With the pandemic’s lockdown restrictions playing a big part in kindling a new focus on using technology to improve efficiencies in UK schools, the education technology (EdTech) sector has enjoyed a 71.5% growth in the past few years.
With schools realising the lasting benefits that many online EdTech solutions can bring, you may be in the same boat as many other schools who have invested in a great product for their school and its parents, only to find it a struggle to actively involve parents and enable them to effectively get the most out of your new tech.
In a recent study, we listened to the experiences of over 3,000 school staff to help foster a deeper understanding of the current challenges and priorities facing UK schools.
We found that 27% of surveyed schools see parent uptake and usage to be the biggest barrier to successfully adopting EdTech solutions, such as cashless and parental engagement software like ParentPay and Schoolcomms, in their school.
As such an integral piece of the puzzle, it’s vital to be able to successfully encourage parental involvement in education through embracing your new processes.
But while many parents will jump at the opportunity to take on new software to improve the school experience for their children, what more could your school be doing to effectively promote your new EdTech solutions to encourage that final cohort of parents who are not yet convinced?
It can be a slow process, but it’s essential to be able to communicate how your new software will benefit parents and their children, and deliver this message in places where your parents will be (luckily we have a handy infographic to help you with just that).
You know you’re reliably going to get a large number of parents (if not all) attending parents’ evenings and other school events such as concerts and stage shows. So why not harness this as a powerful channel for communication?
Setting up posters in the spaces that you know parents will be, like corridors or classrooms, will ensure that you’re consistently getting your key messages in front of parents.
Utilising the parents’ evening conversations can also be invaluable. Having parents engaged in one-on-one conversations is a golden opportunity to mention how their involvement with your new software can enrich their and their children’s school experience. We know that these appointments are usually tight for time, but just a quick mention to close out the conversation could go a long way.
Harness the (free) power of social media.
Social media such as Twitter is a great place for parents to go to receive updates on your school. You probably already have a Twitter account, but could you be doing more with it?
Post regular, relevant updates about news, upcoming events, and ways parents can get involved with your school and you’ll see an increase in meaningful engagement across the board. If you’re shouting about the benefits of your software using simple, engaging language and bright, visual images, parents be more likely to want to join in.
A school newsletter lies at the heart of effective communication between students, staff, and parents and is a compelling tool for getting your messages in front of parents.
Most parents want to be actively involved in their children’s education, and will welcome a well-structured, carefully curated newsletter that benefits their parental involvement. Spend some time optimising your newsletter with a good, digitally-focussed template that will engage your readers and they’ll thank you for it.
With a strong newsletter that parents are actively reading, your messages and announcements are more likely to be effectively digested by an interested audience.
Ask your software provider for a snappy PowerPoint presentation or handy video which shows off all the benefits of your new product. Try setting up a computer screen or tablet in your school’s reception area, at school events, or host it on a dedicated space on your website so that parents can watch while they wait.
Now that schools are (mostly) back too fully operating in-person, and parents are once again welcomed onto the school campus, communicating to them in the physical spaces that they’ll regularly be in is a great way to get across the benefits that they’ll get from engaging with your EdTech solutions.
Turn participation into prizes!
If you’re still struggling with getting your parents involved with your new software and need that final push to encourage sign-ups, they’ll love the option to win prizes.
Try running competitions that utilise your software’s functionality or enter everyone who signs up for your new system into a prize draw for the option to win some exciting goodies. If the campaign for communicating the benefits of the product has run its course, a good bit of incentivisation is sure to push your parent involvement down the last stretch to meet your targets.
Improved parental engagement
No matter what new software you’re promoting, being able to effectively communicate with your parent-base and for them to be excited to experience the benefits that your new software can bring to the education experience will do wonders for your parental engagement and relationships.
But every cohort of parents is different, and there is no one method for communication between schools and parents. You understand your parents better than anyone else and you know what they’ll respond to. We can only provide you with the best tools for you to wield in your quest for better parental involvement.
But this isn’t the only challenge that schools are facing, and parent involvement isn’t the only barrier for schools who are looking to improve their software and technology.
In our latest whitepaper, ‘Writing the next chapter in education’, we explore the current state of the education landscape in UK schools, putting modern school challenges under a microscope and analysing how the pandemic has impacted education.
For information on what we found, download your free copy of our whitepaper today: