Emails and Texts, Parents’ Evening Manager and Online Form Collection ensure 100% parental engagement at Wistow CE Primary School! Wistow Primary School have introduced three of ParentMail’s services into their school over the past two years, initially launching Emails and …
Wistow Primary School have introduced three of ParentMail’s services into their school over the past two years, initially launching Emails and Texts, followed by Online Forms and Parents’ Evening Manager. With each new app, they have seen parental engagement improve; and they love sharing their ParentMail experience with other schools!
“Once we had experienced the benefits of texts and emails with ParentMail, we were very eager to give the online forms a go – and what a huge time saver they are!” says School Business Manager, Angela Dethridge. “I particularly like knowing that our communications have reached 100% of our parents and carers, most of whom love using the ParentMail App to respond and communicate with us. However, we appreciate there are a number of parents and carers who prefer traditional methods of communication, and ParentMail make it incredibly easy to produce paper copies of all newsletters and forms to be sent out by hand. It’s a completely socially inclusive service, allowing us to communicate with everybody!”
With Online Forms a huge success amongst school staff and parents, Parents’ Evening Manager was the next application to be introduced at the school.
“We set up a Parents’ Evening, press ‘send’, and sit back and watch the responses come in!” says Angela. “ParentMail has changed the way we work, day to day. We save so much admin time in the office. I would recommend ParentMail to any school that are looking to improve parental engagement, whether at particular times of the year, with Parents’ Evening Manager, or all year round. It’s fantastic being able to guarantee 100% engagement with all school communications!”
If you’re a school looking to improve parental engagement get in touch today! Call us on 01733 595959 or email email@example.com
With Parents’ Evening just around the corner, now is the time to introduce Parents’ Evening Manager!
Parents’ Evening – it’s a stressful event for any school, big or small.
Staff at Wadhurst Primary School were all too familiar with the issues surrounding parents’ evening. Staff and teachers set aside hours to sift through paper forms, organise teacher diaries, rebook and assign appointments – time that neither admin staff or teachers could afford to give up.
Fortunately, Parents’ Evening Manager by ParentMail provides an ideal solution, making booking appointments easy for both schools and parents. Wadhurst Primary School was eager to give it a go!
With 96% of their parents already registered to ParentMail, staff were delighted to receive a fantastic response from parents. Less than a week left before Parents’ Evening, two thirds of parents had already responded!
Not only were parents responding in time, their feedback to the school was extremely positive; one father stopped by the school to express how thrilled he was at being able to book all of his appointments in less than five minutes!
With Parents’ Evening Manager, set-up is incredibly quick, easy and flexible, allowing schools to invite particular year and registration groups, the option to include a location, parent comments, subject tutors and booking windows, and the ability to set reminders.
For parents, the process is short and simple – after receiving the notification from their school, they select the teachers they wish to see and an available slot to meet with them, all from their ParentMail account.
With Parents’ Evening just around the corner, now is the time to introduce Parents’ Evening Manager!
Invest in saving time at your school and enjoy a smooth and organised Parents’ Evening this year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch.
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With over 1800 students and 99% of parents registered on ParentMail, Kesgrave High School collect on average £15,000 online each week, have sent over 700,000 emails home and had a 97% response rate to their first online form! All in …
With over 1800 students and 99% of parents registered on ParentMail, Kesgrave High School collect on average £15,000 online each week, have sent over 700,000 emails home and had a 97% response rate to their first online form! All in all, it’s fair to say the school and ParentMail have formed a very successful partnership when it comes to parental engagement!
We spoke to the Head Teacher’s PA, Julie Garnett, who told us why ParentMail has been such a triumph…
Over 700,000 messages sent since they began using PMX!
“The majority of parents use our branded mobile app, which means messages are sent home as free in-app notifications, popping up to alert parents of important school communications. As a result, we have saved on text credits as we are no longer sending any SMS and instead send all our communications through email which arrive in one single, school branded feed rather than a busy email inbox, improving our parental engagement as a result!
Collecting £15,000 weekly through Online Payments
“With over 70% of parents regularly topping up and paying online through ParentMail, we’re collecting on average £15,000 each week for payment items and with dinner money top ups going straight into the cashless account system with no work required from our school office, the Online Payments application from ParentMail is a huge time saver for both staff and parents.
What’s more, the weekly settlement report makes it very easy for the auditors within school to keep on top of what amount needs to go to which cost centre – of which there are hundreds. This allows us to easily track what has been paid for within each cost centre, which in a secondary school is very important to keep on top of!
85% of bookings made through Parents’ Evening Manager
“Parents Evening Manager has been fantastic; the most recent evening saw 85% of bookings made through ParentMail and with lots of positive feedback from parents. Previously, students would book their appointments with teachers, which meant they could easily avoid the meetings they didn’t want! Now invitations are sent through ParentMail, the control is with the parents and teachers are far busier on parents’ evenings than they used to be!”
97% response rate to their first online Form
“Form collection is going really well, with the first form sent through ParentMail receiving a 97% response rate! The reporting functionality within this application makes it far easier to keep on top of the administration required for trips, requiring data or gathering information about allergies, for example and has been a fantastic benefit for the school.”
We have to say, if schools were students, we’d have to give Kesgrave High School an A* for how well they’re using the ParentMail system to communicate with their parents!
If you’re a school looking for a way to simplify and streamline your communications, introduce Online Payments, Online Form Collections or more, ParentMail could be the answer. Get in touch today through email (email@example.com) or call us on 01733 595959 and we’ll be more than happy to discuss further!
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With over 5,000 students across all campuses, communicating home was not only a time consuming task but also incredibly expensive!
With all communications coming from a single department supporting five different campuses, previously all communications from Activate Learning were sent out via paper and postage. With over 5,000 students across all campuses, this was not only a time consuming task but also incredibly expensive for the business!
Group Administration Manager, David Chatterley, told us, “In the last two months we’ve sent over 9,500 messages through ParentMail, which would previously have gone home as printed letters, posted home. We have the ability to ‘frank’ our own post which helped cut the costs a bit, but for each second class stamp we would pay 35p, for envelopes we’d pay roughly 3.5p each and let’s say 5p for paper and printing costs. As a rough estimation, for all the messages we’ve sent in just the last 2 months, this would total over £4000.”
As well as substantial cost savings, ParentMail has also allowed Activate Learning to save hours of time each week, previously spent printing, collating, stuffing into envelopes, franking and sending home – now it’s all done online and takes a fraction of the time it once did!
Activate Learning is a pioneering education group. Based in Oxford, with a global reach, the group comprises of secondary, further and higher education, apprenticeship and business training.
ParentMail is recognised by nurseries, schools and clubs for helping improve parental engagement from early years right up till sixth form – but also works with colleges and multi academy groups. Activate Learning is a fantastic example of how larger organisations can improve communications but also save thousands of pounds monthly and hours upon hours of administration time!
With roughly 70% of learners under 18, Activate Learning send a variety of messages home, such as information about work experience placements or online courses, subject specific project work, updates on trips, attendance and behaviour updates, meetings updates etc. Managing communications for both college and school divisions means they are reaching both the parents of students and sometimes the student directly.
David told us, “We’ve noticed a real difference in how responsive parents and learners are to the messages we send home now we’re sending them via ParentMail – a good example of this is our recent parent – teacher meetings. Previously, we would send letters home and request calls in and manually input meeting times into a spreadsheet. This year, we sent a message via ParentMail and received calls within minutes – so soon in fact that we hadn’t even begun to set up our spreadsheets yet; it was almost too efficient!”
Now the College group are looking forward to using the Parents’ Evening Manager application within ParentMail to allow the administration to look after itself, freeing up even more time for the team!
David said, “Almost overnight ParentMail has made a considerable difference to how things are done here – not only with the obvious time and cost savings we have made but with the engagement with parents and learners. We’ve been able to improve our communication simply because of how easy it is to do now!”
“With so many students, moving from paper based to digital communications was a risk, but the ParentMail team have worked with us since day one in order to ensure a smooth transition and we’ve had nothing but fantastic feedback from all our campus sites. I would highly recommend other colleges/ college groups to consider a system like this – I’m sure they’ll thank me later!”
If you’re a college, part of a college group or a secondary school looking for a way to simplify and streamline your communications, ParentMail could be the answer. Get in touch today through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call us on 01733 595959 and we’ll be more than happy to discuss further!
“Even if parents forget to top up, they can now do it instantly on the mobile App and it’s ready for lunchtime!”
With over 1200 students ranging from the ages 3 to 18, Leicester Grammar School Trust now manages all parent communications from one single system; sending messages, collecting payments, consent forms and surveys online, as well as recording student absences and all far easier than ever before.
Since August 2017, ParentMail has helped the school professionalise its communications and as a result they have noticed an increase in responses and attendance at events, with messages being delivered directly into the hands of parents.
The way in which dinner money is topped up however has been the main benefit for staff and parents at the Leicester Grammar School Trust. The school use Cunningham’s as their Cashless Till Provider and before they used ParentMail the only way for parents to know their balance was running low or empty, was by their children telling them, or calling the Finance Department.
Head of Marketing & Admissions, Natalie Hunt told us, “Having to rely on students to remind parents when their balance was low was a flawed system as they often forgot to do it and would consequently continually go overdrawn. It was also frustrating for parents as they had no easy way of keeping on top of what they owed (or what their children were purchasing) and would only hear about it once the Finance Department had chased them or their children remembered to ask them to top up their account. Now, they receive a notification on their mobile with a reminder that the balance is running low and can top up there and then.”
“What’s more, even if parents forget to top up, they can do it instantly on the App and it’s ready for lunchtime – no more children being nagged to top up their accounts, and no more frustrated parents! I think a large majority of our parents would say this has been the biggest benefit for them!”
