson arrived and invariably sorted out my problem of how to achieve something in the setting up.

As I have got into the rhythm of timetabling I have found the product increasingly easy to set up each year.  Every year there are new features that you realise two years later you cannot live without.

Last year we purchased a new MIS and I integrated the TimeTabler output quite easily once I had read the comprehensive notes that accompany every part of the software: the website being a really useful source of the most up to date information for just about every MIS system I have heard of.
 
One of the best features of the software is the ability to use it on more than one machine.  I have it on three: Office, Home and Laptop.  This means I can get to work on fast processors with high memory while also walking about the campus to chat about minor alterations to the timetable with Heads of Department.  Transferring the data between machines is a very quick and simple operation with a memory stick.  I currently carry the timetables for two schools around and can move the software between each within less than two minutes.

Overall I see no reason to look to change my timetabling software: perhaps the best advert for TimeTabler being the claim to an audience from an MIS provider that they were trying to make sure that the timetabling section of their overall software package 'was as good as TimeTabler' ...when they didn't know the package I used.
 
Certainly I find it a brilliant, easy to use, software package that is wonderfully supported by a highly knowledgeable team.
Thank you for all the hard work you continue to put into the development of the programme: it really is great!
 
Keith Irvine, Timetabler, Bishop's Stortford College (ages 4-18) , Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire

 
Two years ago I was a relative novice at timetabling.  I had a vague idea of option bands, blocking and scheduling but beyond the fact that it was a big 4 dimensional sudoku puzzle I knew nothing.  I attended a course run by TimeTabler in Bangkok and began to grasp the complexities of the whole timetabling jigsaw.  
 
After becoming responsible for the timetable at Patana, I was concerned that a novice would struggle to complete a timetable for a school of 1000+ students with some facilities and staff shared with a Primary school, the complicated structure of IB Higher and Standard lessons, offering 6 foreign languages and a staff of 110.  Having completed the INSET, armed with the program and clutching the couldn't-be-clearer manual, I completed the timetable in a relatively short space of time once final staffing was confirmed.
This year has been even clearer for me.  Keith is always delightful and approachable in his response to technical and practical problems - I think he has a secret passion for solving complex problems.
 
We have our own home-built information management system and all I need to do once a timetable is complete is to give the IT staff a exported csv file and the timetable magically appears online for staff to view.
 
Without doubt I will continue to use the application for as long as I am responsible for the timetable.  
If I move schools, I'll probably stump up the cost of the program out of my own pocket, just for peace of mind!
 
Gavin Lazaro, Assistant Principal, Bangkok Patana School (ages 3-18), Bangkok, Thailand

 
 I have been creating my school's timetable for nearly a decade and three years ago we purchased TimeTabler with a view to making things easier.
There is no doubt that the package made all aspects of our timetable easier to schedule and check as well as reducing significantly the number of time-consuming errors.  And following attendance at an advanced 'Timetabling with TimeTabler' course, delivered by Keith Johnson & Mervyn Wakefield, time and cost savings have been redoubled.
 
It has also enabled me to timetable a curriculum plan that had previously been thought impossible!  
So, thanks to TimeTabler and Keith & Mervyn's peerless pearls of wisdom, I can now create a better timetable in less time.  
 
Well done to the whole team for giving such excellent value for money.
 
Options does exactly what it says on the tin: it quickly updates option choices and facilitates evening out sets, saves unnecessary additional classes.  And, crucially, saved the Deputy Rector the unenviable task of choosing between a disappointed pupil unable to have her choice of subjects and the expense of creating an additional class.
 
Philip Moon , Timetabler, The High School of Glasgow (ages 11-18), Glasgow, Scotland


To see another 270 comments by Users, including comparisons with other programs, please click here.


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If you have any queries about using TimeTabler or Options or StaffCover in your particular school, please e-mail them to: keith@timetabler.com 
 
We can discuss it in as much detail as you wish, ...for as long as you wish, ...until you are sure it will do what you want.
 
 
If (when you've completed the Tutorial) you wish to order, please click here for an order-form (which includes the prices) and fax or post it back to us.

 

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