IRIS Software Group launches Video Parents’ Evening module to supercharge teacher-guardian engagement

3 minutes length
Posted: 22nd March 2022

IRIS Software Group (IRIS), one of the UK’s largest providers of software solutions to educational organisations, has launched a Video Parents’ Evening Module in IRIS Reach and IRIS ParentMail – taking parents’ evenings to the next level by providing teachers and parents with an engaging, in-app meeting experience at home.

IRIS Video Parents’ Evening enables schools to schedule and conduct video appointments online and at scale. This means no letters for schools to print and distribute, and no reliance on children to remember to give to their parents. It offers the flexibility to choose and change appointments easily, so there’s less risk of parents missing an appointment. It improves parental attendance rates – particularly when parents are separated or divorced and relationships are strained – and therefore builds stronger parent–teacher relationships that support improved pupil outcomes across the school.

The new Video Parents’ Evening module has been added to both IRIS ParentMail and IRIS Reach, two of the leading applications already used by over 6,000 schools to communicate with parents. It introduces the ability for teachers to hold video parents’ evenings using their existing systems. The integrated, secure platform means less time spent on set-up and managing the quality of appointments, and more time spent on preparing for these crucial meetings and providing parents with accurate information.

Since the start of the pandemic, teachers have held parents’ evenings online, with internal IRIS research[1] revealing only 2% of schools conduct virtual parents’ evenings on the phone. The majority use generic, manual video conferencing software with no management of appointments. While many systems do support virtual events, the lack of flexible video calling capabilities has made many parents and teachers feel they don’t get the same value as in person. Using a generic video meeting platform is also not practical at scale, as an individual has to manually set up each meeting and share individual links.

With virtual parents’ evenings evidently here to stay, schools need the right software to successfully move this important school event into a virtual space.

Simon Freeman, MD for Education, IRIS Software Group, comments, “Remote and virtual parents’ evenings really support the various family dynamics we see today. As part of our continued mission to be at the heart of school management, we know teachers want to maintain and blend them with face-to-face meetings going forward which is why we’ve launched this new module.

“Schools and parents want to maintain much of the flexibility and convenience of online meetings adopted during the Covid pandemic. IRIS Video Parents’ Evening solves the issue of parents and teachers not feeling like they get the same in-person experience as they did pre-Covid.”

The Video Parents’ Evening module benefits both schools and parents, enabling them to meet regularly to keep up to date with student progress. Teachers can easily and safely move between video appointments and each appointment is a separate video session, so there’s no chance of the wrong parent joining, or any data being compromised. It also reduces the admin and paperwork required, with all bookings made online and adaptable to meet individual guardian or staff needs, such as when additional time is needed. Integration with the school MIS (management information system) makes communicating with parents and guardians simple.

Parents will be able to book sessions on any device, quickly change them if needed and have greater visibility of bookings to easily manage clashes and schedules. Parents that are separated will be able to join the same session with the teacher or be able to book their own slots. At the end of the evening, all discussion notes can be emailed or sent in an SMS automatically to the parents.

[1] Research conducted with 775 schools who use IRIS ParentMail in January 2022.