Sending everything through ParentMail has proven to greatly improve how engaged parents are with school communications. Natalie said, “We previously used a messaging only system which was very easy for parents to ignore and didn’t seem to add any real improvement in comparison to paper communications. A large majority of our parents simply didn’t pay attention to it. Now, they have one account where they can view messages, receive information about events, top up dinner money or pay for school items or complete consent forms, parents are completely invested and parental engagement has flourished as a result.”
School absence reporting has also improved thanks to the absence reporting tool available to parents. Previously, the school struggled to get parents to contact them to let them know of absences and this often resulted in attendance officers having to chase parents. Now, parents can record this in seconds on the app and as a result the school has dropped the time spent chasing absences by 50%!
With a combination of one account for all school communications, a mobile app to keep on top of it all and a massive improvement in the way they can now reach parents, the Trust is incredibly pleased with how well ParentMail has been adopted into school life and would recommend it to any other school or trust looking to reach parents with ease (and keep on top of dinner money payments!)
Would you like to know more about ParentMail and how it could help your school improve parental engagement or go completely cashless? Simply call us on 01733 595959 or email email@example.com
Now communicating with their parents regularly and collecting online payments with ease!
With 1298 students, George Stephenson High School has been using ParentMail to communicate with parents since 2012, but recently came up with a creative way to get all their parents registered and paying online!
The school set up a competition where all parents who registered by the end of September 2017 would be entered into a prize draw to win £100 school uniform vouchers. Senior Administrator Lisa Marley told us, “The idea came from our Business Manager and so we thought we’d give it a go to see if it could help improve our parent uptake. We were surprised by just how many parents of the older students got involved (I suppose the element of competition helped!) and just how many parents were keen to win some uniform vouchers! As a result we now have over 90% of our parents registered on ParentMail.”
Now also using Online Payments to collect payments for school trips, revision guides etc. the admin team within the school office have noticed considerable benefits, as previously collecting payments by cash and cheque for 1298 students was an extremely time consuming task. With almost all of their parents now using the system, it’s made managing payments easier than ever.
It’s also allowed the school to keep better track of who has paid for what and when – Lisa told us, “Previously we would have students turn up for trips, who would tell us they had already paid but we had no record of it, so keeping track of this when the payment was manual was quite difficult! Now it’s all recorded on ParentMail we can very easily see who has paid simply by looking at the account!”
One thing the school has noticed over the years is the improvements made to the ParentMail technology and the support available from the ParentMail Team. Lisa told us, “With so many students you might expect a few teething problems, but we have really noticed the improvements the ParentMail team have made both to the registration process for parents and to the functionality available for us school side – it’s great when you give feedback and then see that you’re being listened to! The system is clearly designed with schools and parents in mind!”
“I also have to say that the Support Team at ParentMail are fantastic – when I first took on the role of looking after ParentMail I would use Live Chat quite regularly and the team have always been so helpful and responsive. It really helped me feel comfortable using the system knowing I had the team there if I needed them for anything!”
Now communicating with their parents regularly and collecting online payments with ease, George Stephenson High School would highly recommend ParentMail to any Secondary School looking to simplify how they engage with parents – and they’re even happy to share their secret for driving parent registration!
Want to know more about ParentMail and how it could work for your school? Get in touch today on 01733 595959 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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“I would, and regularly do, recommend ParentMail to any school I speak with!”
From a dinner money and restricted trip money collection system to improving parental engagement; John Hanson switched to ParentMail in 2016 and has never looked back!
Previously using a very restricted system which only allowed them to record dinner money payments, John Hanson Community School have been using ParentMail for over a year and now have over 96% of parents receiving messages, topping up dinner money, paying for school trips, completing forms, booking parents evenings and recording absences all from one account!
We spoke to Finance Officer, Natalie Bush, to find out if the move to ParentMail has been a good one…
“Having just one account which parents can do everything from is so invaluable and is exactly why I would recommend ParentMail to other schools.
“With our previous payments system, the main issue we had was that parents had a separate account for each child, which in a secondary school setting isn’t ideal as we have quite a few parents with multiple children and therefore doing something simple like topping up dinner money was actually quite complex and time consuming.
With ParentMail, parents can top up their dinner accounts and pay for trips for all their children in one quick transaction and that has been a huge benefit which we’ve received lots of positive feedback on!
“ParentMail is a lot more flexible than other systems we’ve used and if there is something we can’t do, we feed it back and they actually listen! A good example is a request I made to change some of the reporting functionality within Online Payments. I fed this back to the ParentMail Team and the updates (plus more!) were made – the reports now give me exactly the information I need and are fantastically easy to keep on top of. We’re so pleased and grateful that they actually listen and create a system that’s easy for us and parents to use!
“Another fantastic benefit of the Online Payments application is that you can cater for all parents – so some can pay upfront, others can choose to pay in instalments, some can pay in advance, others can wait for reminders to pay the day before it’s due. I can’t stress enough that the flexibility of the system is so valuable for us!
“As well as Online Payments, which we’re clearly very happy with, we’re also using ParentMail for Forms, organising Parents’ Evenings and sending general communications. So as well as parents receiving all this information in one account, we’re able to send it from one system, which means everything is linked! For a trip, for example, we can send a message to let parents know about it, we may then send a form to see who would like to attend and can then then ask them to pay through Online Payments! Easy, flexible and straightforward for everyone involved.
“With regard to Parents Evenings’, ParentMail has offered us huge benefits allowing parents to schedule appointments and leave notes for teachers – each teacher now knows exactly who will be arriving to see them and can be fully prepared with data, books and folders leading to a constructive conversation, thus supporting student progress.”
“With 96% coverage of our parents, our communication home has been transformed. Parents are getting all the information we send through our personalised JHCS mobile app and are therefore able to support their child’s education more effectively.”
“We’re very happy with every aspect of ParentMail and the fact that parents can access it all through a mobile app is just an added bonus. I would, and regularly do, recommend ParentMail to any school I speak with – it’s the way forward to become a cashless school, whilst also increasing parental engagement and supporting student progress.”
Are you looking to consolidate your systems and switch to one system which lets you do it all? Get in touch today and we’ll arrange your free demonstration! Simply email email@example.com or call us on 01733 595959.
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174 parents booked their parents’ evening appointments within the first hour!
Within 48 hours of launching ParentMail in Whiteabbey Primary School, 80% of parents were able to receive messages, make payments, complete forms and book parents evening appointments online!
Now with 97% of parents registered, the school sends almost all of their communications digitally, bringing with it considerable time and cost savings!
Principal Keith Wysner used ParentMail at his former primary school in Northern Ireland and felt it was perfect in a small school setting. When he moved to Whiteabbey Primary, he was keen to bring ParentMail with him knowing it would be as beneficial, if not more so, in a larger primary school setting.
Now at Whiteabbey, with just over 400 students, he was amazed to see that 174 parents booked their parents’ evening appointments within the first hour!
Keith told us, “We sent out the invitations at 8.30pm on a Tuesday evening and by the following afternoon 88% of our students had a parents’ evening appointment, of their choosing, confirmed!”
Previously the school sent paper letters to tell parents what time their allocated appointments would be – now with Parents’ Evening Manager they can put control in parents’ hands and allow them to book the appointments at the times they want. The majority of parents use the mobile app to book their appointments which means they receive a notification and can book their appointments instantly.
Feedback from parents has been fantastic, with some taking to the school Facebook page to say “Just booked the appointments for parent teacher interviews on ParentMail. So easy and convenient!” and “I had written in my diary re: the upcoming appointments, then my ParentMail pinged about it – I was straight in there.”
The school had previously looked at other parents’ evening booking and online payments systems, but felt that nothing worked as efficiently as having it all under one roof – and with a mobile app for parents!
Keith said “The admin and teaching teams here in Whiteabbey have really embraced using technology to improve our parental engagement and ParentMail has been a real success as a result. Parents’ Evening Manager in particular is one of the most efficient digital tools I’ve used for managing Parent Teacher Meetings and I would recommend the system to other schools to use as it offers choice whilst reducing admin time and costs.”
Want to know more about our Parents Evening Manager application and how it could simplify processes in our school? Get in touch today on 01733 595959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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“It’s a really nice touch that we’re sending our information home to parents through our very own app!”
Brookside Primary School in Stockport recently moved from a basic text only system to ParentMail, in order to collect payments online, collect permissions and feedback in minutes and reach parents through their own school branded app!
Every child in school now has a parent using ParentMail to pick up important school messages, receive permissions forms and pay for school items. School Business Manager Julie Brennan told us, “We’ve really noticed an increase in responses from parents – whether that’s responding to information we’ve sent, completing a form or making a payment, it all happens instantly now we’re using ParentMail.
“It’s a really nice touch that we’re sending our information home to parents through our very own app, it makes our communications unique to us!”
Previously accepting cash and cheques for payments for school trips, Brookside Primary are now creating their trips on ParentMail and allowing parents to pay online through Debit/Credit Card, PayPal or PayPoint. Julie told us, “PayPoint has been really popular with those parents who don’t like to pay for things online, as it means they can take their barcode into their local shop and pay in a way that’s easiest for them.”
Another benefit for Brookside Primary School is that they have gone from sending paper forms and permission slips home to doing it all electronically through ParentMail – and has certainly noticed an improvement in response times as a result! Julie told us, “We usually see 50% of parents responding to a form now within the first hour, and this goes up to 100% within 24 hours, probably because it’s delivered to them instantly and they can complete it in just a few taps!”
Teachers are still just as involved in the process, simply sending their form needs to the school office, who build the template in ParentMail in minutes and get it sent out straight away. The responses are then collated in an easy to read report and the school can set automatic reminders for those last few parents who sometimes need an extra nudge!
