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?

camaleon Tue 08-Jan-13 10:12:28

Thank you very much all and particularly admission for finding the e-mail addresses.
Mrz, I guess you deal with notes from parents in childrens' bags. this is exactly the same but in another format. It is hard to justify why schools can happily live in the first half of the twentieth century in order to communicate with parents.

admission Tue 08-Jan-13 09:41:31

camaleon, I have PMd you a couple of emails for the school.

juniper904 Tue 08-Jan-13 01:59:47

I have no set time to check my emails. We have meetings, meetings and further meetings to fill up my directed time. If I were to be given ten minutes of release time, then fine. But I don't want to be checking or responding to emails in my personal time.

SE13Mummy Tue 08-Jan-13 00:47:41

Until very recently my DCs' school made staff e-mail addresses to parents which I found incredibly useful as both DH and I are teachers and rarely manage to pop into the office of the DCs' school. These days the website has a sentence that explains how the e-mails addresses are structured... which is fine if you know the teacher's first initial and have the correct spelling of their surname - there is no staff list anywhere online so it's far from helpful hmm. As a working parent of young children I appreciate being able to contact the school by e-mail, particularly for things such as finding out when clubs are starting etc. (letters are rarely sent home, we're just meant to know).

As a primary teacher I am quite happy for parents to contact me via e-mail. In return they will receive an automated message that explains that my e-mail is only checked after school and that I will try to reply within a few working days of receiving it. Usually the e-mails I receive are to let me know that someone different is collecting the child that day, to apologise for losing a letter and asking if a replacement one could be provided or to volunteer to help on a trip. Occasionally it's something else but I know I've found it helpful being able to e-mail parents, especially those who don't collect their children, to let them know about things (positive, not so positive and admin-related).

My school e-mail is logged in all day - it's expected of all the teachers in my school. Although we can't read the e-mails whilst teaching, I read mine before and after school and sometimes at lunchtime. Replies are usually short but I find it preferable to going up and down 6 flights of stairs to find a telephone to call a parent!

Camaleon many London schools will structure their e-mail addresses in the same way: headteacher@schoolname.boroughname.sch.uk e.g. headteacher@topoftheleaguetableprimary.camden.sch.uk

mrz Mon 07-Jan-13 22:30:51

Serious question Glup when do you get a chance (10 chances I suppose I should say) to check your email let alone write a reply?

Glup Mon 07-Jan-13 22:19:45

Hmmm. Interesting and extremely odd. I have heard of one instance in which the head micro-manages all external communications to ensure that all external mail is sent past her.

If this is the same school, never fear, she will clearly go insane soon and the bizarre policy will stop.

Jeez, I email parents ten times a day!

mrz Mon 07-Jan-13 22:19:12

I really don't have time to check email during the school day. Secondary teachers may have more opportunity if they have free periods I suppose.

DewDr0p Mon 07-Jan-13 22:19:10

I think it's quite unusual for a school not to have an email address these days.

However why don't you just send a note in with your dc?

BooCanary Mon 07-Jan-13 22:16:40

Our primary school has no central email address for parents to use to contact school.

mummytime Mon 07-Jan-13 22:13:33

My DCsprimaryactively encourages email, and I can't imagine a single teacher doesn't check their email several times a day. It really helps with bullying, as if an incident "comes out" at bed/bath time, I can email the teacher before I forget the details, it is then known about the next day.
It is also far more useful for reporting absences etc.

I help in another school, where emailing between pupils, and messaging by pupils to staff is encouraged to help computer skills.

littleducks Mon 07-Jan-13 21:37:13

Our school is a bit awkward with email (but hopefully is slowly changing).

There is a school email address but absences have to be reported on a 24 hr answerphone or new this term text message. I once emailed the school (as I wanted a written trail) and the head came out to speak in the playground at pick up rather than reply.

Everything is paper based (again a London school not a tiny rural one) and they must contribute to the deforestation of a small country somewhere.

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 21:36:04

Done admission,
I was expecting an 'explanation' on why British schools do not use e-mails but I see that it is just exceptional to have such a policy

admission Mon 07-Jan-13 21:30:30

camaleon, if you pm me with the school and LA I will try and use my resources to find an email for the school. I am absolutely sure that they will have email, because all their information from the LA and LA personnel will be coming by email.
I agree with you, the school is simply not living in he real world if it is trying to avoid email correspondence.

camaleon Mon 07-Jan-13 21:22:47

Thank you very much. It is very useful. I honestly do not understand this problem with 'too many e-mails'. It is easier to read e-mails than openning different envelopes of kids with different names, filing them, reading them and then answering to them.
Phone can be easier, but e-mail is just electronic mail and if you accept mail, not accepting a faster version that gets filed automatically is mental. Everybody gets hundreds of e-mails. My students get also very stressed if I do not answer them and I do not deal with 30 of them. i deal with hundreds, my research, my professional contacts, administration, projects, etc.
I will try to raise this issue and see how it goes.
thanks again.

HedgeHogGroup Mon 07-Jan-13 20:16:28

I actively encourage parents to use e mail as a form of communication - it sets up a 'paper trail' which can be evidence for what's been said/paid/offered etc.
I think your school is mad to not encourage it, it is by far the most time efficient means of communication (especially for working parents).
All e mails do come through our office though. I would never encourage staff to divulge their e mail addresses!

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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?

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?

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)

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 16:39:47

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.

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