Under the government’s ‘conditional plan’, the country is slowly coming out of lockdown. While stringent measures remain in place, the education sector is leading the way with a phased return for select year groups and secondary schools throughout June. Leadership …
Under the government’s ‘conditional plan’, the country is slowly coming out of lockdown. While stringent measures remain in place, the education sector is leading the way with a phased return for select year groups and secondary schools throughout June.
Leadership teams are proactively powering on in the face of adversity to support their students. We caught up with IT Director at Durrington MAT, Alex Robbins, to hear how the trust has dealt with closures and what the team is doing to prepare for the future.
Business as usual
“In these strange and surreal circumstances, as a trust, we are actually close to business as usual for our students. A small number of staff are working onsite on a rota basis to oversee key worker students and students with specific educational requirements. We have a very interactive system in place, with teachers delivering lessons online using Zoom and Google Classroom; we’ve set our usual school-day schedule up so students and teachers are learning and teaching as usual – just remotely!”
“During closures, we’ve had approximately 25 students on site. We moved our primary school provision to a pavilion within the grounds of our high school, freeing up space to support social distancing measures. We have utilised our IT suites across our sites, so we have a small number of students working, positioned two metres apart.”
Digital and operations
“Many aspects of our digital strategy have changed as a result of closures. For example, we currently support an onsite telephone system, so have been working to migrate key pastoral staff over to a cloud system, enabling staff to answer calls off-site.”
“Our IT team has taken advantage of an empty school to get ahead of the game; we’ve brought many projects forward and carried out software updates across sites. In the long term, this means that our systems will be ready to support a greater volume of digital learning when students are phased back.”
“The lockdown has certainly progressed our digital strategy, particularly around remote working and learning. I believe our reliance on digital resources will continue to grow, even when classroom learning is back to normal. The vast majority of our staff are currently working remotely, meaning they’re accessing vital data online in order to do their jobs, be that student, administration or finance.”
Engagement and safeguarding
“Staying in touch with families has been a top priority of ours. We’ve used ParentMail very regularly throughout lockdown. Staff can access the platform from home and send targeted emails to year groups and classes.”
“Our pastoral staff team have been responsible for engaging with families; we phone every single parent once a week, just to check in and make sure they’re okay. For us, communication with students was important; we have a brilliant community and the way we’ve pulled together to ensure business as usual has been fantastic.”
“We know how important a flexible approach to remote learning is to student development. We’re still educating and progressing student outcomes which speaks wonders for our remote digital strategy. Previous barriers to remote learning didn’t enable us to do this, but we’ve adapted our processes and invested where necessary and the students are benefitting as a result.”
“Closures have given us a great understanding as to how the digital strategy could work as the trust grows. Similarly to businesses and organisations in the private sector, I think in my team, at least, we’ve rapidly developed our practices to ensure we don’t need to be based at our desks. Looking forward, this is the level of flexibility we want.”
Recommended For You
Nearly two months into lockdown and the UK remains uncertain of what the future will bring. In schools, staff continue to support children of keyworkers and families at large. Now, many school leaders are planning ahead to ease the transition into our …
Nearly two months into lockdown and the UK remains uncertain of what the future will bring. In schools, staff continue to support children of keyworkers and families at large. Now, many school leaders are planning ahead to ease the transition into our new ‘normal’ when the government allows.
Langstone Junior Academy in Portsmouth is one such primary school going above and beyond for their community. We caught up with Administrator, Lorraine Reeves, to find out how their team has been getting on in the face of closures.
Plan of action
“It’s been challenging. We’re a tightknit community and not seeing the children is difficult. We’ve had, on average, 15 children of keyworkers in school over the past few weeks and next week we expect this to increase. We’re also facilitating home-learning. ParentMail has been vital every step of the way throughout lockdown; we wouldn’t be without it.”
“I request the attendance requirements from our keyworkers for their children on a three-weekly basis, compiling the school registers for each day, including bank holidays. We are, of course, still required to follow safeguarding procedures and ParentMail has supported us with this. The email scheduling assistant enables me to plan communications ahead which is also very helpful.”
“We had a week’s notice that we were going into lockdown, at which point we immediately launched our action plan. I set up every year group leader as a user on ParentMail, enabling them to stay in touch with their relevant families, along with sending out learning resources every Monday for the week ahead. We know how difficult life must be for parents at the moment and we want to provide as much support as we can.”
“We also shared staff email addresses and I include my email address on every communication sent through ParentMail. Staying engaged has never been more important and we encourage parents to stay in touch with us, too.”
“There’s no pressure on any of our parents or children; we emphasise that we are there for them and that learning is there to be actioned, if our parents can engage their child. We’re living in challenging times and we do not want the wellbeing of our children to be impacted by unnecessary pressure.”
“We also use Facebook to bridge the gap with our parent community. On Facebook, we share photos and messages; it’s another channel of communication and we hope that it acts as an extra reminder that we’re still here for them.”
“Some parents do not use Facebook, but we don’t let them slip through the net. I have a group on ParentMail dedicated to non-users of this social media platform. Now more than ever, it’s important that no parent misses out.”
“100% of our parents are signed up to ParentMail and this has proven incredibly beneficial during closures. Before the start of a new school year, we get all our new parents registered. For those who may be a little wary of technology, we provide hands-on help; I invite parents into the school office and get them set up with their accounts and the ParentMail app. It may be a little hard work at the time, but in the long run, it pays off. Every single parent is receiving the information they need from us through ParentMail at the moment, from general communications and news to learning resources.”
“Recently, we ran a survey to gather feedback on how parents feel we’re doing under lockdown. ParentMail is fantastic for surveys; it’s easy for parents to respond online and the results are easily reported on.”
Going above and beyond
“These are unprecedented times but ParentMail has proven to be an intrinsic tool for our school community. The government’s free school meals voucher system was announced last month. I identified those parents who have never applied for free school meals. In this current climate, where more families are potentially struggling, some parents are not even aware that they could be entitled to this benefit. I created a new group on the system and shared the information on how to apply with the Local Authority online application link – information that they may not have otherwise been aware of. As a result, a number of parents have successfully claimed vouchers to support them during this financially difficult period. For targeted communications to share time-sensitive information, ParentMail has been invaluable.”
“This year to date, thanks to ParentMail, we have saved nearly £9,000 in staff time, paper and print related costs. However, throughout the pandemic, the benefits of a reliable, flexible parent engagement system have gone far beyond the financial savings. There is absolutely no way we could have provided all this information to our parents in paper form.”
“Schools across the country have been dealing with closures in different ways; every leadership team has found their own solutions, sought out ideas and powered on as best they can. It’s all about sharing ideas; every school wants the best for their children and while the future is still a little unclear, we need to pull together to do what we can to support them. I’ve spoken to staff at other schools and extolled the virtues of ParentMail. We wouldn’t be without it.”
If your school is looking to strengthen your parent engagement both during lockdown and beyond, we can help. Get in touch for a free no obligation demo.
Recommended For You
Teaching through crisis: how Stukeley Meadows Primary School are keeping things ‘normal’ during Covid-19
Whatever sector you work in, Covid-19 has brought with it a series of challenges and worries, and for many of us, staying at home is now the safest thing to do. For some, however, going into work is not an …
Whatever sector you work in, Covid-19 has brought with it a series of challenges and worries, and for many of us, staying at home is now the safest thing to do. For some, however, going into work is not an option. For schools remaining open to provide a safe environment for key workers’ children, it’s an incredibly strange time.
We spoke to James Singleterry, head teacher at Stukeley Meadows Primary School, to find out their plans for the next few weeks and how they’re providing support to children both in and out of school.
‘We’re trying to keep things as normal as we can’
“It’s certainly an anxious time for the children at our school, their parents and of course our staff, many of whom are still coming into school as normal. Last week (w/b Monday 23rd March) we opened the school for key workers’ children and we had, on average, 15 children in each day. It’s very hard to try and keep things ‘normal’ for those children and also for those at home, but we think it’s important that we try, and so we’ve been working incredibly hard to support those parents with how they can structure their day.”
“We’re very aware that many of our parents are trying to work from home and look after their children, so our job at the moment is to try and help with that. We’re also very aware that just like us, parents are being struck with hundreds of different bits of software and advice for how they should be home-schooling, which must be incredibly overwhelming for them. We want to make that a bit easier, so we’re using the technology we already have to regularly keep in touch, offer them resources, and ultimately be there for them when they need us. For many of our parents, these are going to be a tough few weeks, so if we can help make that just a bit easier, then we’ve done our job.”
Stukeley Meadows Primary has around 420 students from reception through to Year 6, and each teacher in the school has a dedicated Twitter account to regularly keep in touch with their class and parents. They also have an incredibly active YouTube account where head teacher James is uploading a daily assembly to keep some normality for the children. They also use ParentMail to send home useful documents to support remote learning and to keep in regular contact with parents with any updates on the school.
Making time for learning and for play
“It’s a really confusing time for children at the moment, so we’re trying to ensure there is time for learning but also time for play.”
“We like to do things in sixes at Stukeley, so we’re setting six tasks each day which all the children can access whether they are in school or at home. Children can do as many as they want to (or are told to be their families!) That consists of reading, writing, maths, attending assembly (done over video), completing a challenge and then some subject work (geography, history, music and so on.) If you take a look at our Twitter pages, you’ll see how engaged the students are – and their parents! For us, having an almost empty school feels very odd… logging on and talking to our students through technology is the next best thing.”
“Week one is done and yes it was a bit strange having less children in, but our job is about overcoming whatever is thrown our way; we’re here to do the unthinkable whatever that may be and we’ll keep going for as long as we can. It was a great first week; staff who are able to come in are up for it, smiles all round and making sure the children are having fun and learning.”
“Our long-term plan is to be able to offer remote learning for as long as we can. We’re here to offer whole-school solidarity and community support in a time when people need it most.”
Top tips for schools from head teacher Mr Singleterry
- Try and keep some normality for your students at home, whether that’s sending home materials they can work from, videoing a daily assembly or even just sending home a letter/tweet from their teachers when you can.
- Use technology – social media, YouTube, communication software has been vital during this time, we can reach parents instantly through their mobile app and will continue to do so. We can also send documents through ParentMail, so activity sheets or daily updates can be received every morning by parents.
- Stay positive, keep smiling, remember the children in your school are having to come in whilst their friends are at home and their parents are at work. Let them forget, if you can, what’s going on in the world for just a few hours of the day.
Hear it from the man himself!
On Wednesday 29th April at 2PM, Mr Singleterry is delivering a free webinar tackling the complications of managing education under the new ‘normal’. Mr Singleterry will share best practice on parent engagement, tried and tested techniques on facilitating home-learning and advice on how to support schools and parents. Register your place now!