Having gone from such a basic system to one which offers so much functionality, staff were concerned that it may take time for them to understand how it all works, but have been pleasantly surprised with how easy the user interface is for both school and parents; “The training was fantastic and tailored to our needs, and since then we’ve been able to pick it all up as we go. It’s clear that the system has been designed with schools and parents in mind.”
Brookside Primary are really thrilled with how they’re now engaging with parents and the difference it has made to staff in the school office, saving them hours each week. “We can’t imagine why any school would want to use anything else, when you can do it all, and so easily, through ParentMail.”
If you’re a UK school or college interested in using the leading online payments system, going completely paperless with our online forms application or reaching your parents through your own school branded app, get in touch today and we’ll show you how easy it could be! Contact us on 01733 595959 or email email@example.com
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Carlton le Willows Academy have switched to +Pay and now have 80% of parents and over 100 staff paying online, making quick, easy, payments for dinner money, trips, clubs and more through a free mobile App!
With 1400 students, Carlton le Willows Academy in Nottinghamshire recently moved from a local authority controlled online payments system to ParentMail’s +Pay platform, to take back control of their payments and offer parents a more complete service.
Previously, parents could pay for dinner money online via the council system, which meant the school had no visibility of what payments had been made. Other items such as trips and clubs still had to be paid for by cash or cheque and this meant the school were running two different systems.
Now they’ve switched to +Pay, 80% of parents and over 100 staff pay online, making quick, easy, payments for dinner money, trips, clubs, shop items and more through a free mobile App.
School Business Manager, Michael Davies told us, “With +Pay, we now have full control over the whole payments process, from setting up payment items to running off reports to keeping on top of administration. We’re now able to offer our parents a complete service in which they can top up dinner money or pay for school trips all through one system, with ease!”
In June each year, the school holds a “trip week” in which 40-50 events and trips take place. Michael told us, “Previously, managing this week was a struggle as we had paperwork, cash and cheques everywhere and trying to keep on top of who was attending what and who had or hadn’t paid was as chaotic as it sounds! Now, the trips are available to book through +Pay, payments are made almost instantly and the administration is all managed online.”
We asked Michael what advice he would offer to other secondary schools looking to simplify the way they take payments from parents: “For a successful launch, I would say to take your time getting set up and ensure that both staff and parents understand the benefits of going digital. In the initial few weeks you’ve got to dedicate time to getting everything ready and ensuring parents are registered, but once you’re using it regularly you’ll find you’re saving hours each week.”
Dinner Money Collection
Collecting dinner money from large numbers of students and staff could very easily become a complicated and time-consuming task, which is why Carlton le Willows wanted an online payments system to work alongside their cashless catering system; “+Pay integrates with our cashless catering provider which means we’ve really simplified how students and staff pay for school dinners. Our biometric system means they can verify who they are with their fingerprint and payment is taken through their ParentMail account – there’s no need for cash.
“Both staff and parents are notified automatically through ParentMail when their dinner money balance is running low and can top up in seconds using the App or on a computer.”
Simplifying the payments process for school staff
“Our office staff are extremely pleased with how much easier +Pay has made managing trips and events and they’ve saved hours as a result.
“+Pay has really simplified how we accept payments from parents and staff, and we’re looking forward to using it even more in the future. We’d certainly recommend it to schools who want an easy way to manage regular payments from their parents or staff.”
Schools all over the UK are turning to ParentMail for easier, faster, friction free parent payments – if you’d like to know more, get in touch today by calling us on 01733 595959 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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“The improvement in our engagement with parents has been phenomenal.”
Two times national award winning Sunbeams Day Nurseries, based in Harrogate and Leeds are now using ParentMail to improve parental engagement and centralise communications for their nurseries.
Receiving Outstanding OFSTED reports, Sunbeams Day Nurseries, headed by mother of two, Kate Plews, places great value on the family unit and really believes in the importance of good parental engagement. They’ve introduced ParentMail into their strategic plans to help centralise and improve communications with their parents.
Kate told us, “When I saw ParentMail I thought it was incredibly impressive and exactly the sort of system I wanted for our Nurseries to improve the way we communicate with parents.
“When I later had the training however, I really saw the full capability of the system and it made me think strategically about how we could use it for so many different things that I hadn’t even considered, such as how we communicate between our nurseries.”
For several years the nursery staff have been working on building an active social media presence and an interactive website, which helped them to build a very good relationship with parents. By introducing ParentMail, it means they can now connect everything they do and centralise all their communications from one account.
“We can now let parents know if we’ve added something to our website or if we want them to engage with something on our social media pages, as well as sending all important nursery updates or events information to one place for them to view and keep in one account. Because all our parents use our branded App they’re all notified instantly, which has meant the improvement in our engagement with parents has been phenomenal.”
Not only has engagement with parents improved, but they’ve also found it’s helped keep parents on top of things like making payments. Kate told us, “Our parents are busy people and previously we had no method of reminding them when payments were due – now we simply send a reminder out and by the next day all payments have been made. That’s another benefit we hadn’t even considered!”
As an example of how effective ParentMail has been, Kate told us about her long running First Aid Courses, which she has been running for years: “Our First Aid courses have always been popular, but when I sent it out via ParentMail, within minutes the entire course was fully booked! Our parents are really engaged with what we do, but we have never had responses back that quickly before!”
Now the nursery is looking forward to using even more of the functionality available to them, including the Online Forms application; “Going forward we’re really excited about using Online Forms to gather all the information we need from parents such as medical or dietary information – something which we have to spend hours on each week at the moment as we have to manually process all the responses.”
“As well as data collection, we’ll be using Forms to survey parents and get feedback from them which both us and the parents are excited about as it means we’ll be able to make the improvements they request!”
It’s fair to say that Sunbeams Day Nurseries are over the moon with how well ParentMail has fitted in and the improvements it’s made. As well as the obvious benefits, Kate told us, “I think ParentMail is perfect for nurseries, not just because we can reach our parents instantly through our very own branded App, but also because we do so much with the local community, such as fundraising, charity work, local events etc. and so being able to communicate with parents efficiently is vital for these activities to be a success.”
Would you like to improve and centralise communications for your nursery or nursery group? Get in touch today and we’d be happy to provide a free demonstration to show you just how effective ParentMail could be for you. Call us on 01733 595959 or email email@example.com
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“We’re really pleased with ParentMail and would recommend it to any school who wants to make improvements!”
Initially, some parents and carers at Sandford Hill Primary School were not convinced about moving to an online system for school communications and school money. However, today almost 100% use ParentMail and couldn’t be happier!
Sandford Hill, a large primary school with over 475 students in North Staffordshire, are delighted with how much easier ParentMail has made sending school information, collecting payments and receiving permission slip authorisations and survey results back from parents. Office Manager, Gaynor Mullin, told us “Our parents weren’t convinced at first about going digital but, with encouragement and support from office staff, we now have almost 100% of parents registered and it is working really well.”
On a recent survey sent out by the school, parents commented:
“I’m more than happy communicating with school via the ParentMail system. I love the fact that I can easily make payments and access information anytime, anywhere.”
“ParentMail is very good as I get emails to let me know if there are forms to fill in or trips to pay and I can see all things that are going on in school. I prefer ParentMail rather than paper.”
For Sandford Hill, one of the biggest benefits is Online Payments, which has allowed them to go cashless and collect school money for a wide range of things including dinner money, trips, book fairs, Christmas performance DVD’s, tickets for the school disco, school uniform and more!
School secretary, Rebecca Morton, told us “ParentMail is brilliant and has really improved the way we communicate with parents, but the biggest benefit for me has to be online payments! We can keep a close track of who has paid for what and when, which makes it so much easier now, as it’s all recorded automatically on the system, saving hours each week.”
Another application that has proved invaluable is Online Forms. Sandford Hill regularly send home permission slips, surveys and general forms for school trips, after school clubs, dinner orders, school concerts, data collection, reading workshops and to gather general parent feedback.
Rebecca said, “Responses have really improved since we’ve begun using Online Forms, because the majority of parents complete them on the App and receive a notification as soon as the form is sent. We find it a really useful way to gather permissions and feedback from our parents.”
Office Manager Gaynor uses ParentMail every day and says they are really happy with what ParentMail does for them and how it has improved engagement with parents; “We’re regularly sending emails or texts to our families and since using ParentMail, parents receive and are able to read the information we send much quicker.”
“For our working parents especially, being able to pick up messages or make a quick payment on their phone has made it so much easier, and they’re constantly giving us good feedback. We’re really pleased with ParentMail and would recommend it to any school who wants to make improvements to parental communication and going cashless!”
If you’re a UK school or college interested in using the leading online payments system or collecting forms from parent’s online, get in touch today and we’ll show you how easy it could be. Contact us on 01733 595959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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“Now we’re reaching parents on their smartphones and they’re more engaged than ever before.”
After years of spending many hours preparing paper communications, hundreds of pounds each year on paper and photocopying to find that many letters and forms never even made it home, let alone made it back into school, Hemingbrough Community Primary decided it was time to go digital!
Joining ParentMail earlier this year, Hemingbrough Primary are using the full suite of services as well as the school branded App for parents to download – something that has gone down very well with everyone! Now, 98% of parents are receiving messages, completing online forms and booking parents’ evening all from the school APP on their mobile phones.
Business Manager Sarah Read told us, “Though the time and cost savings of a system like this are great, actually, just being able to guarantee that communications are being delivered straight into the hands of parents is the biggest benefit for us. Previously, we had such difficulty reaching our parents because paper letters just never made it home. Now, we’re reaching them on their smartphones and they’re more engaged than ever before.”
