Digital parent engagement in the next normal: Driving connections and connectivity across school communities

We recently surveyed over 400 UK schools and MATs to investigate the impact of lockdown on integral communications and operations.  It appears schools across the country have seized the opportunity to progress their digital strategies – and to great success!  Every …

Transition from primary secondary school

The transition from primary to secondary school: Our top tips for schools

Lockdown has been tough on us all, but none more so than for children. For some, September brings the all-important transition from year six to year seven, a scary step at the best of times. Following months of closures, for …

The future is digital: Education after lockdown

On 18th March 2020, classrooms for up to eight million pupils closed across the UK as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools are now amid a phased return; while classrooms still look the same, school life does not.  Closures have caused a great amount of upheaval for communities. However, not …

Our top three reasons to go cashless with +Pay

If your school is seeking a versatile, streamlined and cost-efficient way of managing parent payments,  +Pay is the solution for you. Still unsure? Here are the top three reasons schools across the country are talking about +Pay.  Every payment, every day  Lunch money, school trips, …

Sell more, do less with an online school shop and +Pay

Pens, pencils, uniform and backpacks; items that support student learning and strengthen your school brand. All of these items are available to buy from your school shop, but do you sell as much as you would like?  With +Pay, you can make all …

Durrington MAT utilise tech to support teaching and learning during closures

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 …

Cashless canteens: What’s on the menu for schools?

What kind of experience are you serving up at lunchtime? The trials and tribulations of cash on school grounds are well known. Cash in the canteen, however, results in a huge number of issues, many of which you may not have considered. The benefits of online payments are being realised by …

Thank you, schools! 🌈

While ‘Clap for our carers’ provides an opportunity to show our appreciation for those working on the front line, we’re keen to shine a light on the widely unsung heroes supporting young people every day; here’s to the school staff continuing to keep things ‘normal’ in these most unusual times!  While there has …

Managing stress during COVID-19: Mental wellness for students, parents and school staff

We’re in the midst of an unprecedented health pandemic. There’s no denying, it’s all a little bit stressful. The UK is entering the second phase of a national lockdown and schools are set to be closed for the foreseeable future.  Just as the scarce British sunshine starts to …

What do parents really think of ParentMail?

Over six thousand schools use ParentMail solutions to stay in touch with their parent communities. That means over three million parents utilise ParentMail to engage in their children’s education, every day.  Providing parents with a positive user experience of our platform is vital; otherwise, …

What parents want from schools during closures

School closures see us all adapting to change; students are adjusting to their home/school environment, parents are accommodating lesson plans in their new-found role as teachers and staff are adapting to teaching from a distance, sometimes from empty classrooms and often from home.  These are strange and surreal times. In all cases, we’re feeling a little uncertain. Parents struggling to balance work and …

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 …

Keep calm and carry on: communications, closures and COVID-19

In light of the UK’s escalating response to COVID-19, organisations across the country are putting plans in place to keep business operating as usual.  In the face of closures, however, shutting up shop to work from home isn’t straight forward …

Top tips for improving parent registration

To truly feel all the benefits of top-notch parent engagement, first, you need to have all your parents registered – a task easier said than done, in some cases.  If you’re struggling to get more than 90% of parents registered …

Climate action

Eco and green or wasteful and mean: a lesson in environmental matters for schools

It’s Veganuary, the annual vegan-awareness month growing ever more popular with each passing year. For a rising number of young people, opting for a plant-based diet is an eco-friendly lifestyle choice, comparable to choosing a reusable coffee cup or water bottle. In fact, according …

To send or not to send – SMS vs in-app messaging

Do you know your in-app notifications from your text alerts?   Engaging with parents is getting easier; running a survey or collecting permissions? Use Online Forms. Planning parents’ evening and gathering appointments? Turn to your event management platform. Sharing the school newsletter? Look no …

Looking back – a review of 2019

2020 is here, marking the close of another decade. For ParentMail, it promises to be an exciting year – we are fast approaching our 20th birthday! But, before we plough ahead with the coming 12 months, there is much to look back on and celebrate from …

Three reasons for ParentMail customers to attend IRIS World 2020

We at ParentMail are really excited to be taking part in IRIS World 2020! Set to take place on 11th February 2020 at the ICC Birmingham, IRIS World has fast become known as a fantastic opportunity for leaders across the sector to gather under …

Top tips from ParentMail super users

We asked schools to share their top tips, best practice and advice for using the ParentMail platform to its full potential. Now, we’re excited to share your feedback with the ParentMail community!  Here are our top five favourite suggestions for making the most of ParentMail to save time …

Top tips from the +Pay experts

+Pay is a terrific tool for the festive season! Here are some of our top tips for making the most of +Pay for the busy period ahead: Creating a performance/event To create a Performance, navigate to Payments > Create New …

Back to the classroom with ParentMail training

Our School Support Team are masters of all things ParentMail, offering up expertise and knowledge to support schools every day.   While they’re always on hand via Live Chat when schools run into trouble, did you know, you can also arrange for a ParentMail professional …

Tackling text messages – are you still sending them?