If you’d like to discuss parental engagement software and how we can help, simply click here and we’ll give you a call.
And finally, a huge thank you to all the incredible teaching staff across the country who are continuing to work through these uncertain times – you are hugely appreciated.
Recommended For You
Award-winning nursery, Oakfield Nursery School in Altrincham, place great emphasis on staying in touch with their parent community. With a focus on streamlining communications and simplifying payments, the team decided to go cashless and paperless with online parent engagement and have taken back hours of …
Award-winning nursery, Oakfield Nursery School in Altrincham, place great emphasis on staying in touch with their parent community. With a focus on streamlining communications and simplifying payments, the team decided to go cashless and paperless with online parent engagement and have taken back hours of precious time with a little help from ParentMail.
Now collecting parent payments online with +Pay, the team are saving lots of time every week on time-consuming admin tasks. Items such as deposits, extra days, trips and other ad hoc items are now purchased online with +Pay. With a dedicated mobile app, parents pay quickly and easily with debit, credit card or PayPal; as a result, nursery staff have noticed a much speedier response from parents!
“We no longer have to spend hours matching receipts up to invoices or make trips to the bank,” says Oakfield Nursery School Bursar, Roz Swarbrick. “+Pay also generates all invoices for us, which used to be another time-consuming manual process. Overdue invoices are made clear in the system and +Pay makes it quick and easy to forward them onto the relevant parents as a friendly reminder of payments due.”
Oakfield Nursery School is also making the most of +Pay’s online shop facility to sell uniforms. With orders placed through the app, there’s no need for paper forms or cash. Parents simply place an order, pay online in moments and collect items during the morning drop-off.
“For us, online payments offer security in more ways than one.” Says Roz. “Payments are received in advance, straight into our chosen bank account, which means there’s no need to chase parents for overdue payments. We also have no cash on-site, or trips to the bank. All in all, online payments have improved security for us in lots of ways.”
Like many busy nurseries, the team at Oakfield often have plenty of news and information to share with parents. As well as going completely cashless, the nursery has also made the move to paperless communications with Online Forms and Messaging.
“Parents use the same mobile app to manage payments and stay up to date with communications from our team.” Says Oakfield Nursery School Director, Roisin Moriarty. “We use the platform to share guidance and instructions on applying for Early Years Funding; it’s a very efficient way for us to support parents. We used to print paper letters to send this information home. For parents, online communications are far more convenient.”
“We also use the Online Forms platform to securely collect and manage parent data. By going paperless and taking our parent engagement online, we’re not only saving precious hours but also saving money on staff time and resource, too.”
For Oakfield Nursery School, payments and parent engagement are effort-free and painless. If your nursery could use a hand to reduce time-consuming admin and take the cash out of payments, get in touch; we’d love to show you around!
With a busy September behind us, we caught up with Langstone Junior Academy to find out how they’ve got on enrolling new parents and welcoming back returning ones this year. Back in July, we spoke with Administrator, Lorraine Reeves, who reported the …
With a busy September behind us, we caught up with Langstone Junior Academy to find out how they’ve got on enrolling new parents and welcoming back returning ones this year.
Back in July, we spoke with Administrator, Lorraine Reeves, who reported the school had saved a huge £9000 during academic year 2018/19, with a helping hand from ParentMail.
“We’ve found that if you make time at the start of term to support parents with ParentMail, it pays dividends in the future,” says Lorraine. “In fact, we’re in the habit now of speaking with all new parents in advance of September to encourage them to register before their child actually starts at school. That way, we hit the ground running at the beginning of term, with all parents receiving important information immediately.”
A little over a month into the new academic year and the school already has 100% of parents registered and nearly 90% using the ParentMail app to stay on top of important school news.
“The vast majority of parents are more than happy to use ParentMail to engage with us. Modern-day, busy parents see the benefits of receiving school information via an app; they love how user-friendly and reliable it is, and they’re never without their mobile phones.”
“But, for the few who are a little more tech-adverse, we don’t let them slip through the net! Some parents need a helping hand or persuasion to give it a go. I invite those parents into the office, where I explain the benefits of ParentMail face to face, run through how to use the app and get them signed up there and then. Sometimes, I’ll download the app and do the registration process for them. By the time they leave, they know how to navigate the app and how to read messages – which is great for them, but also handy for us in the office, too.”
With parents’ evening just around the corner, Lorraine has another trick up her sleeve for persuading the last lingering few into using the ParentMail app.
“I explain, we use Parents’ Evening Manager when it comes to managing parents’ meetings and appointments, and they’ll find it far easier to book a meeting of their choice if they use the app. So, install it now before we send out invitations, and you’ll benefit in just a few short weeks!”
“The reports provided on the platform are very useful; we monitor open rates and can clearly see those who haven’t clicked on school messages.”
“While we use ParentMail regularly in the office, teachers also really benefit from the system in the classroom. We’re proud to be a completely paperless school and, at this time of the year, when there’s so much to share with parents, an online system is far superior to print and paper. Teachers don’t need to waste valuable time chasing parents for responses or handing out endless paper letters at the end of the school day.”
Langstone Junior Academy receives a gold star for their parent uptake efforts this year and are enjoying all the benefits as a result, with the financial savings quickly adding up. Now, with parents’ evening approaching, the team are looking forward to a smooth and organised event.
“Parents’ evening is simple with Parents’ Evening Manager. We have no worries when it comes to making plans for the night. It’s so easy to set up. Teachers are organised, parents are prepared – it’s easy!”
