School software for a successful September

Copy of Copy 4 of Untitled design Max Quality | School software for a successful September
By Toby Lester | 4th September 2020 | 10 min read

What challenges do you face this year? From parent engagement and online events to payments,  there’s a lot to tackle over the coming months. Thousands of tech-savvy school are realising the importance of software to overcome everyday issues; here’s how. 

Staying in touch with parents

For gathering parent permissions, health and safety data and contact details, our Online Forms solution saves time and ensures security. Setting up forms is quick, easy and flexible; pick and choose from our library of templates, create your own or reuse an old one (super handy for recurring events).  

ParentMail syncs with SIMS and other MIS, making it easy to send communications to year groups, classes and individuals. With our free mobile app, parents receive communications instantly, ensuring you receive a great response. 

This academic year alone, after staff time, paper and print, we’ve saved over £9,000. Before ParentMail we relied on photocopying and paper for our parent communications which was very expensive and inefficient. Schools can’t rely on children to pass along school newsletters and forms, and we can’t always rely on busy mums and dads to respond. ParentMail has made a huge difference to our parental engagement.” –  Langstone Junior School 

Running parents’ evening 

Usually the first opportunity for families to meet new teachers, this year parents’ evening is especially important. Following extended closures, both teachers and parents will be particularly keen to catch up about student progression. However, face-to-face meetings and paper appointment slips are totally impractical in light of COVID-19. 

Parents’ Evening Manager caters for online appointment bookings and syncs with School MIS Systems, enabling staff to send paperless invitations to classes, year groups and individual families. Parents utilise our free mobile app or desktop portal to book appointments; staff manage teacher timetables online, controlling appointment durations and cancellations with ease. For parents yet to respond or book appointments, the system automates reminder messages, saving time for busy teams. 

When you add up all the hours we’d usually spend arranging timetables and managing parent responses, we’ve easily saved a day’s work planning parents’ evening. Previously, we planned the event with paper appointment slips. As and when slips were returned to the office, we’d have to set aside hours to manage appointments. With ParentMail, the whole process is paperless.” – St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School 

Managing parent payments 

We recently surveyed over 400 schools to investigate the impact of COVID-19. 20% of respondents expressed their intent to introduce an online payment system and more than 80% of respondents agreed that reducing cash on school grounds was a priority for ensuring the health and safety of staff and students.   

With Plus Pay, parents can pay for all school items in moments, using our free mobile app or online portal. Handy low balance reminders let parents know when it's time to top-up lunch money, enabling them to pay at a moments notice. Plus Pay offers a variety of payment options including debit and credit card, PayPal and PayPoint; for different payment items, schools can assign multiple bank accounts, saving administration time and keeping finances in check.  

“With students preselecting their dinner choices, the kitchen can plan ahead, reducing waste and related costs. We don’t spend hours every day processing, counting or chasing parents for cash. It has hugely improved our productivity in the office. For parents, low balance reminders are really helpful. They can top up in the ParentMail App on the go and at a moment’s notice.” Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School  

What are your priorities for the year ahead? Whatever they may be, we have a whole range of online solutions designed to streamline processes, strengthen parental engagement and save money. Get in touch to find out how we can support your team with top-notch tech today.