School has no e-mail address. Is this normal?

(40 Posts)
camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:16:19

My kids go to a school you cannot communicate with by e-mail, at all. Zero. I am not speaking about having e-mail addresses of teachers, but of some kind of zero electronic communication policy. If I have changed address or need to ask something about school lunches, etc. I have to go to the office in the morning or at pick up time.

I work full time and this is really inconvenient. But this is not the point. Is this normal? Are schools (the places where ICT and 'creativity and innovation' are meant to be delivered) normally like this?

I am a lecturer at University and I cannot imagine a world where I would refuse to communicate with my (over a hundred) students by e-mail. I am not British and I have no idea whether this is normal or not at primary school level. So can someone let me know?

mummytime Mon 07-Jan-13 16:18:44

If this is in England, then I don't believe they don't have an email. I would go in and ask why they don't allow parents to communicate by email.

My DCs senior school does not give out emails of teachers; the official policy is that you email the office and they forward it on. However most teachers will give you their email, or are quite happy if you guess their email and email them.

This sounds very unusual to me. I work in a job where we have to communicate with dozens of primary schools; they all have an email address.

Have you checked the school website to see what is listed under 'contact details'?

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:21:01

This is London and believe me, they DO NOT have an address. I do not want to post the name of the school that is public for parents.
Thank you for the answers because knowing is not normal I will try to raise the issue. How do I do that? The headteacher?

Our school has an email address, but they don't go out of their way to encourage people to use it. confused

The would never give out the direct email for individual teacher either.

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:21:49

I meant.. they do not have an e-mail address public for parents. They probably have one, but we do not know it. Sorry for the confusing sentence above

annh Mon 07-Jan-13 16:23:02

Where is this school? Is it a state school? I thought there was a requirement for all schools to have a VLE?

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:23:44

It is a state school. They have a VLE that children use for homeworks. There is no way of electronically contacting the school.

annh Mon 07-Jan-13 16:24:17

OK, so you think they have email but just not available to parents? Very poor practice. How do they communicate with you, distribute newsletters, inform you about events etc?

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:27:47

For the last 2 years they have introduced a 'parentmail' service that is some kind of centralised service not directly link to the school but the Council. YOu get the messages with the newsletters (until 2 years ago it was only paper) but you cannot answer back. Not sure I am clear

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:28:29

And I think they have an e-mail because I cannot imagine any institution is working nowadays without that.

BackforGood Mon 07-Jan-13 16:32:23

Primary or secondary ?
I would say that is very, very, unusual.
All schools in our authority have e-mail addresses.

Wasn't it Carphone Warehouse that did away with emails altogether? Anyway, a business boss decided that emails are a very good way of wasting everyone's time and that a quick phone call or popping in to see someone face-to-face was a more productive way of doing business. Maybe this school is ahead of all the others!

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:36:35

It is primary school ('junior', years 3 to 6)

LeeCoakley Mon 07-Jan-13 16:37:16

The only reason I can think of is that they haven't got anyone in the office to check it regularly to make it a worthwhile way of communicating.

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:39:47

To me the only reason I know people not wanting to communicate by e-mail is to avoid leaving any written trail. I have never had a major issue with the school but I have often thought that If I did would only be able to have a word with someone but not easy evidence unless I went through a pretty formal process.

I will go to the office tomorrow and try to raise the issue for the first time and take it from there.

mummytime Mon 07-Jan-13 16:51:23

Parentmail is a large company which (for a fee) takes on mass emails of parents. A lot (if not most) schools use it. The big advantage for parents is that any email sent to you can also be accessed via the Parentmail website.

However my DCs schools also has very clearly on their Parentmail's how to respond by email to any points contained in it. I would think if a school is using Parentmail and has a VLE they must also have an email address. Does the school have a website?

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 16:56:47

Believe me, the school does not have an e-mail that I can use. They have a website, they use parentmail as explained, etc. It is not that I am struggling to find the e-mail. It does not exist for the parents to use. I have commented this to some other parents who find it very inconvenient but nobody seems to have done anything about it (to my knowledge)

cumbrialass Mon 07-Jan-13 18:00:42

Our school office currently recieves over 200 odd emails A DAY which the secretary has to sort through/sift/delete and answer and this is without e-mails from parents.There are days when they don't even get to look at all the e-mails, let alone answer them! Presumably they have a phone, can you not just leave a message on the answer/phone?

annh Mon 07-Jan-13 18:38:31

Cumbrialass, if the school hasn't got time to read their emails, how on earth will they find time to listen to all the messages on the answer phone? Surely if parents wish to notify the school of a change of address it would be much better to do it by email rather than leaving a message which someone has to transcribe?

ours has a website but no email address. If I need to contact them I do it by phone, letter or by going into the office. In Scotland so dont know if that makes a difference

I tell a lie, I have just found an email address on the online School Handbook - have never used it (obviously!)

JenaiMorris Mon 07-Jan-13 18:55:10

annh I'd hazard a guess and say that the school gets gazillions of spam emails, or email that isn't strictly spam but is unsolicited. Marketing types and chancers are less like to phone maybe.

mrz Mon 07-Jan-13 18:55:23

Our school email is the same cumbrialass and of course parents get upset if their mail isn't acknowledged within 24hours of being sent.
I confess I looked at my school email the other day for the first time in 18 months.

annh do you really think the secretary transcribes phone messages? I know ours doesn't.

tubsywubsy Mon 07-Jan-13 19:10:58

In the school I work in we do not encourage parents to communicate with us via email. Parents are welcome to phone, or drop into the school office, but we receive so many other emails that we just couldn't cope if parents started emailing us as well. It's likely that their messages would get overlooked or lost. We don't forward messages to teachers as we don't disclose individual staff email addresses and it's possible that staff might unwittingly reveal them to parents if they reply to their emails.

That said, our main school email address is published on our website and our letterhead.

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