Find out how ParentMail can support your school with huge time and cost savings this year. Get in touch to speak to the team!
Recommended For You
Streamlined payments and fantastic training leads to hours saved at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School
St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School have used ParentMail for several years and rely on it as an all-in-one communication tool. Recently, they also added +Pay, our integrated payments solution and have saved hours each week as a result! They initially …
St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School have used ParentMail for several years and rely on it as an all-in-one communication tool. Recently, they also added +Pay, our integrated payments solution and have saved hours each week as a result!
They initially chose to use ParentMail to improve their school-home communication and reduce their paper use, but now see the extra benefits of time-saving and better processes for parents.
Staff at St Patrick’s School took part in +Pay training during their initial setup, with a member of the ParentMail team coming into school to talk them through the system and how they could get the most from it. We spoke to Sarah Taylor, Office Manager about her experience.
“We had on-site training for three office staff. This really helped us hit the ground running with +Pay. Moving to an online payments system has noticeably saved us the time spent doing manual jobs! Our trainer, Leon Warner-Bradshaw, made sure we were really confident setting up payment items and running off reports. He also helped us get more out of the ParentMail system.”
“ +Pay training, in particular, has reduced the time counting, collating and banking. Managing the money for trips and events can be very time-consuming, but ParentMail has streamlined everything!”
Thanks to their on-site training, office staff at St Patrick’s have maximised the value they get out of +Pay. This has had a knock-on effect, giving them more time to focus on the pressing issues that really matter to them.
What do parents say about +Pay?
St Patrick’s have been using the system for over a month now, and so far have had a lot of positive feedback.
“Parents have found it very useful. Some have initially been nervous about paying online, but for those now using it, they say it’s a far easier system than cash and paper copies. ParentMail makes everybody’s lives easier.”
Would you recommend ParentMail training to another school?
“Absolutely – I would recommend ParentMail training without hesitation. Everything flows better in the office because it saves us time and parents have an easier way to receive important school messages and make payments!”
Our on-site trainers offer a half or full-day session packed full of ParentMail tips, tricks and insight, and can help you get the most value out of your software.
If you’re looking to free up office time by streamlining your processes, or if you’d like to know more about booking training for your school, get in touch today by calling us on 01733 595959 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The team at Langstone Junior School are self-confessed ParentMail ambassadors, having saved over £9,000 this academic year! Langstone Juniors are a busy school with an even busier office team, with more than 330 students. Thanks to the help of ParentMail’s …
The team at Langstone Junior School are self-confessed ParentMail ambassadors, having saved over £9,000 this academic year!
Langstone Juniors are a busy school with an even busier office team, with more than 330 students. Thanks to the help of ParentMail’s Messaging and Parents’ Evening Manager solutions, the school are excelling at all things parental engagement and reaping the rewards as a result.
“As a team, we wanted to make the most of ParentMail and everything it had to offer. I started from the beginning with the platform and learned everything there is to know to make it work for our school. Today, we wouldn’t be without it!” says Lorraine Reeves, Administrator.
“The results speak for themselves. This academic year alone, after staff time, paper and print, we’ve saved over £9,000. Before ParentMail we relied on photocopying and paper for our parent communications which was very expensive and inefficient. Schools can’t rely on children to pass along school newsletters and forms, and we can’t always rely on busy mums and dads to respond. ParentMail has made a huge difference to our parental engagement.”
“100% of parents are signed up to ParentMail which means that we can be confident that every single parent is receiving the important news and information they need. What’s more, nearly 90% of parents are using the free mobile App. We encourage parents to use the App at every opportunity. It makes staying in touch with the school so convenient for them – whether they’re at home or work, no one is without their mobile phone these days!”
“The reporting system is incredibly helpful. On occasion, parents may claim not to have been told about certain things. When this happens, we can simply check our report to see whether they received a particular message and even whether they opened it. When it comes to sending out parents’ evening invites, we have easy access to data which tells us how many parents have booked appointments and who is yet to respond to the invitation. I can then send out reminder messages to prompt parents into booking.”
“Parents’ Evening Manager is a huge time saver. The amount of time we’ve saved and the support we’re able to give to teachers now is fantastic; it’s no longer their responsibility to chase students and parents to book appointments. Instead, it’s down to parents to book. We send out a message in advance to let them know when appointments will be available and then watch bookings come in – it’s so easy!”
“There are so many ways to save time with ParentMail. The templates are very helpful. ParentMail has a selection of default templates ready to go but we’ve also built our own, and everything can be branded with our school letterhead. We run a variety of after-school clubs and arrange lots of trips and events; we have groups set up for all of these things, enabling us to share the appropriate information with the right parents – all of these handy tools save our team time, every day.”
“We don’t often need help with ParentMail but on the rare occasions that we do, we can rely on Live Chat. The Support team are very professional and friendly and any issues are resolved very quickly. Phone support is also really helpful. I’m always very impressed with the Support team when I contact them.”
“We’ve just signed up for four more years with ParentMail. Their flexible subscriptions are too good to miss and I wouldn’t be without the system today. Any schools looking into ParentMail as a solution to save time, engage with parents and save money, I would say yes, without a doubt – ParentMail is for you!”
If saving time and money are at the top of your agenda from September, get in touch now to book a free demo with ParentMail.
