ParentPay

Avocet Multi Academy Trust

Time to read: 2min 20 Jul 2018

ParentPay case study

Phase: Multi-Academy Trust

Region: Suffolk

Objectives

  • Offer parents an easier method of paying.

Solution

  • Cashless collection with settlement to a shared central bank account with cross-school online sign on and reporting.

Outcome

  • Improved efficiencies across all schools in our Trust. Increased meal uptake. Convenient for parents to pay.

Why the Trust decided to go cashless

More and more schools across the UK are joining Multi Academy Trusts. Schools are seeing the benefits of working closely together towards a shared goal. Many MATs have the shared processes and systems to gain efficiencies.

This is the case for the Avocet Multi Academy Trust. Zoe Stewart, the Trust Finance Officer explains why they made the move to online payments:

“Security was one of the main factors for us, holding cash on the premises and banking meant our processes were not as secure as we would have liked them to be. This, along with the opportunity to improve the overall effectiveness of administration time amongst staff helped our decision.”

There were also other reasons the trust decided online payments would be better suited to them:

“Parents are happier with this option because their child is spending money where intended; they have 24-hour access to their online account and can book school meals or pay for trips whenever they like, it’s convenient for them.”

How the Trust selected a provider

Zoe explains:

“When choosing a provider, it is important to explore options. We compared 3 providers and found ParentPay excelled on the options available to our parents. Their system was the only one to offer us a full tablet and mobile responsive option; it also offers cash payments via PayPoint for families unable to access online banking. We needed to ensure that all our parents are able to pay for their child’s requirements quickly and easily. ParentPay was the perfect option for parents.”

How have you encouraged parents?

There are different ways to encourage and support parents with the change, Zoe outlines how the Avocet MAT encouraged their parents:

“We have supported parents across the trust by placing an iPad in the reception area of the schools, encouraging any parents requiring help/without online access, to come to the school and log-in with our help. These have remained in place and we are happy to support at all times. The parents understand it is in everyone’s interest.”

Benefits for the Trust since going cashless

There are a number of benefits to schools in going cashless. Zoe says:

“Payments via ParentPay are settled directly to our bank account, and with the reconciliation reports available the whole process is much more efficient for us. It’s also easy for parents when booking lunches and trips online.

As a trust, benefits include more efficient and effective use of admin time across all schools. The cloud based system has proved invaluable for managers to access individual school information through ParentPay from any location, which is important as the trust grows.”

Lessons to share with other schools

Zoe outlines:

“As with anything, change can be met with resistance. However, once we recognised the major savings for the academy, we knew it would be a huge benefit to everyone. Parents had a terms notice, we provided instructions in our weekly newsletters, and of course were always happy to offer our assistance via the school office”.

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