I have recently started working as the receptionist at a primary school. We have a team meeting next week and I have been asked to make a list of anything I think can be improved etc. I have a few things that I think need addressing, however, having never worked in a school before (previously at a solicitors practice) I don't want to sound like an idiot when bringing things up if that's "just the way it's done' so I was hoping that someone could help me out.
The first issue is the signing in procedure for visitors etc. There are SIX different signing in books, one for visitors, where you tear off a little slip and but it on a badge, one for volunteers, one for pupils to sign in late or in and out for appointments etc, one for governors, one for contractors and one for staff, in which the staff are all listed stuck on a wall and they initial when they come in and initial when they leave - no times written down.
Now does this seem a little OTT to you? I understand the pupils and staff having a separate one, but surely volunteers, visitors, governors and contractors can all be in one? Do ALL schools have these books with the tear off slips for badges, can't they just have a badge that says "visitor"? Also how do you, as staff, sign in?
The other issue is the way messages are passed around. At this school you have a memo pad with a piece of carbon paper, you write the message on a slip and put it in the relevant member of staff's pigeon hole. This too me seems like an ancient practice, how am I to know how often each member of staff checks their pigeon hole, if they check it at all and there's also the risk that the slip gets lost in transit throwing up all kinds of confidentiality issues! I think emails would work more efficiently, staff can check from heir classrooms, there is no way of it getting lost and there's always an easily accessible copy of it. How are messages passed on at you school?
Also any other tips of how to run an efficient school office would be greatly appreciated.
I work in a boarding school. We have an online register for all pupils, no "late" signing in, etc. Staff are always emailed or telephoned with messages. There is one visitor sign in procedure for everyone else.
You're right, we have three books and visitor badges and we are emailed details of missed calls, in fact we have a secure intranet where full messages are logged and a email notification of an entry on it is sent. I think this a a data protection thing, you can only access numbers and pupil details on site. I think we are a bit data protection paranoid though..
I work in a secondary school and i think both of your suggestions are sound. Our place runs on email and it proves really useful when u need to reference back. Memos are very out date and definitely less secure!
In terms of the signing in- we also have lots of different books for the groups you mentioned (unsure why!). I know that we did have quite fiddly id badges that needed to be printed off with all the visitor's details on, then stuck on a lanyard but that was so time consuming it got abandoned pretty quickly!
Now we just have colour coded lanyards with standard 'VISITOR' or 'GOVERNOR' written on for instance that can easily be handed in and out. That means that people are easily identified and distinguished. Hope that is of some use?
I worked for a very short while in a school office and loved it. I set up spreadsheets for school trips, milk etc that counted back the money as people paid the school. The school office manager loved that.
I would also recommend introducing something like Planner Live for homework or Parent Pay for trips / school dinner money so that you move that online.
Emailing out the newsletter will save paper / time photocopying- hard copies only to those who request them.
I don't know about efficient but a friendly school office is very important. The few months I spent at the school were among the happiest of my working life. I'd've done it as a volunteer!