Recommended For You
The team at Toddle In Private Day Nursery have enjoyed a huge improvement in their parental engagement with the help of ParentMail. With over 100 children in their care and as many busy parents, Toddle In’s communications were floundering. “Before …
The team at Toddle In Private Day Nursery have enjoyed a huge improvement in their parental engagement with the help of ParentMail.
With over 100 children in their care and as many busy parents, Toddle In’s communications were floundering.
“Before ParentMail, our monthly newsletter was a real chore.” Says Karli Booth, Nursery Manager. “Often, we’d have a load of copies left over which hadn’t been collected and, for those parents who did take them home, we knew they weren’t reading it; parents would complain that they’d missed information or hadn’t been told about things. It was clear that a paper newsletter wasn’t the right way of sharing information. It took hours to write and print and the print costs were also high. In the end, we stopped using them altogether.”
Busy mums and dads are rarely without their mobile phones. When it came to sharing important information and news, online messaging was the clear choice.
“It’s been just a few months since we launched ParentMail. We already have more than 90% of parents signed up and over 60% are using the free mobile App. The reporting system even tells us who has read messages and who hasn’t. We have a very small number of parents for whom English is a second language; these parents prefer a paper copy and ParentMail makes it really easy to print out paper versions. Nobody misses out on news and information anymore.”
“We used to use text messaging for urgent information, but we always struggled with the character limit. With ParentMail, we can share as much information as we need to. As Nursery Manager, I also receive a lot of information for external services. For example, as summer approaches, I recently received an email regarding school readiness. In the past, I would print the attachments out and stick them up on the notice board, but they’d often be forgotten or ignored. Now, I can forward the relevant information to parents with PDF attachments.”
“I also love the scheduling assistant. I include details of upcoming events in the monthly newsletter, but it’s helpful to remind parents a few days before. For graduation and photograph day, I recently scheduled a couple of text message reminders in the run up to the event. I don’t have to remember to text parents in time any more, which used to be really tricky when I was busy with so many other things. Instead, I can get all my communications prepared well in advance and get on with the day job, knowing everything is sorted.”
“For staff, we don’t have to spend time chasing parents or tracking down responses to forms. In the past, if we ever needed parents to complete a form or provide feedback, for example, we’d print out over 100 forms and hand write names on all of them. It was time-consuming and expensive. Now we can attach the form to an email and track the responses as they’re returned. Parents have the option to print it out and return by hand, if that’s what they prefer.”
“The platform itself is easy to navigate and straight-forward. My Deputy-Manager also uses the basics and we both find it helpful and user-friendly. There have been no complaints from parents, either. In fact, our parental engagement has really improved, which is important for the children in our care, so we’re very happy.”
“We’re always busy and ParentMail is supporting us to save time every day. I’d recommend ParentMail to any nursery looking to save time, reduce print and paper costs and stay in touch with parents!”
Are you looking to upgrade your nursery communications? Then get in touch! Our flexible system offers a range of cost-effective solutions guaranteed to save your busy team time and money.
Recommended For You
St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School are proving the benefits of fantastic parental engagement with the help of ParentMail’s full suite of applications! “We use it all day, every day.” Says PA to Headteacher, Elaine Warren. “We decided as a …
St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School are proving the benefits of fantastic parental engagement with the help of ParentMail’s full suite of applications!
“We use it all day, every day.” Says PA to Headteacher, Elaine Warren. “We decided as a team that if we were going to introduce ParentMail in the school office, we were going to utilise all of the solutions available to support our parent communications. We’re definitely feeling the benefits now!”
Easy parents’ evening management!
For their busy team, Parents’ Evening Manager stands out as a favourite. “When you add up all the hours we’d usually spend arranging timetables and managing parent responses, we’ve easily saved a day’s work planning parents’ evening. Previously, we planned the event with paper appointment slips. As and when slips were returned to the office, we’d have to set aside hours to manage appointments. With ParentMail, the whole process is paperless. We also used to spend a lot of time chasing missing forms, so the reminders are very helpful for prompting parents yet to respond.”
Keeping in touch with parents
For day to day parent communications, the school are saving money by utilising messaging and email over text; “We save text messages for the few parents we know who prefer that method, so we know our communications reach all parents and no one is missed out. With ParentMail messaging, we aren’t limited to the number of characters we can use and parents receive messages instantly.”
“Most of our parents are using the free parent App to manage school communications. Parents are never far away from their phones, so the App is great for ensuring parents receive important information quickly and reliably. With summer just around the corner, we’re encouraging new parents to register their accounts and install the App before children start in September.”
“We have groups set up to manage communications by class and year group, and we send a variety of information to parents; newsletters, fliers for the PTA, surveys and questionnaires… We recently used it as a voting system to elect new parent governors – it’s a great way of improving parent communication.”
Easy form collection
“When it comes to forms, I love that we don’t have to produce our own reports; ParentMail does it all for us. We save templates for communications we’ll use again in the future, and can make any amends we need to. We run a variety of after-school clubs, trips and extra-curricular activities. Collecting parent permissions is very convenient with ParentMail. I can see the responses coming in and can send reminders if I need to. It’s a great time saver.”
“We’re really pleased with +Pay. We’re practically cashless as almost all parents pay for school items with +Pay. Our bursar is really pleased with the payment reports; they clearly tell us everything we need to know, making it easy to stay on top of finances.”
“Live Chat is helpful and the training was great. We’ve learned everything else as we go along! Even the staff members who were a little wary of taking on an online system have been won over by ParentMail. We’d recommend the platform to any school considering it – it’s such a flexible system and can do so much for schools.”
