ParentPay

The John of Gaunt School

Time to read: 2min 11 Jul 2019

Schoolcomms case study

Phase: Secondary

Local Authority: Wiltshire

Unique challenge: Getting parents to use the app quickly.

Objectives

  • To improve parent engagement.
  • To reduce time and paper used sending reports.

Solution

  • A system that integrates seamlessly with SIMS.
  • A system that can pull a variety of reports directly from SIMS.

Outcome

  • Significant reduction in paper usage.
  • More engaged parents.
  • More efficient use of staff time.

What goals were you hoping to achieve when you decided that an engagement system would be a good fit for your school?

We wanted to find an interactive communication system, so that parents felt involved and included in their child’s education. The hope was that this would increase parental engagement.

It was essential that we had the ability to send both types of reports (Assessment Manager Individual Reports and Profile Reports) electronically from SIMS.

What made you decide to use Schoolcomms to reach these goals?

For some time the school had been keen to find a system in order to send reports to parents electronically. After some research, we found Schoolcomms was the only system with the ability to send the ‘Profile’ report.

What has parent and staff reaction been to School Gateway?

Parents have engaged with the day-to-day life of the school. We have an effective and efficient 2-way flow of information, with a noticeable increase in communication.

Were there any advantages to using Schoolcomms that you hadn’t considered when originally looking?

The attendance module is considerably more comprehensive than we had expected. This functionality was not really a consideration when deciding to use Schoolcomms, but it has proven to be a valuable tool. Parents are seeing the benefit of using the ‘Report Absence’ feature, which is so much easier than leaving a voicemail and allows us to log accurate information more quickly.

The ability to contact parents via the app and log parental responses back to SIMS is really useful. The ability to send out examination timetables also saves a great deal of printing and is therefore more cost efficient as it reduces the amount of paper used. There’s also less chance of students losing their timetables.

What challenges were you concerned about and how did you overcome them?

Initially we had concerns regarding parents registering for the system. Detailed communication was sent home to parents, however staff encouraged them to register with Schoolcomms whenever they made contact. Parents who were struggling were encouraged to come into school and were talked through the process. This was very effective.

What has been the impact of adopting Schoolcomms?

We are a large Secondary school communicating with 99% of our parents via Schoolcomms and with 88% using the App. Only 15 parents now require a text message via Schoolcomms and a follow up letter if necessary. This is a massive saving in terms of paper, postage and admin time.

We report to parents three times a year for each KS3 and KS4 year groups plus reports for our year 12 & 13 students, i.e. 7-year groups, translating to 21 reports a year. In addition, several versions of examination timetables are now sent electronically before each exam session to hundreds of students, where they were previously sent as hard copies. All parental communication now goes via Schoolcomms, including trip letters, detention notifications, homework, library book requests and so much more. I find it hard to believe how much post we sent before Schoolcomms.

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