The online Forms application has been the outstanding application for Hemingbrough, going from a trickle of responses to more than 60% of parents now completing and responding the very same day. Many of the forms now sent this way get a 100% response rate within 48 hours!
Sarah said, “We send dinner menus each week, permissions for photographs or walking home, club forms and more, and usually within minutes of them being sent we see the responses coming back in. Now that we’ve allowed parents to complete forms on their smartphone, the turnaround time is quicker than ever before!”
With their own school branded App, a suite of services and a way to engage with parents directly, Hemingbrough Community Primary are extremely pleased with ParentMail and the difference it has made with their school communication; “I can easily say ParentMail is the best purchase we’ve made in years and would strongly recommend other schools try it!”
Book a free demonstration of ParentMail today or get in touch to find out what your own school branded App could look like. Call us on 01733 595959 or email email@example.com for more information.
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“We recognise how much technology is helping and we wanted to use the best system on the market to help us .”
Based in East London, Thames View Infants has a complex demographic, with 43 different languages spoken within the school, as well as high levels of social-deprivation.
Despite this, the school was appointed as a National Leader of Education in 2014, has been rated ‘Outstanding’ twice by OFSTED and has some of the highest end-of-Key Stage One results in the country.
One thing the school is extremely passionate about is engaging parents. Head Teacher, Paul Jordan, told us, “We need to be able to reach parents easily and reliably and paper just wasn’t doing that for us. We recognise how much technology is helping schools to bridge that relationship and we wanted to use the best system on the market to help us do that – which is why we chose ParentMail.”
With the aim of getting 95% of parents on board in the next few months, Thames View Infants will quickly make significant savings in paper costs and plan to be completely paperless before the end of the year.
Paul told us, “Previously, we were sending out newsletters, weekly summaries of learning, details of our many family drop-ins, information about clubs and visit consent letters – whatever was required to keep our families up to date and informed with their child’s education. But when we looked at the expense, we realised that we were spending £18,000 a year to do it, which is an awful lot of money!
So we looked at other ways to send this information home, and we quickly realised ParentMail would allow us to do it all and more at a fraction of the cost and time. We’re now communicating more, actively reaching more parents and saving money and time in the process. The money and time we are saving, we can use in other areas of the school – for example, to help our children progress, so it’s fantastic for us.”
The school has made further savings by consolidating the number of systems they used to communicate with parents, and doing it all through ParentMail; “Initially, we were using ParentMail to send our newsletters home, another system so parents could book parents’ evenings and another so parents could pay online – and still sending forms home by paper. So we were paying for three systems and still managing the cost of printing and photocopying.
“Now we’re sending it all through ParentMail, and our parents can do everything on their smartphone. They can pick up messages, contribute to school visits, complete a permission form, book a Parents’ Evening appointment, pay for school dinners, select their preference for an After School Club, all from one place, and in just a few taps!”
The school is very happy with the progress they’ve seen with more parents engaging with what’s going on in the classroom, and say ParentMail has played a vital role in their on-going vision of “valuing parents as partners”.
If you’d like to improve your parental engagement and cut the costs of your school communication, give us a call on 01733 595960 to discuss or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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What did parents think of receiving communications online? The results were very interesting!
Moving from paper to electronic communications is a big decision for any school and Framlingham Sir Robert Hitcham’s CEVA Primary School wanted to be sure they had made the right choice with ParentMail!
With 96% of parents regularly receiving school communications and forms online, the school decided to survey parents and find out what they thought of ParentMail and receiving their communications online.
Office Manager, Caroline Miller, told us, “Here in the office we can see how much time and money ParentMail has saved us, but we wanted to make sure parents felt there had been an improvement in communication in comparison to last year.”
“It gave us an opportunity to show our governors how well ParentMail was working and to hopefully show that we had made the right decision.”
“We also wanted to see where we, or ParentMail, could improve and so who better to ask than the parents who use it every day?”
126 families replied and the results were extremely interesting!
Nearly 90% of parents said they thought ParentMail had improved school communication and over 90% said they thought the online forms were easy to complete. 65% of parents said they picked up school communications through the ParentMail App and many gave feedback as to the type of information they found useful, and those they didn’t!
Many parents also left positive comments, such as:
“Very satisfied with this new way of communication”
“We are new to the school and the communications we receive are miles better than our last school”
“It’s helpful to look back at newsletters to jog memory of dates and things the children need to bring to school on certain days.”
“I didn’t think I would like ParentMail as I have always preferred to receive hard copies of letters but I quickly got used to it and now I have the App on my iPad I love it!”
“Parentmail is such an improvement on communication from the school to parents. Being able to see past emails and correspondence is a bonus.”
Caroline and the rest of the team in the office are now sharing this information with the Senior Leadership Team and the Board of Governors to prove that communicating to parents through ParentMail is a continued success.
Here at ParentMail we think it’s important that schools understand what parents think, so, to help get you started, we’ve added a ParentMail survey to the list of Forms Templates for you to send out straight away! If you’re using Forms, simply log into your account and send your survey in minutes…
If you’d like to gather feedback from parents online, why not try ParentMail’s Forms application? Give us a call on 01733 595960 to discuss or email us at email@example.com
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After two years struggling, St Anne’s CE Primary decided to try Parents Evening Manager – and it’s been a revelation!
Mandy Lester, office administrator at St Anne’s CE Primary School has been in touch to tell us just how much Parents’ Evening Manager, our online booking system for parents’ evening, has made a difference…
“Parents’ Evenings have always been a bit of a nightmare for us – we’ve tried lots of different ways to make the booking process simple for parents and for staff to organise, with little success until now!
First, we tried sending letters home for parents, to return in with their chosen appointment times. Not only did we have to chase responses, but teachers had to manually go through all of them, and work with each other so sibling appointments didn’t clash and weren’t spread out across an evening.
Next, we tried a board in the school office for parents to come in and book appointments on – however this meant administration staff and teaching assistants were regularly taken away from what they were doing to help deal with parent cancellations, take phone calls etc. Again, it was a time-consuming nightmare!
So, we decided to try Parents’ Evening Manager from ParentMail – and what a revelation it’s been! Staff have been over the moon with how easy it’s been, and parents are actually coming in to school to tell us how easy booking appointments is. Many book appointments instantly on the ParentMail App!
The morning it went live, we had 58 appointments booked before the school even opened – and by the time parents’ evening came round, 90% had booked through ParentMail.
A great feature is that we have the option to let parents leave a comment for teachers when booking their appointment times – and teachers have really loved this. It means they can prepare for the evenings ahead and are ready to discuss the things that matter to parents. However, it has to be said; a lot of the parents used this comment box just to tell us how much they loved this new booking process!
From start to finish Parents’ Evening Manager has been a success for our school. Initially, we were nervous about setting it up, so we contacted ParentMail and within the hour we were set up and ready to go. The support and help we’ve had has been spot on and the whole process has been wonderful for us.
It may seem like just one event in the school calendar, but for us having an easy way to manage Parents’ Evening is such a huge thing. We’re so glad we’ve finally found a simple way to organise parents’ evening and we really would recommend it to any other school.”
Want to know more about our parents’ evening booking system? Click here to watch our video and see just how simple it can be! Or, to book an online demonstration and see the process for yourself, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Looking for a system which would allow them to collect payments as well as communicate with parents – ParentMail was the obvious choice.
With cash and cheques regularly coming into school for trips and school items, The Brent Primary School were keen to move to an online payments system to simplify managing payments from parents.
Already using two separate systems to communicate with parents, and having to continue sending paper forms and parents’ evening slips home, The Brent Primary School were looking for a system which would allow them to collect payments as well as communicate with parents – and ParentMail was the obvious choice.
We spoke with Business Manager Dan Baker to find out why ParentMail stood out above the rest:
“Initially, we were looking solely at online payments systems, as we already had a system in place for sending emails and another for sending texts. It was clunky, but it worked. We looked at the market leaders for online payments and ParentMail was head and shoulders above the rest – the software, the design and the back office payments in particular were far more advanced than any other system we looked at.
ParentMail was also the only system where parents could make online payments through a mobile App – as well as reading school messages, completing forms and booking parents’ evening appointments. This was a huge thing for us as parents regularly told us they didn’t have access to emails, so being able to do all of this from an App on their phone meant we got 96% of parents registered with ease.
It’s an added bonus that parents can report absences through the App – one that we now couldn’t live without.
We went from using separate systems for emails and texts, collecting payments physically and continuing to send letters and forms home, to a “one stop shop” doing it all through ParentMail – and parents and staff love it.
We’re now collecting money from parents electronically, receiving responses to forms from staff and parents, sending regular messages home and being able to see who has read the information we send, and for our next parents’ evening will be allowing parents to book their appointments online too!
We’re now looking forward to using Registers to collect payments for our breakfast clubs which again will make our life easier.
Would we recommend ParentMail to other schools? Without a shadow of a doubt – yes!”
If you’re a UK school or college interested in using the leading online payments system, get in touch today and we’ll show you how easy it could be. Contact us on 01733 595959 or email email@example.com
Seeing is Believing! Take a look for yourself at our online payments video HERE
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Ings Farm Primary School always found it difficult to get parents to complete and return forms with often only small numbers of parents responding.
Ings Farm Primary School always found it difficult to get parents to complete and return permission forms and requests for information, with often only small numbers of parents responding. It meant school staff would then spend time contacting parents to chase replies.
However, with over 95% of parents using ParentMail to pick up school messages, Ings Farm Primary decided to introduce ParentMail’s ‘Forms’ application to collect forms, surveys and permissions online – and are delighted with how it has improved responses from parents.