Join St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School in upgrading your parent communications strategy with ParentMail’s premium suite.
Recommended For You
The eight-school Multi Academy Company set out on a mission to go cashless to reduce school debt and support parents with easy online payments!
It’s not just staff at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Coventry who are feeling the benefits of +Pay; parents are thrilled to be making easy, cashless payments, too! Part of Romero Catholic Academy, the eight-school Multi Academy Company set out on a mission to go cashless to reduce school debt and support parents with easy online payments and are thrilled with the results.
“Before +Pay, we struggled with dinner money debt,” says Lisa Harding, Office Manager at Sacred Heart. “When they were in arrears, we would remind parents to send children with a packed lunch, but pupils would still turn up without and we would always provide a meal for them.”
“The school is responsible for dinner money debt, at the end of the day, and it was only increasing. We had a lot of foot-fall in the school office, too, with parents queuing out the door waiting to pay, particularly at the end of term. Dealing with cash payments and parents could take up hours of staff time every day, time that we could ill-afford! Admin tasks were stressful and time-consuming. Numbers were often wrong in the kitchen, resulting in waste – cashless really was the only way forward!”
Working with parents
“We were already using ParentMail for home/school communications, so we were excited to try +Pay,” says Marie Taggart, School Administrator. “With parents already using the ParentMail App to manage Parents’ Evening, messaging and Online Forms, most parents were pleased to be able to manage payments through the App, too.”
School staff worked very hard to support parents during the introduction of +Pay: “We communicated with parents, providing information, answers and guidance early on; we focused on sharing the benefits of the system with them and the uptake was great! We had an iPad set up to provide support in the school office. A small number were understandably wary of a new payments platform and some had concerns around security. However, the system is so flexible, we could work with these parents and provide barcodes, so all payments still went through ParentMail.”
Reaping the rewards
“Now the system is fully embedded in school, the benefits have been numerous.” Says Lisa. “With students preselecting their dinner choices, the kitchen can plan ahead, reducing waste and related costs. We don’t spend hours every day processing, counting or chasing parents for cash. It has hugely improved our productivity in the office. For parents, low balance reminders are really helpful. They can top up in the ParentMail App on the go and at a moment’s notice.”
“We were really pleased with the training and onboarding process. The ParentMail Support Team are always happy to help and our Account Manager has supported us every step of the way. It’s been great being able to support and rely on other schools in our Academy too. When we need help from ParentMail, Live Chat is very helpful – practically any queries are solved very quickly.
“We measure the success of +Pay by parent uptake and feedback, which has been fantastic. What’s more, when we log into the system every day, we can see how much money we are saving. We delivered the support parents needed at the beginning and are reaping the rewards now!”
“+Pay is a lot safer than banking lots of cash and we now have very few cash collections across all of our schools. The platform is reliable and secure and the implementation has been plain sailing – we would never go back. Would we recommend +Pay to other schools? Absolutely! It may seem like a big change and appear be a huge challenge initially, but don’t be put off; going cashless with ParentMail is absolutely worth it and parents love it, too!”
Join Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School and thousands of schools across the country enjoying the endless benefits of +Pay! Get in touch to find out more and to book a free a demo
Recommended For You
When it comes to planning Parents’ Evening, staff at St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School were used to all the usual stresses and strains; piles of paper cluttering the school office, lost or missing appointment slips, chasing up parent …
When it comes to planning Parents’ Evening, staff at St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School were used to all the usual stresses and strains; piles of paper cluttering the school office, lost or missing appointment slips, chasing up parent responses – the list goes on!
With 250 students, the school office would typically send home two letters per student in the run-up to parents’ evening – that’s 500 sheets of paper for one event! In their mission to go paperless this year, the school turned to Parents’ Evening Manager to take the paper out of parents’ evening.
“Like all schools, we’d try and give parents plenty of time to book appointments,” says Admin Support, Bethany Schofield. “We’d send out a form asking parents to pick an hour that that would suit them for their appointments, before trying to put together a schedule that suited everyone. There was a lot of back and forth between parents, staff and teachers. We’re a busy school and our parents are busy people; we wanted a system that would save us all time, whilst reducing our reliance on paper.”
A teacher at the school recently used Parents’ Evening Manager to book an appointment for their own child and realised the huge potential for St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School.
“When I looked into the system, I realised it offered all the flexibility we needed and would make the process easier for everyone involved – so we decided to give it a go! Setting up the evening was really easy. We prefer to keep the slots short and were able to pre-set the appointment lengths and block out times for particular teachers if needed. We particularly like how quick and easy it is to print out lists of appointments so that we can see at a glance how the evening is looking.”
“Parents love being able to book slots to fit around their busy schedules. We haven’t had any negative feedback and bookings came in really quickly! Recently, I was talking to a parent on the phone and she asked me to stay on the line while she booked her appointment, expecting it to be a tricky process – but she booked a slot in seconds, without any help from me!”
“In the office, we’re trying to go digital as much as possible; we know that online processes make things easier, faster and cheaper. We’re no longer sending home paper letters and use a cashless dinner payments system. The response from parents has been very positive. I would definitely recommend Parents’ Evening Manager to other schools. It’s a simple, smooth, time-saving process for staff and parents. We’re looking forward to using it for our next Parents’ Evening already!”
Get in touch today to find out more about Parents’ Evening Manager or to book a free online demo.