We’ve seen the trends of parent communications change over the years. From the death of the paper newsletter (good riddance!) to the dawn of text messages and email, schools have taken advantage of every opportunity to avoid the frustrations of …

Top tips for introducing reliable online payments

Efficiency, security, reliability… just a few of the wonderful things online payments promise to deliver.  However, many schools are being short-changed by their provider. Establishing a cashless culture that works for everyone (from staff in the school office to busy …

Food for thought – planning breakfast clubs

Today, a huge 85% of schools run breakfast clubs, setting students up for a day of learning and offering a lifeline for busy parents.  Beyond the well-known benefits of a good breakfast, research suggests that these clubs have a much deeper positive …

“How was your day?” Encouraging after-school chat

If I had a pound for every time I asked my children how their day was, and they replied, “Fine”, I’d be a very rich woman! It got me thinking about better ways to get kids to open up.  Some …

Making the most of parents’ evenings

Parent teacher evenings are a wonderful opportunity for parents to get involved with their child’s education. Usually held twice a year, autumn term meetings serve as a good opportunity to build strong and productive relationships with teachers, with spring meetings …

ParentMail set to help organisations look forward with certainty at IRIS World

IRIS Software Group is today launching IRIS World and IRIS Customer Awards 2020. Set to take place on Tuesday 11th February at The ICC Birmingham, school leaders will hear about the latest advances in EdTech from industry-leading teams, including experts from ParentMail.  …

What do parents think of parents’ evening?

While school staff spend hours collecting data and information in preparation for parents’ evenings, we don’t often take the time to ask parents for their feelings on this important event. Gathering feedback may prove an impossible task for your busy …

What’s in a brand?

From the brains of two parents waiting at the school gates, to the offices of thousands of schools and multi-academy trusts across the country – ParentMail has been on a long journey over the past 20 years.  When we first …

5 reasons to try Parents’ Evening Manager

How long does it take your team to plan parents’ evening? If you’re setting aside hours to manage bookings and relying on pupil post for appointments, it’s time to plan now for a stress-free parents’ evening – and we have …

Let’s hear it for the parent volunteers

Another school year is over. As tired-out teachers make the most of some well-deserved down-time, there’s another group of hard-working individuals, dedicated to the successful running of their school, also in need of some rest and relaxation. That’s right, we’re …

Drama-free dinner times

Breakfast is still widely considered to be the most important meal of the day, setting children up for a day of learning and fun. Today, a rising number of health-conscious schools and parents are keen to ensure children receive a …

School’s (almost) out for summer

There are just a few weeks left before schools break up for summer (pause for cheers and applause). As classrooms wind down in anticipation of a well-deserved break, teachers seek out activities to do with classes which feel that little …

Langstone Junior School save over £9000 with ParentMail

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 …

Wraparound care – the saviour for modern-day parents?

Ah, the school run. No matter how early it starts or how well it’s planned, somehow, it ends with a mad rush out the door. After school, the clock is still against us. The average nine-to-five day and long hours …

Parental engagement as a force for good – tackling school exclusions

With the subject of off-rolling raising concerns across the country, Education Secretary, Damien Hinds, recently called on school leaders to reduce exclusions. While protocol states that exclusion should only ever be a last resort, the number of permanent and fixed …

Summer roll-up made easy

As the summer term comes to a close, school staff are busy saying goodbye to their 2019 leavers and preparing for new starters. Summer events, exam season and the usual end-of-year wrap up makes the last few weeks in the …

Parent payments made easy with PayPal

It’s been more than three years since we began our partnership with world-wide payments provider, PayPal. To this day, it remains a match made in heaven! Since launch, we’re proud to have enabled millions of parents to pay for school …

Why back-office EdTech training is as important as teacher training

Until recently, whiteboards were blank canvases written on in dry-wipe marker. Now, they have several thousand times more computing power than the Apollo mission that first put man on the moon. This shift in consumer and education technology has happened …

The future of school payments is NOW

Stop by a cash point today and you’re likely to be confronted with a message informing you, ‘this machine charges for cash withdrawals’. The accompanying price tag can range from a minimum of 95p to an eye-watering £5; today’s high …

Meet the brains behind our school App

In today’s tech-savvy world, many of us rarely go a day without relying on handy Apps to chat with friends and family, post on social media, check our bank balance or transfer money, book a taxi and carry out all …

How important is parents’ evening?