We spoke to Administration Officer, Heather Duffy, about how ParentMail has made it easier for parents to complete and return forms and to be involved in what’s going on at school:
“With the Forms application, we now know for sure that forms are being delivered straight into the hands of parents, rather than sitting in book bags. Parents can complete them straight away in a matter of seconds, which means responses coming in have increased dramatically.
Here’s an example of how effective it’s been – this time last year we sent a form to parents by letter asking if they would be interested in attending an event, and we had just 17 replies. This year we sent the form through ParentMail, and over 60 responded, which means we’ll now have to move it to a much bigger room! We can only assume the form didn’t reach them all when we previously sent it out by letter.
Another online form we sent recently about a trip was sent to 115 parents, and 90% of them responded. When we’re sending online forms to specific groups, such as our Football or Netball clubs, we get 100% of responses back almost instantly.
We use Forms for absolutely everything in school – trips, after school clubs, sports clubs and gym festivals, to gather interest for evenings for parents to come in and talk to teachers. You name it; we use a form for it!
Lots of our parents are using the mobile App because it means they can pick up school messages and complete forms while on the go or at work, which is great for them.
We would recommend the Forms application to any school who want to see an improvement in the amount of responses they get from parents – whether that’s permission slips, general forms or surveys. We think it’s great and couldn’t live without it!”
If you’re a UK school or college interested in switching to an online form collection system, get in touch with ParentMail today and we’ll show you how easy it could be. Contact us on 01733 595959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll book you in for a free demonstration!
Seeing is Believing! Take 5 and watch our online forms video HERE
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Astor College were keen to find a way to communicate to parents which would save money – and ParentMail was the answer.
Previously using a texting service costing over £2,300 each year, frequently spending £500 on whole-school postal mail outs and still sending home general letters, forms and parents’ evening invitations, Astor College were keen to find a way to communicate to parents which would save money – and ParentMail was the answer.
Despite using a text service, there were many letters the school couldn’t use it for so continued to send them home by paper, meaning the cost of paper, printing and post mounted up in addition to their service cost. In just 3 months of using ParentMail, the school has noticed substantial cost savings despite sending more communications home than ever; they predict they will save over £5,000 within their first year.
Now sending texts, emails, online forms and parents’ evening invitations home electronically through one system, the schools have saved hours of time, thousands of pounds, and improved their relationship with parents.
Office Manager Lisa Penn told us, “We are overwhelmingly impressed with ParentMail – being able to send out information in this way makes such a difference when you have to manage communications to nearly 1,000 students and when we looked at the cost savings we were making, it really confirmed that we had made the right decision. We are also very impressed with how easy the system is to use and the support we have received from ParentMail to get up and running.”
“If you add up the cost of our old text service, as well as the amount of paper we were buying, printing, photocopying and posting – it really is an astonishing amount of money we’re now saving thanks to ParentMail.”
And it’s not just the school who love the new way they’re communicating! Lisa told us, “Parents absolutely love ParentMail and the feedback we have received so far is very positive. They love being able to read messages, respond to forms or book parents’ evening appointments from their smartphone! It’s such an efficient way for them to keep on top of their school needs.”
Parents Evening Manager in particular has been a huge benefit to Astor College, removing the need for 1,000+ sheets of paper to come in and out of school, and hugely simplifying the process for everyone involved. Once a dreaded event to organise, Astor College now can’t wait for their next parents’ evening!
Improved parental engagement, huge cost savings and a happy school and parents – just what we like to hear at ParentMail! If your school want to save money by going paperless and moving to a multi-application communications system, please don’t hesitate to get in touch us – email email@example.com or call 01733 595959.
Robert Drake Primary School has started using ParentMail’s latest platform, PMX, and can’t believe how easy it is to use!
Previously using a different system to communicate with parents, Robert Drake Primary School has started using ParentMail’s latest platform, PMX and can’t believe how easy it is to use!
Office administrator Jan Young, told us, “The training was fantastic – clear, helpful and informative. The system is a huge improvement on what we were using previously and our staff are very comfortable with it.”
However, remembering everything you are told during a training session isn’t always easy, which is why ParentMail uses interactive guided tours to help users through processes such as sending an email, removing leavers or creating a new group from start to finish.
Jan said, “The guided tours are so helpful, they answers any and all the questions I may have and allow me to complete tasks I’m unsure about quickly.”
“It’s also great for members of staff who couldn’t attend the training – they can simply play the guided tours for whatever they’re trying to do and then get on and do it – simple!”
A benefit of the guided tours is that users can complete tasks whilst being shown how to do it – saving them a huge amount of time. Guided tours can be replayed at any time, which means if users forget how to do something, they can easily remind themselves by playing it over and over again.
The guided tours are just one example of the comprehensive support ParentMail provides its customers. For users needing help with their account, there are new and improved help sites, guided tours and training videos – and if all that wasn’t enough, a brand new live chat system which will be available for schools very soon.
If you’d like a communications system that’s easy for staff and parents to use, with a range of Support available, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to book a free demonstration.
“Parents are very excited about being able to “do it all” from the mobile App”
Having recently moved to our latest platform, PMX, we spoke to Nikki Pell, Administration Officer at Bruton Primary School to see how they were getting on…
“The new ParentMail system looks so impressive, but is also incredibly intuitive and clever which has made each process very simple. It’s evident that ParentMail has listened to schools and designed a system which allows us to do what we need to do quickly and easily. It’s made everythings we were doing before even simpler, and particularly for me and the office manager, it’s made life so much easier.
We would really recommend any school to move to the latest version of ParentMail as soon as possible.”
Online Payments (+Pay)
“The design is beautiful, it’s easy to use and the whole platform has clearly been created for a school user. For anything that could be potentially difficult, the guided tours (WalkMe) are fantastic.
In just days we have set up all our uniform items and a trip with instalments – something that had the potential to be confusing but in fact was extremely quick and easy to do.
Parents can make payments on their mobile phone, with card payments or even pay through PayPal, making it so much easier for them to make payments.”
“The auto SIMS link alone would have been enough for us to use ParentMail – it’s been such a valuable tool. If a parent updates their details, we simply update SIMS and the changes are automatically transferred into ParentMail.
It’s not just parent data this has been helpful with. Getting staff to update their mobile numbers was a chore, in fact, many just didn’t do it. This meant that on days where the school was closed, we couldn’t reach those who had changed their details but hadn’t let us know. Now it’s all done with the auto SIMS link and updated in 24 hours, the staff can see the point of keeping it up to date and are really on board and excited by ParentMail.”
“We were really keen to use the absence reporting tool and have found we’ve saved hours not having to chase parents to find out why their child is absent. Now that they can report it through their mobile App, they do it first thing in the morning and we no longer have to chase and call round. We can also print a report each day so the administration side of things is done for us. This application has really been a big bonus for us.”
“The training was perfect – nothing was too much trouble, every question was answered and I left the call feeling extremely confident and excited about using ParentMail. That excitement was passed on through staff and it’s fair to say the whole school, including our parents, are really pleased.
Any questions we’ve had since the training have been answered by WalkMe, so we’ve managed to overcome issues really quickly.”
“As soon as parents heard that there was a new version of ParentMail with an App, they were keen for us to get it. Parents are very excited about being able to “do it all” from the mobile App – making payments, reading school messages, reporting absences – all from their smartphone.”
“We’ve had fantastic feedback from parents about the App and it’s fair to say they’re as happy with the new system as we are!”
Would you like to know more about PMX or our online payment system for schools or see the system for yourself? If so click here to book a free demonstration or email us at email@example.com and we’ll be in touch!
With over 90% of parents using ParentMail, Stoke Mandeville Combined School are extremely pleased with how easy it now is to communicate with their parents.
With over 90% of parents using ParentMail and the majority using the ParentMail App, Stoke Mandeville Combined School are extremely pleased with ParentMail and how easy it now is to communicate with their parents.
Previously using an older version of ParentMail, the school began hearing very positive things from other local schools about the latest platform, PMX and decided to upgrade (a free of charge upgrade with no disruption to the school or parents).
Kate Sullivan, administrator and main ParentMail user at Stoke Mandeville Combined School, told us, “When we heard such positive things from other schools about the new version of ParentMail, we were keen to upgrade and begin using it – and it’s been a great decision!”
The real success for this school has been the parent App available with ParentMail’s latest parental engagement system, which is free for parents to download on all iOS and Android devices. Kate told us, “In this day and age most parents have a smartphone, and being able to pick up school messages on the go makes life so much easier for them, and for us here in school.”
“It means they can receive all important school messages via their mobile phone – helping them stay on top of all the things their children need.”
Parents have been very enthusiastic about the ParentMail App, with many coming in to school to let staff know how much they enjoy using it and how much simpler it is than receiving bits of paper. “Parents are busy people and if they can pick up important school messages instantly, or receive reminders for things the night before they’re due, of course they’re going to love it!”
With parents picking up school messages through the App, it means the school have noticed a cost reduction due to sending less text messages out, with in-app notifications working in the exact same way, but with no extra cost.
Could your school benefit from reaching parents instantly through a mobile App? Get in touch today and we’ll show you just how easy it could be! Call 01733 595962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch.
Within a week, 95% of parents booked appointments without paper, queues in the office or teachers spending time on administration!
On the lead up to previous parents’ evenings, Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School saw their office taken over with paper, parents telephoning and coming into school to book appointments, and teachers giving up lunch breaks trying to manage appointments.
At their most recent parents’ evening, the school watched as within a week, 95% of parents had booked appointments without paper, queues in the office or teachers spending time on administration.
Thanks to Parents’ Evening Manager, staff and parents have seen a complete turnaround in the way a usually busy time has been reduced into a simple, booking process.
Office Manager Moya Middlehurst told us, “We love Parents’ Evening Manager. We’ve saved so much time, effort and paper!”