Recommended For You
Staff at Abbey Catholic Primary School have been on a campaign to register parents to ParentMail and their efforts have received a fantastic response, with 99% of parents using ParentMail to stay up to date on school communications and payments, every day!
Since September, Abbey Catholic Primary School have been on a campaign to register parents to ParentMail and their efforts have received a fantastic response!
As ParentMail Co-ordinator, Deputy Headteacher, Joe McTernan, has worked closely with the staff team to make the most of their complete ParentMail package to improve parental engagement.
In a recent survey, 87% of our customers agreed that the key to the success of a new communications system is strong parent uptake. Since the launch of ParentMail a few months ago, Abbey Catholic Primary School saw parent registration increase slowly; following a campaign to get all parents registered, today 99% of parents are signed up and 80% are using the App!
The school is committed to adopting a paperless environment and ParentMail has been key to achieving this. They now send out all newsletters, competition and club communications via ParentMail, making it very important for parents to register. Although ‘playground chatter’ has been key, the team made the most of a recent parents’ evening to help parents make the most of the ParentMail App.
“We had our first parents’ evening since the introduction of ParentMail and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to answer any questions parents had about using their accounts.” Says Deputy Headteacher, Joe. “So, I was coronated with the title of ‘ParentMail King’ for the evening, complete with paper crown! I was on hand to answer questions and have a chat. Most parents who stopped by to ask questions just needed some support to get used to using their account. I mainly dealt with teething problems, but I also sat with two of the three families yet to register with ParentMail and helped them to set up their accounts there and then! It was a great idea and a huge success.”
The primary school also have a great social media presence and tweeted about their ‘ParentMail king’ during the evening to let parents know that support was available if they needed it – another brilliant way of sharing news and improving parental engagement!
“Although we’re at the end of our ParentMail roll-up now, we’ve worked hard to get to this point and made it a priority since September to get parents registered on the system.” Says Joe. “We have played hardball with a few parents who weren’t signing up. For example, we chose not to send paper copies of communications home with students. Instead, we sent a message to parents to let them know that there was a letter in the school office for them to collect. This worked really well, as our office staff took the opportunity to encourage parents to download the App and many families registered with ParentMail as a result. It’s far more convenient for them – sometimes people just need that extra push to give something new a go!”
Parents at Abbey Catholic Primary School can now manage communications with ease and stay up to date with school news, events, competitions and payments, which supports school staff as a result! In particular, organising PE and after-school clubs has been far smoother and easier for everyone involved, with all parents responding to forms and event information quickly and efficiently online. And, should parents ever have a question about using their account, they know help is at hand at the school!
Deputy Headteacher and ‘ParentMail King’, Joe McTernan, ready to answer questions and give advice on parents’ evening!
Recommended For You
“We needed a more robust, reliable system; looking into alternatives, ParentMail stood out for its suite of applications.”
Casterton College in Rutland is in the top 100 schools of the UK. With a growing student population, the academy places great emphasis on not only academic achievement but the care and support of every student throughout their school journey.
As such, the staff team recognise the importance of parental engagement. With the introduction of ParentMail at the start of the new school year, staff are pleased to have a huge 92% of families already signed up and using ParentMail to manage school communications and payments. They are also thrilled with the valuable time and cost savings the system is helping the team to achieve!
Until this year, the school had been using an alternative online payments solution which, five years after its introduction, was unable to deliver the extra demands and functionality required to support the school. With the aim of being completely cashless, the team found that the service offered to parents was quite poor in terms of functionality; there was no parent application or payment reminders available and the website was difficult to use from a mobile device, causing a bad experience for parents trying to top up dinner money.
Parents also needed to pay extra to receive automated low dinner money reminders. In the office, staff also found the service hard to use. What should have made daily tasks easier actually caused more issues. The reports were unclear, resulting in staff investing extra time reformatting data. Overall, the school required a more professional service for both internal use and parents.
Director of Finance, Tina Green, was a great supporter of ParentMail before it was introduced to the school office. She has been using ParentMail as a parent to manage school communications for a number of years and knows firsthand the benefits ParentMail can have for parents, students and schools.
“We needed a more robust, reliable system; looking into alternatives, ParentMail stood out for its suite of applications. We use +Pay, Online Forms, Email and messaging; utilising multiple systems from one provider has resulted in great cost savings. We’re a small and very busy team so managing payments and parent communications through one system is incredibly efficient. We want to be a paperless, cashless school and ParentMail enables us to achieve this.”
“We are thrilled with the amount of time we’re saving on a daily basis and we’ve only been using the system for a few months. We can already see how ParentMail will support us over the next year. Almost all the parents are paying for school dinners with +Pay; we’ve set up payments for locker rentals, trips and revision guides, and all have been a huge success. Setting up payment items is user-friendly and fast; parents receive an alert when a payment is due and payments come through quickly as a result, meaning we don’t have to chase students for overdue payments. We particularly like the payment reports we receive; they’re clear, reliable and easy to analyse.”
“This year we welcomed a large year seven group to the school. Many parents were already using ParentMail from primary school so onboarding them to our ParentMail system was straight-forward for both staff and parents. And for those parents new to the system, the SIMS auto-link made it quick and easy! The system was set up before the start of term, so parents were able to purchase items in advance of their child’s first day. We were used to a manual onboarding system before ParentMail and it took days – with ParentMail, it was easy!”
“Feedback from parents has been great. Once they’re registered, they’re pleased with how easy it is to perform all the tasks required from them; from topping up dinner money, purchasing study guides to filling in and returning forms, parent communications have never been stronger.”
