Tackling text messages – are you still sending them?

holding smartphone 847 x 400 Double width | Tackling text messages - are you still sending them?
By Toby Lester | 22nd November 2019 | 3 min read

We’ve seen the trends of parent communications change over the years. From the death of the paper newsletter (good riddance!) to the dawn of text messages and email, schools have taken advantage of every opportunity to avoid the frustrations of pupil post. 

While text messaging has proven handy over recent years, SMS is struggling to keep up with cheaper, more convenient solutions; email, in-app messaging and even WhatsApp have proven better for circulating messages to the parent community. 

Habits can be hard to break, particularly when reviewing processes which have been in place for years. However, chances are, if you’re still sending text messages to parents en masse, there are huge time and money savings to be achieved. Here’s why... 

Taking over text messages

Before the era of smartphones, text messaging enabled schools to send important messages directly into the hands of parents, for the first time. Suddenly, parents were no longer discovering out of date letters at the bottom of school bags. Convenient but clunky, SMS presented schools with a quick and easy way of keeping parents up to date. 

However, for sharing anything other than short and sweet messages, SMS can cause headaches. Character limits don’t leave much room for personality or a professional touch; they also don’t allow for attachments. For parents, sifting through their personal inbox to find a single school message, sent days before, can be frustrating.  

In addition, the cost of sending texts in bulk quickly adds up. So, while you may have enjoyed some cost savings upon ridding your office of print and paper, the price of potentially thousands of texts sent over a school year can still push the budget. 

What do parents want? 

Staying on top of homework, afterschool clubs, trips and events is enough to make the most organised parent sweat. What they really want from school communications is simplicity; the relevant information sent to the right place, at the right time. 

Cluttered email inboxes make it easy to miss important information, while WhatsApp groups raise concerns around security and accuracy; with 30+ parents in a single group, notifications can quickly spiral out of control. 

Custom communication channels 

“It’s a really nice touch that we’re sending our information home to parents through our very own app, it makes our communications unique to us!”  

Brookside Primary School 

When collecting data or sharing school news, security is a priority. Parents need to be able to trust that the information they receive from their school is accurate and applicable to their child.  

At ParentMail, we believe that technology should empower communications, rather than setting limits. Software should bridge the home/school divide with efficient, effective parent engagement. 

A dedicated platform for messaging is within reach for all schools and parents today. From local primaries to large MATs, many schools are making the most of technology to implement strategic communications to strengthen relationships with their parent community. 

“The majority of parents use our mobile app, which means messages are sent home as free in-app notifications, popping up to alert parents of important school communications. As a result, we have saved on text credits as we are no longer sending any SMS and instead send all our communications through email which arrive in one single, school branded feed rather than a busy email inbox, improving our parental engagement as a result!”   

Kesgrave High School 

ParentMail’s Messaging solution provides total flexibility; schools can manage mailing lists to send messages by class, year group or individual. Handy reporting enables staff to monitor communication performance, providing an overview of messages received and unopened; no more chasing students for responses, no more character limitations or text credits. 

Our free mobile app is a favourite with parents. Handy notifications and reminders ensure they receive important information instantly, with all school messages stored neatly in one place. 

An effective solution proven to save time and improve parent engagement, Messaging is a powerful stand-alone solution. When utilised alongside ParentMail’s other engagement solutions, the system does so much more for schools, professionalising communications and reducing costs in the long term. 

With cold weather settling across the country this winter and a busy festive period approaching, it’s time to plan ahead for home/school communications. Get in touch to find out more about our Messaging solution.