A new study published in the European Economic Review (volume 111) has revealed the real impact of parent-teacher meetings. Asad Islam reported on a randomised experiment in rural Bangladeshi schools, communities which usually see little engagement between parents and educators. …

Saving your teachers from endless email onslaught and white bears

Parents are invested in their children’s education, and they’re going to ask teachers questions. That’s something that can’t and shouldn’t be avoided. However, when teachers are flooded by emails and messages from enthusiastic parents, this can lead to unhealthy out-of-work …

Picture this! Our EdTech school-leader infographic

We recently conducted a survey to investigate current trends, attitudes and behaviours in school communications technology and parental engagement. Over 450 school leaders from primary, secondary schools and academies across the country took part to share their thoughts and feedback …

Five reasons to go cashless

If your school is seeking a faster, more reliable method of collecting payments, a commitment to cashless is the solution for you. Still unsure? Here are the top five reasons why thousands of UK schools are choosing online platforms for …

Technology beyond the classroom: ParentMail and the DfE EdTech strategy

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, took to the stage at the London Schools and Academies Show earlier this month to reveal details of a new strategy for education technology. The Department’s continued focus on the vital role of technology in schools …

School leaders talk school communications! Part 2

We recently posted part one of our findings from our survey, which investigated current trends, attitudes and behaviours in school communications technology and parental engagement. Below we continue to share our findings with you so that you can see how …

Communications at the click of a button

In this day and age, a reliable, compatible mobile App is fast becoming a ‘need to have’ rather than just a ‘nice to have’ for primary and secondary schools! With technology reducing our reliance on paper and pupil post, thousands of …

A journey to school trip success

So, you’re planning the next school trip. Teachers have confirmed the destination and now it’s up to your capable and highly organised office team to manage all the details, from staff to students to parents. When done right, school trips …

What role does technology play in the school office? Part 1

We recently conducted a survey to investigate current trends, attitudes and behaviours in school communications technology and parental engagement. We received a great response, with over 450 schools taking part and telling us about their school communications. As leaders in …

Are we becoming tired of the text?

It’s strange to think that, only 10 years ago, we still relied on the occasional paper newsletter to communicate with parents. Today, there are numerous methods of sharing important news and information with mums and dads; for schools, new technology …

Staff retention and school reputation

When parents and schools have a strong relationship, teachers experience the positive effects in the classroom and are empowered to support their students.

You’ve got homework: Communicating with parents

A hot topic amongst parents and teachers is homework. It can often be a divisive issue, especially if there is a lot coming home but little communication about it sent to parents. Across social media, many parents often complain about the …

Parents’ Evening directors, we salute you

Snowed under with the daily tasks of keeping a busy school running, you know better than we do how hard it can be squeezing in plans for Parents’ Evening. But where some teams are chasing down appointment slips, printing out …

Ed-technically superior software

Education Secretary, Damien Hinds, has challenged school leaders to take advantage of modern technology in and outside of the classroom to reduce teacher’s responsibilities. Acknowledging workload as a common reason for teachers leaving the profession, Mr Hinds stated that innovative …

App-solutely brilliant – our mobile app has been updated!

The free ParentMail mobile App is used by over 2.5 million parents to stay in touch with schools every day, from the comfort of home, at work or while out and about! Over the years, it’s been through some major …

cashless

Easy, dependable dinner payments with +Pay

A number of schools have recently hit the headlines as outraged parents complain their children have gone without a hot meal due to a lack of credit on their cashless dinner accounts. In Wales, school councils have argued in defence, …

Breaking down parental engagement barriers with EdTech

For many families, the prospect of crossing the school threshold is a terrifying one. Though many schools may spend a lot of time and energy on events or activities for parents, the reality is that every school has those “hard …

St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School enjoy paperless Parents’ Evening

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 …

Introducing our new and improved School Help Site

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new School Help Site, now live and ready to answer any questions you may have about using ParentMail! The new site includes lots of improvements which make finding guidance and instructions easier …

A look back at the year just gone…

As we welcome in the New Year, we’re taking the opportunity to look back over the year just gone, our biggest and best year yet! 2018 saw us welcome hundreds of new primary, secondary schools, nurseries and Academies to the …

Less paper, less waste, less expense

Tighter budgets see a call for efficiency and an ‘all hands-on-deck’ approach to searching out cost-cutting opportunities. In the hunt for financial savings, however, it’s important to remember that, often, it’s the small changes that deliver big results. It is …

WhatsApp – Pros, cons and managing it for your school

In this video, Sue Atkins – parenting expert and ex-Headteacher – gives her views on how parental engagement software can keep communication between school and parent clear, whilst keeping all data safe.

The benefits of breakfast clubs – ParentMail’s top picks!

Last month, Children and Families Minister, Nadhim Zahawi announced that thousands more children across the country were receiving a healthy and nutritious breakfast at school breakfast clubs. In part, this is thanks to a government-funded programme worth nearly £26 million. …

The challenges of organising Parents’ Evening

School is now in full swing, and so the next big milestone is Parents’ Evening and organising it successfully is no mean feat!

Top tips for parental engagement success!

It’s the start of a new school year, meaning there’s a lot of information to send out and share with parents. How you decide you will be communicating with the pupil’s families is a matter of preference. Traditionally, letters were …

Parental engagement – a strategy for success

We talk about the importance of parental engagement a lot. The term has become a ‘buzzword’ in our offices and in schools across the country. When ParentMail first came into being over 15 years ago, parental engagement was the priority, …

What’s up with WhatsApp?

Last month a Mumsnet thread hit the headlines when a post referring to the different types of mum found in ‘every’ school WhatsApp group struck a chord with parents across the country. Ranging from ‘the wind-up merchant’ to ‘the informer’ …