“Instead of parents rushing in to try and book appointments, they were coming in to tell us how fantastic Parents Evening Manager is!”
The school had tried various different ways of tackling the difficulties around booking parents’ evenings appointments in the past – sending letters home with the children to later find them left in trays or school bags, or through a paper booking system in the office, leaving administration staff with the task of helping parents book an appointment at a time they wanted.
With Parents’ Evening Manager, all parents were notified at the same time and could make appointments on their smartphones, tablets or computers, which meant they could get the appointments they wanted – and staff could sit back and watch as the appointments came in!
Moya told us, “It was great watching the appointments get booked instantly. Overnight more than 100 parents had booked their appointments. We couldn’t believe it!”
Teachers have also been very impressed by Parents’ Evening Manager, with many commenting that “We didn’t have to do anything!”
“Would we recommend Parents’ Evening Manager to other schools? Absolutely – we only wish we had known about it sooner!”
If your school are looking to simplify parents’ evenings, get in touch with us today on 01733 595959 or email email@example.com and we’ll be in touch.
Would you like a free quote for Parents’ Evening Manager? Use our pricing tool on the website and get a quote simply by clicking HERE.
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St Anne’s RC Primary School has recently installed the auto SIMS link, so that data automatically updates from SIMS into ParentMail each night.
St Anne’s RC Primary School has recently upgraded to ParentMail’s latest platform and installed the auto SIMS link, so that data automatically updates from SIMS into ParentMail each night.
School Administrator Sheila Johnson said, “The automatic SIMS link is absolutely fantastic! The whole process happens automatically – we no longer need to spend hours during school holidays preparing data!”
St Anne’s had the automatic SIMS link installed onto their system as they moved onto ParentMail’s latest platform, PMX. Sheila told us, “We had the link installed whilst having training for ParentMail, and it was complete in minutes. The person on the end of the phone was able to answer all my queries and concerns about it and we came off the phone extremely happy!”
School staff are particularly pleased about the amount of time the auto SIMS link will save them when they come to the new school year, as previously adding the new intake was a labour intensive job! “With an automatic process in place, we’re going to save hours, if not days, come September.”
“We really would recommend the automatic SIMS link it to any other school.”
Not only does ParentMail offer a free automatic SIMS link, the system also works directly with parents to keep contact data current and actively reduce the work schools have to do, which is why we reach more parents than any other school to parent communication system.
If you’re using our latest platform, you can download instructions for installing the auto SIMS link by logging in to your PMX account and going to Settings, then Auto SIMS Link.
If you’re considering moving from a paper-based system to using school to parent communication software or simply want to know how ParentMail benefits from an automatic SIMS link, get in touch with us today on 01733 595959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch.
Did you know? You can use our pricing tool to on the website and get a quote today simply by clicking HERE.
With Parents Evening Manager, in less than a week Wadhurst Primary School has had two thirds of parents book their appointments online!
For parents and staff at Wadhurst Primary School, Parents’ Evening Manager has made a usually stressful, time consuming process into an easy, simple, and positive activity!
With 96% of parents using ParentMail, the school decided to build on its success and launch Parents’ Evening Manager in the hope it would improve how appointments were booked. The school tested it for their first parents evening of the year and noticed a huge time saving for staff and extremely positive feedback from parents.
Administrator Lou Joliffe told us, “It was a nightmare! We used to have to collect all the booking forms from parents and both administration staff and teachers would have to give up hours of their time dealing with clashing’s in bookings and multiple appointments at the same time.”
And it isn’t just staff who have found Parents’ Evening Manager a success – “One father actually came into school to tell us that he had received the notification on the App and booked his appointments instantly – completing the whole process in less than 5 minutes. He couldn’t believe how easy it was.”
With Parents’ Evening Manager, in less than a week the school has had two thirds of parents book their appointments and without the headache of multiple bookings, confusion in appointment times or the stressful process of having to organise teacher’s diaries.
But Parents’ Evening Manager isn’t the only addition to Wadhurst Primary that’s causing staff and parents to smile – the school trialled the Forms application and 70% of parents responded almost instantly.
Previously, the school would send forms home to parents and ask them to print them off at home, which was difficult for many parents who didn’t have access to a printer and often meant response numbers were low. Now, parents can receive forms on their phone, tablet or computer and respond straight away without any hassle – meaning an increase in responses and happier parents!
Lou told us “We’ve used other systems for other things and I would have to say ParentMail is the easiest to use – for staff and for parents.
“The team at ParentMail obviously listen to feedback and are constantly trying to improve or add new functionality to the system. We really would recommend ParentMail to any other school.”
A very positive school that are using many of ParentMail’s applications to improve communication with parents. Would your school like to organise parents’ evenings with ease or make it easier for parents to respond to forms? Email email@example.com and we’ll be in touch!
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Within 2 weeks, the school had over 80% of parents accessing ParentMail every day, many of which do so through the free ParentMail App.
Edgebury Primary School has recently upgraded to ParentMail’s latest platform, PMX, and said by getting parents excited about it early, the process could not have gone better.
Within 2 weeks, the school had over 80% of parents registered and accessing ParentMail every day, many of which do so through the free ParentMail App.
School Administrator, Andrea Crowhurst told us, “Upgrading to PMX was extremely easy – after a few conversations with the ParentMail migration team, I prepared my data and in one afternoon we moved from our old system on to PMX”
“The trainers were so good that I now feel confident that I could help a school through the process myself!”
Andrea told us that as an administrator, the differences between her previous system and PMX are extremely noticeable – the information is clearer and navigating around the system could not be easier.
In fact, most members of staff who are using ParentMail in school are extremely excited about it. Andrea explained that with PMX, there are now lots of new features they didn’t have before: “Something as simple as mail merging means we can now easily make the email more personal to each parent where necessary, helping to further improve our parent teacher communications.”
Having been through the migration process with ease, Edgebury Primary describe themselves as a real advocate for ParentMail and describe the upgrade to PMX as an extremely positive move for the school.
Andrea told us, “My advice to schools looking to upgrade to PMX would be to let their parents know early, and get them excited about it. We did, so that by the time we were ready to upgrade they couldn’t wait to get registered.”
If your school would like to upgrade or join ParentMail from another system and improve parent teacher communications, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch to get you started!
Malcolm Sargent Primary School have been very impressed with just how easy it’s been to set up parents’ evening, thanks to ‘Parents Evening Manager’.
Malcolm Sargent Primary School in Lincolnshire was one of the first schools to use our newest application, Parents’ Evening Manager, and both staff and parents were very impressed!
Previously, parents were expected to book parents evening by completing a form and sending it back into school, which was time consuming for all involved.
However, after sending out their first invitation through Parents Evening Manager, parent responses came in extremely quickly as they were able to book appointments online as soon as they were available. Since then, booking has become available on the ParentMail App so the school predicts parent responses will come in even quicker next time.
School Business Manager Liz Town told us,
“The thing that really stood out to me about Parents Evening Manager was how much time it saved us. Many teachers saved hours, which they would have spent juggling appointment times, dealing with the complications of those parents with more than one child in school and keeping on top of when their appointments were. With Parents’ Evening Manager, all the administration work was done for us!”
One of the benefits for teachers was that they could run off their appointment report and hang it on their classroom door, which gave both staff and parents clarity on their appointment times.
Liz commented that considering it was the first time the school had used an online system like this, she was extremely impressed with the whole process;
“I found the system extremely slick. We’re looking forward to using it again for our next Parents Evening, as now we know it inside out we’ll be able to do even more with it!”
The school are also using other applications from ParentMail, including Forms, Permissions and Surveys – which means both school and parents only need to log into one system to get all their school communications.
A very positive response from one of the first schools to use our newest application – if your school could benefit from an easy parents evening booking process, email email@example.com to book a free demonstration today!
St Nicholas Catholic Primary School in Devon has been extremely impressed with how well communication in school has improved.
With 95% of parents receiving messages via ParentMail, St Nicholas Catholic Primary School in Devon has been extremely impressed with how well our service has improved communication in school.
St Nicholas School upgraded from a previous ParentMail system, to the latest platform PMX, and told us that sending communications home to parents is now easier than ever; “It’s almost too easy, we have to stop ourselves from sending too much! We send bulletins, newsletters, events, holiday clubs – you name it, we send it through ParentMail!”
The thing that’s really stood out to this school, however, is how committed ParentMail is to improving, using feedback to make life even easier for schools and parents.
Ali Brocksom, PA to the head teacher told us, “There were a few minor things that we mentioned to ParentMail that we felt could improve – for example when sending messages, we wanted to send per family, rather than per student, as lots of parents were receiving the messages 2 or 3 times because of the number of children they had in school. ParentMail made the changes in their next system update and now it’s working exactly how we, and the parents, want it too!”
“I was so impressed that they took our feedback on board that I had to contact ParentMail and tell them what a great job they had done!”
Parents have also responded very positively to the ParentMail App, available on Android and iPhone – “It’s just another thing that makes picking up school messages easier for the parents. ParentMail just gets better and better for us!”
Ali also discussed the savings the school have made, with over 50 reams of paper saved per year, just from school communications going home through ParentMail; “It’s difficult to quantify just how much we’ve saved in terms of cost, paper and time, but we’ve certainly noticed a difference. The time we save we now use to improve the messages we’re sending home, so parents hear from us more regularly, which they’ve been very positive about.”
With improved communications reaching 95% of parents, an easy system to use and the drive to constantly improve the service, it seems ParentMail is ticking every box for this school: “ParentMail is so brilliant; it really has made life easier for us in school, and for our parents. We’re really happy with it”
If your school would like an easy to use, bespoke system that grows with you, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a free demonstration today.
With 100% of parents using ParentMail, Copthill are extremely proud of the way they communicate to parents.
