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 demonstrates their recognition of the pressures increasing across the sector. Speaking of the variety of educational institutions across our country, Damian Hinds acknowledged such versatility as one of the education system’s ‘greatest strengths’. From local authority-maintained schools to faith schools and grammars, “all make an invaluable contribution to their communities and to young people.”
However, today, UK schools of all shapes and sizes face a range of unique challenges. While the Secretary spoke of the power of the MAT model (directly referencing the recent successes of a few, evidenced by improvements in Ofsted results) all schools continue to struggle under the weight of increasing student populations, budget cuts and poor staff retention. As such, the Education Secretary’s speech quickly progressed from praising school leaders for their successes, to discussing how the government intend to support these same leaders in tackling challenges on the front-line.
As other sectors continue to embrace the benefits of technology, schools often struggle in making the most of EdTech to truly support their staff and student populations. In fact, as stated by the Secretary, some school leaders refer to instances in which technology served only to cause more complications than the product promised to confront. Rather than be deterred, Mr Hinds spoke of the importance of not being ‘left behind’, stating, “(..) we owe it to all our young people to grasp the technology nettle.”
While technology plays a truly impressive role in the classroom, transforming learning experiences and inspiring young minds, EdTech is seeping beyond the classroom walls with tailor-made solutions for the office team. There are a number of areas of improvement for which technology can play a vital role in school administration. In his speech, the Secretary discussed behaviour management, referring to the number of valuable hours invested in tricky, manual processes, from information collection, data input to parent communications.
Fortunately, technology is streamlining processes and supporting staff like never before. For example, while workload remains a primary reason for the revolving door of teachers abandoning the profession at an unprecedented rate, online tools seek to lift the burden of parent communications from teacher’s shoulders. At ParentMail, our technology is designed and developed with the unique needs of schools in mind. And, as schools consider the challenges awaiting them in the future, we look for ways to support you in meeting these head-on.
Administration, parental engagement, workforce flexibility – just a few of the areas acknowledged by Damian Hinds in which our technology is serving to support thousands of schools across the country. Digital communications platforms such as our Online Forms, Messaging and Parents’ Evening Manager modules are bridging the home/school gap and supporting school staff with huge time and cost savings.
It is hard to believe that, only a few years ago, we still relied on pupil post to keep parents up to date with the latest school news. Our online platform and free parent App not only encourage parents to actively engage with their child’s education but serves to improve efficiency in the school office, reduce paper, print and postage costs, as well as improving data security. With thousands of schools realising the benefits of paperless and cashless processes, our online payments platform, +Pay, is paving the way for simple, parent-friendly payments for dinner money, school trips, club fees and more.
We realise the importance of unified, consolidated systems, enabling office staff to manage everything from day-to-day communications to school trips to payments from just one platform, reducing supplier costs and improving security. Social inclusivity remains at the heart of our technology, enabling schools to engage with hard to reach, busy parents at a time, and in a way, that suits them. When systems are simplified in school, so, too, are processes easier for parents. Our mobile App enables mums and dads to manage communications for multiple children, across different schools, from just one account, improving responses when it matters most.
Rather than ‘grasping the technology nettle’, we support schools to embrace pain-free and powerful EdTech to support staff, students and parents. To find out how ParentMail can help your school to streamline processes and protect the school budget whilst improving parental engagement, get in touch today.