If you’re a school looking for a way to simplify and streamline your communications or introduce Online Payments, 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Recommended For You
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Recommended For You
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01733 595959.
Recommended For You
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 email@example.com
Recommended For You
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended For You
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 email@example.com
Recommended For You
“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
Recommended For You
“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.
Recommended For You
“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
Recommended For You
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
Recommended For You
We are excited to announce that we are joining forces with PayPal, the faster, safer way to pay online, on mobile phones and in-store.
We are excited to announce that we are joining forces with PayPal, the faster, safer way to pay online, on mobile phones and in-store.
As the first school online payments system in the UK to integrate PayPal into its platform, we will open up new payment options to our 4.5 million registered parents. This will enable parents to pay for school items, like dinner money or trips, more quickly and easily than using credit or debit cards.
Digital payments are now common place in everyday life; increasingly schools are recognising this change and providing it as an option to parents rather than cash or cheque. The seamless integration of PayPal as a payments option through ParentMail’s +Pay facility minimises the steps involved and offers increased security by removing the need to provide credit or debit card information.
Martin Temple, our payments director here at ParentMail, says: “Meeting the changing needs of parents and schools is at the heart of everything we do, so we are thrilled to be the first provider in the education sector to offer PayPal integration. We recognise that digital payments are increasingly popular in society, yet acknowledge that there can be concerns with the security of providing sensitive data online. By working with PayPal to provide a secure, streamlined option for making vital school payments, we hope to make the process easier and more successful for both parents, and consequently, schools.”
Mark Brant, PayPal UK, comments: “We are excited to work with ParentMail to provide parents with a more secure, convenient way to pay for school items. Parents are busier than ever, and PayPal is well placed to save them time by making it easier and faster to pay for school trips, school dinners and many other aspects of school life.”
For more information on online payments through ParentMail, leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Recommended For You
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeing is Believing! Take a look for yourself at our online payments video HERE
Recommended For You
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 email@example.com and we’ll book you in for a free demonstration!
Seeing is Believing! Take 5 and watch our online forms video HERE
Recommended For You
We’ve been looking at some of the great feedback we’ve been receiving from parents to find out how the App helps them.
With the ParentMail App now in the top 15 utilities in Apple’s App store, ahead of some very well-known brands such as Eon, BT mobile, My TalkTalk and many others, we’ve been looking at some of the great feedback we’ve been receiving from parents to find out how it helps them.
Here are some of the comments parents have been leaving in the App stores:
“I downloaded the App this week as I have two children at different schools that have ParentMail. What a difference it has made as I now have all my comms from both schools in one feed. It’s so good I have just downloaded it for my wife too! Thank you ParentMail for making my life easier.”
“Nice simple little App but such a great, effective way of accessing important school information.”
“Fantastic! Absolutely love this App, get the alerts to messages each time one comes through. So glad they finally made an App for ParentMail.”
“Speaking as a parent and a teacher I have seen the benefits from both sides. As a parent it is much easier to plan and be informed as the lost letters and forgotten formsare a thing of the past! As a teacher it’s great as those last minute consent forms or urgent messages are far easier to correspond. Would definitely recommend from both sides of the fence!”
We love hearing how valuable you find our App and our developers continue to work hard to improve the functionality to make it the most effective way for parents to pick up school communications on the go.
With our App, parents can:
- Read important school messages instantly, wherever they are in the world.
- Complete school forms on the go – which means improved responses for schools.
- Make payments, top up dinner money and receive reminders for money due.
- Report absences with just a few simple clicks.
- Mark attendance at school meetings and events.
- Book parents’ evening appointments with no fuss, paperwork or hassle!
In our latest survey, we were extremely pleased to hear that 90% of schools actively encourage parents to download the App – because they know it’s the most effective way for parents to read and respond to school communications and that it saves them money!
Parents can download the ParentMail App today free from charge from the Apple or Android store. Simply search ParentMail to download and begin using it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or click here to book a free demonstration.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Recommended For You
With over 400,000 parents now receiving messages from their school through the App, parents are reading and responding to school messages, forms and invitations quicker than ever before.
We’re so pleased with the positive feedback we’ve received from both schools and parents about the ParentMail App. With over 400,000 parents now receiving messages from their school through the App, parents are reading and responding quicker than ever before.
With the App, parents can:
- Receive school messages instantly – perfect for busy parents.
- See all school communications on one easy feed – so they don’t get buried in a busy email inbox.
- Complete forms, permissions and surveys wherever they are in the world – improving school responses.
- Make online payments or top up dinner money – or receive reminders and alerts.
- Book parents’ evening appointments instantly – making the process quick and easy and giving parents the appointments they want.
- Let schools know if they, or their children, will be attending school meetings or events – which helps keep busy parents organised.
- Report absences – simple and easy for all involved.
- Receive in app notifications – saving schools money and ensuring parents never miss a school message again!
And so much more!
Take a look below at some of the great feedback we’ve had from parents about the App…
If you’d like to reach parents instantly or simply want to know more about the benefits of the ParentMail App, get in touch with us today on 01733 595959 or email email@example.com
Or click here to book a free demonstration of ParentMail and see just how impressive our school to parent communication software is!
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!
Recommended For You
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.
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 email@example.com
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 https://www.parentmail.co.uk/free-demonstration/ or leave a comment below.
Recommended For You
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
Recommended For You
“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 https://www.parentmail.co.uk/free-demonstration/ or leave a comment below.