ParentMail’s new mobile Apps have gone down a storm with parents at Copthill Independent Day School, and as a result the school is seeing a far better response from parents, and therefore better parental engagement than ever before.
With 100% of parents using ParentMail, Copthill are extremely proud of the way they communicate to parents, and with the free iOS and Android Apps it’s even easier for busy working parents to pick up school messages, complete forms and more.
One parent, Sharon Joyce, told us, “I downloaded the ParentMail App the day it came out, and have found I’m picking up school messages as soon as they’re sent. For me and my husband, who are both very busy during the day, we’re alerted wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, so we’re always aware of what’s going on and can respond straight away if we need to.”
The App has come at a perfect time for Copthill school, as they have recently started using the Forms, Permissions and Survey App. School Administrator Linda Flynn said, “We trialled the Forms, Permissions and Surveys module and we have had nothing but great feedback from the parents. We held a coffee morning recently and they were extremely positive, telling us completing forms has never been so easy.”
Going forward, Copthill is excited about using the Forms application even more, to gather permissions and surveys from parents, as well as booking school events and outings.
Linda told us, “Many of our parents are in full time work, so the use of ParentMail means we can reach them whenever we need to – far better than the days of sending home paper which would be left in bags for weeks. There’s no doubt it’s improved the amount of responses we now get back from parents”
With all parents registered to ParentMail, Copthill no longer send any paper communications out, and have certainly noticed a cost saving from doing so.
The school have found that the biggest benefit to ParentMail for them has been the ease of communicating to and hearing back from their busy parents – “We’re communicating more regularly, responses come back quicker, and both parents and staff are happy. We are extremely pleased with ParentMail and what it has done for the school.”
To improve communication and improve your parental engagement, book a free demo today by emailing email@example.com or leave a comment below.
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Quainton Primary School have found the perfect solution with ParentMail’s online Dinner Booking form.
With more children being offered free school meals from September, Quainton Primary School were worried about how they would manage to keep on top of all the extra work. Luckily, they have found the perfect solution with ParentMail’s online Dinner Booking form.
Having recently started with the Forms, Permissions and Surveys app, the school have found they have saved huge amounts of administrative time already. School Bursar Sarah Collier told us, “Previously we had to manually count meal choices on every form sent, which as you can imagine, was very time consuming. We were really nervous about going into the new academic year with a manual counting system, as this would have been so difficult to manage.”
Now that the school have the online dinner booking form, this will do all the administration for them, freeing up a lot of their time: “We’ve already saved over 3 hours a week with the online dinner booking form and this will be more from September when inevitably more children are eating school meals.”
Previously the school would send out a printed menu and a form every week for parents to complete, but now that parents can complete forms on the mobile phone or computer, they’ve seen an increase in responses: “Within an hour of sending out our latest form, 50% of parents had replied. We’ve really noticed an increase in the number of forms we’re getting back from parents now that they can complete them online, which means we don’t have to spend time chasing them for a response!”
With 98% of their parents using ParentMail, Quainton CE Primary has been very pleased with how quickly it has ‘become the norm’ and how much easier it is to communicate with parents now they no longer send paper letters.
Sarah explained that another problem they have had with paper forms in the past had been with school trips. She said, “We often struggled getting responses for school trips as they very rarely reached parents and remained stuck in school bags. Now we’ve cut out the middle man and can reach parents directly, we see replies coming in very quickly after we have sent them, which is because parents are completing them on their mobile phones.”
Parents from Quainton Primary are delighted with ParentMail, with one parent commenting that they now don’t have the worry of remembering where they put that letter or form, as it’s all online when they need it!
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Beckington First School are so pleased with the +Pay service that they would recommend it to any school!
With less than 100 students, you wouldn’t think that collecting dinner money and payment for trips would be much of a hassle, but Beckington First School are so pleased with the +Pay service that they would recommend it to any school!
School Administrator Ann House told us that the whole ParentMail service has been a huge benefit and they have been surprised by how much time it’s saved them and how it’s improved communication with parents.
However, it’s the +Pay service that has transformed the way this school collects and records money. Ann told us, “If I were to speak to a school that weren’t using +Pay, I would simply tell them how much time I’ve saved from using it. I no longer have the headache of recording the money that comes in, and it’s so much easier to chase those parents who’ve forgotten to pay, meaning we avoid getting into any school debt. The whole package of ParentMail is fantastic, but +Pay has really made my life easier.”
With nearly 100% of parents using ParentMail, Ann is able to send out newsletters, reminders and messages out with ease, as well as requesting dinner money and trip payments with just a few clicks of the mouse!
Ann told us, “We are only a small school, and previously we had trips going on alongside collecting dinner money, we could have £700 of cash and cheques coming in at once, which all had to be added up and taken to the bank. Now, this all happens automatically, and all I have to do is add in those who occasionally pay by cash. It’s saved us so much time.”
And it’s not just the school that are happy with the service, as Ann tells us many parents have commented on how they find it easier receiving messages on their phones or computers, rather than in a letter screwed up at the bottom of a bag. She’s also noticed that parents are far quicker at responding to things like school trips and paying their dinner money.
This is another happy school enjoying how easy it is to use ParentMail to communicate to parents and receive payments. If your school could benefit from improving communication and saving time on administration, simply leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Described as a traditional school by those who know it, Deepdene School has ‘modernised’ with the addition of ParentMail and with huge success as 100% of parents use it.
Described as a traditional school by those who know it, Deepdene School has modernised with the addition of ParentMail and with huge success as 100% of parents use it.
An independent school in East Sussex, Deepdene School has really pleased all of its parents by communicating to them in a way that’s easy for them – either on their phones or computers.
The school use the email and text messaging service for everything, sending on average 7/8 emails out a week – because it’s so easy to send these communications home, it means more messages can be sent, which results in the parents feeling more involved with what’s going on in school. These messages contain information about sports, events, kit list, after school clubs and newsletters, and have been a real positive for the school.
School secretary Alison Taylor told us, “We’re quite a traditional school, so for us to use this fairly modern technology to communicate with parents was, I suppose, a bit of a gamble. But the parents are over the moon with it. We’re communicating with them more than we ever did before and they can access it instantly – which is why we have 100% of the parents using it.”
Deepdene also has a nursery which forms part of the school, with ParentMail being rolled out there and many parents also reacting positively to it. Alison said, “Those parents who aren’t signed up yet are often the ones missing out on information, even though we still send them paper copies. The majority of those using ParentMail know what’s going on, and it’s especially helpful to be able to see who has opened the messages and when – so that if they say we didn’t tell them something, we can prove we did!”
Alison also told us that the amount of time and resources they’ve saved has really surprised them, and has been further evidence that signing up to ParentMail was a great decision for the school: “I absolutely love ParentMail and so do the parents, I would recommend it to anybody.”
To arrange a free demonstration of ParentMail in your school, simply visit http://www.parentmail.co.uk/free-demonstration/ or leave a comment below.
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Over 60% of parents responded to the first online questionnaire sent out by Halterworth Primary School…
Over 60% of parents responded to the first online questionnaire sent out by Halterworth Primary School using ParentMail’s new Forms, Permissions & Surveys App– a far better response than they had ever received to surveys before.
The school has been using the new App to send questionnaires to parents. The first questionnaire on parental requirements for holiday childcare received a 60% response – with paper copies, School Admin Officer Alison explained, they often received very low response rates.
Their next survey did even better. Alison told us, “Within 10 minutes of sending our second questionnaire on free school meals for infant children, I had 20 completed responses and it wasn’t long before 80% of parents had replied. We certainly wouldn’t have received any that quickly before, it simply wouldn’t have happened with paper copies!” Because parents can complete forms and surveys on their mobile phones, tablets or computers, it’s much easier for them to respond.
The information that Halterworth Primary School have received from the surveys has surprised them and has been incredibly useful. “For example, we asked parents their views on free school dinners for next year, assuming they would all be keen for this, but actually some weren’t.”
Parents have reacted well to the online questionnaires, and many have contacted the school to say it would be useful to also collect permissions for trips and other information needed by the school. “Our parents are extremely busy but also very supportive,” says Alison, “receiving forms and surveys online not only saves the school a lot of time but also the parents.”
The school certainly aim to use the app for its full potential and plan to use the dinner booking form for new Year R children in September, so they can collect meal selections from parents online, rather than sending paper forms home each week.
Alison told us, “We see so much potential with ParentMail that we’ve arranged onsite training here at the school. We know there’s a lot more it can do and we certainly have plans to get the most out of it!”
Currently, the school use ParentMail to send out messages every Friday, and now to send surveys and get feedback from parents. One plan for Halterworth Primary for the future is to use ParentMail to contact parents about some of the clubs and extra-curricular activities within the school – “We have many clubs at Halterworth and it’s very difficult to keep on top of all of them. At the moment we use ParentMail to let parents know about cancellations and time changes, but it would be great to use it for everything club related – advertising new clubs etc. It’s a big job but it’s certainly something we want to do in the future – using ParentMail will help and we know that parents would appreciate having all their messages in one place.“
With lots of future plans and some good feedback from Parents, it seems Halterworth Primary are benefiting greatly from their new apps. If you’re interested in finding out how our new Forms, Permissions and Surveys app could help your school, contact email@example.com or leave a comment below.
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“I think we will get a really good response from the parents as lots of them are already familiar with ParentMail through their children’s schools.”
Felpham Colts Football Club in West Sussex has been running for 42 years, and like many other clubs across the UK, has always communicated to parents through the managers of different teams.
However, Club Secretary Liz Conway, who receives ParentMail communications from her children’s school, recently had the bright idea of bringing ParentMail in for Felpham Football club so that she could be sure that all parents are up to date with information on the club.
