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Whatsapp parent group for school class – good or bad?

(26 Posts)
PlumeName Sat 04-Mar-17 15:43:03


My son’s state primary school has suggested the set-up of a Whatsapp group for each class, with one parent per class volunteering to set up the group and be its admin. I can immediately see the great advantages of this communication platform but am also starting to consider some possible misuses and drawbacks. I’d be interested in any experience/opinions. Thanks!

Toomanycats99 Sat 04-Mar-17 15:44:25

We have a Facebook page and it's great for missing homework or uniform general info sharing etc.

PlumeName Sat 04-Mar-17 16:13:38

Thanks, Toomanycats. Facebook is a good idea as well!

OverAndAbove Sat 04-Mar-17 16:16:03

Whatsapp is much better as you can do it without people being on Facebook. It's easier to manage and less intrusive somehow

ThisIsNotARealAvo Sat 04-Mar-17 16:31:43

In my DCs school there is a group for each class so I'm on two. It's great for quick questions. Especially as that school is not great with letters. However, in some classes there has been attempts to bitch about the teacher which is not so nice. A parent in DDs class tried this and was quickly slapped down but in my friends DDs class they were quite nasty about this particular teacher.

BackforGood Sat 04-Mar-17 16:34:46

I don't think it's a good idea for the school to be setting it up.
It's useful to have some friends you can message who might know / remind you of something they need to take in or whatever, but IMO I think that needs to be up to the parents to opt in, if they wish.

empirerecordsrocked Sat 04-Mar-17 16:35:04

We started with Facebook but more parents have access to or an whatsapp so moved to that. Works really well.

PlumeName Sat 04-Mar-17 19:06:14

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.
BackForGood: I agree and fortunately, it is an opt-in system at my son's school. The school helps with the communication but it's up to parents to decide if they want to give their phone number to the mum/dad who's volunteered to set up the group for the class.
ThisIsNotAReal: Yes, I wonder if some parents will try to use the group as a platform to criticise the teacher/school or pass off opinions as facts. (or inundate the group with useless threads!). Hopefully the group admin will be an effective moderator.

BackforGood Sat 04-Mar-17 20:45:42

The WhatsApp groups I am in (mostly diff. combinations of family) 'ping' each time someone makes a comment. It can get annoying with only 5 or so people in a group. I think I'd soon get fed up of a group with 30 (or potentially 60) people in it.

mycatloveslego Sat 04-Mar-17 20:49:34

We have a WhatsApp group for my son's reception class, there's 18 of us in it. It's been useful so far for missing items, school events and timings etc, but it can get a bit annoying. The other day I got my phone out after work to find 63 messages about head lice!

BackforGood Sat 04-Mar-17 23:50:40

Exactly, which is why I can see a small group of 1/2 a dozen parents would be useful, but not a group with 30 / 60 parents in it. It isn't really an appropriate vehicle for that.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 05-Mar-17 06:56:22

If you have a Whatsapp group don't let there just be one with admin rights as if they leave you have problems or if they go rogue and take a personal dislike to someone they can block them despite others trying to re-ad them. Parents of DDs class have a WhatsApp group, it is mostly a waste of time, parents talking about non uniform days etc. but I suppose at least we have a quick way of contacting each other. We also have a FB group which was active just prior to joining the school but doesn't do too much now.

fairweathercyclist Mon 06-Mar-17 12:02:08

Whatsapp is owned by FB isn't it? Just wondering why people who don't want an FB account are happy to use Whatsapp.

BrieAndChilli Mon 06-Mar-17 12:08:31

I think a Facebook group is better for a bigger group
If someone posts about something that doesn't really affect me (or in DDs class is was about kids taking clothes to change into to play football on the field at break time) I can then ignore that and will not be notified every time someone posts something on that discussion, with what's app it will be one long discussion and you will get messages non stop even if you're not interested in what's going on with that particular issue.

minipie Mon 06-Mar-17 12:17:22

Personally I'd prefer Whatsapp as I'm not on FB and don't want the hassle of starting a FB account, keeping up a page/friend requests etc.

You can turn off Whatsapp notifications or set them to silent.

Or there is always the option of a group email thread... (does that sound horribly old fashioned?)

BackforGood Mon 06-Mar-17 12:41:11

You can turn off Whatsapp notifications or set them to silent

Yes, but then you wouldn't get the reminders, or questions, or whatever it is being set up for grin

minipie Mon 06-Mar-17 12:43:20

Well yes but that's your choice - it's a trade off between being notified and being annoyed!

ridinghighinapril Mon 06-Mar-17 14:31:12

We have it for both DD & DS's classes and I find them very useful for last minute reminders/favours/organising night out. There are occasional flurries of chat/banter and some people are more active than others on it but it's so much easier than following an email thread, IMO. The parents all get on and blocking of another parent is unthinkable.

WhatHo Mon 06-Mar-17 14:37:37

I am on a class WhatsApp group and one of the mothers (with only a small amount of encouragement from a couple of other users) sent 85 messages the other day. In ONE day. This happens about 2-3 times a week. Can't leave due to small class size and the statement it would make.

Would suggest you set ground rules to limit banter. <traumatised>

littleducks Mon 06-Mar-17 14:40:20

Our school isn't anywhere close to this yet but my children's cubs and sports groups all have what's app groups. I mute notifications occasionally but mostly I don't find it too annoying. Really prefer over FB.

One group got so big they had to move to Telegram as WhatsApp couldn't support that many members which was a bit annoying as had to download that too.

namechangedtoday15 Mon 06-Mar-17 17:29:37

Its a great idea and as long as its just an idea suggested by the school and not the school administering then, fine.

We have a system of class reps (so one person in the class who kind of takes responsibility for communicating / organising the class). The school and the PTA have a list of class reps. Its then up to the class rep to decide how they want to communicate with their class.

So our class has a whatsapp group and its great for quick messages - reminders about a bake sale / own clothes day / question about homework.

Couple of things where it has fallen down - not our class but one class did discuss teachers on it (and head found out) and then another time, one parent was helping on a trip, took photos and then whatsapp'd them to the class. I think the ground rules are important, its quite difficult to manage as its semi public / its essentially connected with the school and it has to be treated as such.

As long as people realise that - that its essentially for school communications and nothing else.

Shamoffour Mon 06-Mar-17 17:40:41

Mine good for lost uniform/finding out homework/about nits etc...
But as others say it's a bit annoying ping, ping, pinging all the time about stupid things. A 50+post conversation about whether to put them in wellies for a school trip springs to mind.
Also difficult to leave without it being seen as rude.

SpookyPotato Mon 06-Mar-17 18:07:17

I think it's a great idea and sounds inclusive so the parents who don't know anyone/are shy/work can be a part of it rather than just a select group.

CruCru Thu 23-Mar-17 20:07:31

I've set up a WhatsApp group for the parents in my son's (Reception) class. It works well, mainly because the people on it have some common sense. Usually one person will ask a question (something like, Is the Nativity tomorrow half an hour or an hour? / Does anyone have [son's name]'s coat? He's come home without it etc) and two or three people will respond. It would be maddening if there was endless chat on it.

I find it handy for asking the sort of questions that I don't want to email the entire group of parents about.

daisypond Thu 23-Mar-17 20:29:23

Would everyone have a smartphone? It might exclude some parents who can't afford one. I don't have one, so it would be a nonstarter for me.

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