Liz told us, “In the past if we wanted information to go out we emailed it to managers, for them to cascade it on to parents. The problem with this is some managers didn’t always pass the information on, and so we were left with many parents not knowing things they needed to know. With ParentMail, we will be able to send messages directly to parents, and we will know they’ve all got it.”
And Liz is very confident that this will be a positive move for the 300 parents of Felpham Colts Football club: “I think we will get a really good response from the parents as lots of them are already familiar with ParentMail through their children’s schools. They’re not aware yet that they’ll be receiving all future communication about the club through ParentMail as we’re going to send information with our registration forms this year so that they can sign up ready for the new season, but I’m very confident they’ll be pleased.”
We’re looking forward to catching up with Felpham Colts Football Club over the next year to see how they’re getting on with ParentMail, and of course, to make sure they’re scoring lots of goals!
Could your school or club benefit from ParentMail? For a free demo, simply visit http://www.parentmail.co.uk/free-demonstration/ or leave a comment below.
With 95% of parents paying via +Pay either online or from their mobile, they have reduced their dinner money debt substantially.
The school previously used another online payments service which proved problematic for them. Now with 95% of parents paying via +Pay either online or from their mobile, they have reduced their dinner money debt substantially and the amount of cash and cheques held in school, saving time and money in the process.
Business Manager Lesley Whitehead tells us; “Moving to ParentMail +Pay has been fantastic for us. Parents were very unhappy with our previous payments system and many refused to use it. Now we have 95% of parents paying online who love ParentMail and wouldn’t want to use anything else.”
Lesley explained that one of the main problems with their previous online payment service was parents found it complicated and confusing, and many continued to pay by cash or cheque. This all needed to be manually added to parent accounts, which was something they didn’t have time to do. Parents were left unsure whether money had been added to their account, what their balance was or if it was running out. With ParentMail +Pay this information is available to them instantly and automatically.
Lesley also told us that dinner money payment reminders are much easier for the school now they’ve switched to +Pay. “Previously I had to print a paper reminder for each parent, and at the end of the week I would often find these reminders left in the cloakrooms. Even if they did make it home, I am certain that the majority would remain unseen in the bottom of a bag.” With +Pay, the school can set a minimum balance on their account, and parents are automatically reminded to top up their dinner money.
The school use +Pay for dinner money, trip payments, in school events, donations and have found that it has been particularly helpful for their breakfast and after school clubs.
Parents have given lots of positive feedback to the school; “One of the main positives we’ve had from parents about ParentMail is that they get their messages instantly – whether that’s on their mobile, tablet or computer. If something comes in at 3.30pm, when the children have gone home, the parents are reading it by 3.45pm, whereas in the past they would have had to wait till the next day, or until their child decided to get it from their bag!”
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St Paulinus were staggered when 85% replied to an online form they sent using ParentMail’s Forms Application.
St Paulinus RC Primary School had been used to just a few per cent of parents replying to questions and surveys they sent out, and were staggered when 85% quickly replied to an online form they sent using ParentMail’s Forms, Permissions and Surveys App.
With nearly 90% of their parents using ParentMail, St Paulinus RC Primary School were keen to begin using the Forms, Permissions and Surveys app as soon as possible.
“We sent 23 forms out through ParentMail and got 20 responses overnight.”
The first form that Lynne Green, Business Manager for the school, sent was to find out how many parents were interested in a school trip. In the past, Lynne told us, this could be quite a slow process as receiving the forms back into school could take some time, and on one occasion there were no responses at all. But, with the online forms app, Lynne received 60% of responses overnight – meaning she could book the trip the next day. Parents can complete forms on their computers, tablets or mobile phones, so it’s easy for them to respond.
The next form Lynne sent was an experiment – it wasn’t imperative for parents to respond, so they were very interested to see what would happen. The form was about a ‘treat trip’ for year 6 pupils, and because parents don’t tend to check the school bags of older children they would normally have had a very poor response to this. However of the 23 forms sent out to the year 6 class, 20 responses came back overnight. Lynne said, “This would never have happened with paper copies. Parents don’t tend to look through the bags of the older students; it’s the child’s responsibility to give letters to their parents and often we find this doesn’t happen. Because the online form goes straight to the parents, and parents can complete forms on their mobiles, nearly all of them responded. It’s been extremely helpful.”
With this latest app from ParentMail proving such a success in the school, Head Teacher Mr Geaves has declared that he is “completely on board” and is encouraging all staff members to use and understand ParentMail so that they can help parents with any questions or queries should they need to.
Future plans for the school are to take on the Parents Evening Manager App – which Lynne believes will be a huge success throughout the school, “It’s going to be extremely helpful, not only in saving so much time in school but also for the parents, who won’t need to hunt through bags for forms and slips, but will receive it all through ParentMail. We can’t wait to use it.”
Another great success story for ParentMail! If your school could benefit from any of our apps, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free demo or for further information.
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We spoke with St Marie’s school secretary to discover how they have got an impressive 98% parent uptake on ParentMail.
St Marie’s School in Sheffield has an impressive 98% parent uptake on ParentMail.
We spoke to school secretary Anne Wallace to find out why their parents are so keen to be on board.
Anne explained that the school had to get creative to catch the attention of parents initially! “Though at first we contacted parents to let them know about ParentMail in the conventional way (on plain white paper) we soon realised they were getting ignored – how many other bits of paper like this do people receive every day? So, we got creative! Soon our plain white letters became more colourful and eventually, we were sending out bright red letters to really catch their eye!”
The text service is something that Anne and the rest of the school have particularly found beneficial – “ParentMail is absolutely fantastic, especially the text service. It’s so helpful to be able to contact parents instantly. For example, if something happens during the day we can simply text that parent straight away and let them know what has happened.
But it’s not just the text service that St Marie’s have found helpful – they’ve found that by using both email and text they’ve had a much better response, and that their parents are far more engaged: “Parents find that it is easier hearing from us as and when things happen,” Says Anne “and that means they’re more likely to read the information we’re sending them or respond if they need to!”
Anne explained another positive to ParentMail is being able to ‘group’ parents by class, club or transport. “If, for example, something was to happen to one of the school buses, we can select that group of parents and let them know what has happened straight away – giving them enough time to arrange different transport should they need to.”
With such a high uptake of parents, both school and parents are really seeing the benefits of ParentMail and communication for the school is at an all-time high. When asked if ParentMail has been a positive addition for the school, Ann said; “ParentMail has saved us a lot of time and has certainly improved the communication at St Marie’s. We’ve had a lot of nice comments from the parents.”
Want to know more about how ParentMail can benefit your school? Simply get in touch today by emailing email@example.com or call us on 01733 595959.
Swavesey Village College improved communications using ParentMail and was given an all-round ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report in Spring 2011.
Swavesey Village College in Cambridgeshire made a strategic decision to move to electronic communications to improve communications with its parents. The school adopted ParentMail and has continually developed and updated its use of the service to strengthen parental engagement, and was rewarded for its efforts with an all-round ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report in Spring 2013.
The strive for excellence:
Swavesey Village College, catering for over 1200 pupils aged between 11 and 16, has an uncompromising commitment to ensure that ‘every child achieves’. Staff believe this must lead to a ‘100 per cent’ philosophy, where close focus is paid to ensure that each individual student and their family is recognised and supported to achieve their full potential.
In its 2008 Ofsted inspection, Swavesey was rated as a good school with outstanding features. Yet with a desire to meet the 100 per cent philosophy, Stuart Gent, assistant principal, was charged with continuing to drive parental engagement. Stuart comments: “We were not content to rest on our laurels. Although it was already proven that we provide a good education for our students, it was important to focus and fulfil the needs of each individual, and this meant a need to develop an even stronger channel of communication with every family.”
We have had a particularly positive response from parents who are separated or divorced, because both can register on ParentMail and receive communications from us and both can be equally informed and aware of what is happening at the school.
With ParentMail a now established system, parents are very used to checking for emails. Alongside using it to promote events, post notices and reminders about revision sessions, inform of closures or cancellations, and send out general school news, two years ago Swavesey began to investigate a new use for the system, providing explanatory information for school reports. Stuart explains: “From discussion with our parents we discovered that often they did not understand what the numbers and grades on reports actually meant. To rectify this, we now send out a message saying initially that the report is in the school bag, followed by another explaining the report as clearly as possible. The recent move, with each termly report, house tutors email each parent personally after the report has been sent out, to provide further detailed individual explanations and feedback. We have found this to be a great success.”
The school continues to evaluate and update its use of ParentMail to maximise on the potential. Stuart comments: “We have learnt ways to make it as effective as possible. When some parents couldn’t access Microsoft Word we began sending attachments in PDF, and we now include in hyperlinks in messages that take them directly to information on the school website, removing the need to have to search for it.
Considering the needs of others:
The desire to make the home/school relationship as effective as possible meant it was important to remember that communication is two sided; staff wanted to make sure that the system worked equally well for the parents. Stuart explains “We have live parent focus groups to discuss issues including parental communication, to establish what parents really want from it. This allowed us to uncover their preferences for communication, and alter our strategies and messages accordingly.”. The 2013 Ofsted inspection celebrated this approach, commenting: “There is absolutely no complacency, with even successful practices being invigorated through review and further innovation. For example, engagement with parents and carers is already very strong, but the school is conducting a comprehensive review of home/school communication using a panel of staff, parents and carers.”
The outcome of the 2013 Ofsted inspection of Swavesey Village College found it to be an outstanding school in every respect, with a dedication to meeting the needs of every student. Parental communication was highlighted in particular, as “parents and carers like the excellent channels of communication.” Stuart concludes: “ParentMail is an integral part of our communication between home and school. There is no doubt it has contributed greatly to the success of Swavesey Village College.”