School communication with parents(20 Posts)
I'm on the parent's committee in my children's school and one of my bugbears is the inconsistency of communication to parents.
Specifically, I'm talking about fliers regarding after-school activities, upcoming events, things that may require payment such as swimming lessons, sponsored walks, all that kind of thing.
Everything comes out via the school secretary on a piece of paper that's put in the child's bag. The theory is the eldest child in each family is the only one to get each flier. Or if the flier only relates to a specific class, it just goes to that group.
However it doesn't work that way and fliers go missing, some families get none at all, some get two! It's increasingly frustrating.
I have an email mailing list for the parent's committee, but it's ludicrously out of date, and despite my best efforts to compile more up to date information using class reps, I've been hitting my head off a brick wall and nobody seems to want to take on a proper review.
So to wrap up - my question is, how does your child's school communicate with parents for these types of things, and is it effective?
My DD primary school and DS secondary deal almost entirely via email these days.
Both have electronic payment systems set up so we can't send in cash/cheques but all done over the web. DDs school you even give consent for trips via the same site as you pay.
PTA at both schools also use the same methods - the primary school via class reps who distribute info to their own classes, the secondary school direct to each parent.
Works really well as far as I ma concerned - no 'lost' letters, and always informed. Now if they can work at giving reasonable notice for events etc, we might be almost there.....
Our school uses parent mail:
brilliant for everything from letting me know the road in front of the school was closed due to a burst water pipe to dress up day tomorrow, come as a cat.
The school sold the idea on 3 fronts:
ensured messages made it to parents (not lost in kids bag/ forgotten on table)
saved on paper (so green)
helped get information (like return time updates from field trips arriving back after school day finishes) to parents promptly saving us time (i.e. I didn't have to wait outside the school from 4 p.m. (proposed return time) for heavily delayed bus which actually returned at 6 p.m. due to accident on motorway causing serious delays.
If the school secretaries can cope with an e-mail they can cope with this system.
Forms still need to be sent home via book bags - but all those little messages make it home(you know Y5 bring in plastic 2L milk bottles for art this week/ cupcake sale fundraiser, bring 50p on Friday) & the school text to tell us an important form for forthcoming trip/ parent-teacher meeting/ etc... should be in book bags tonight.
Everything via mail to parents from school. Notes are also available to download via the school website, and payments for pretty much everything are online too. Time sensitive stuff - coaches late back from trips, etc - is on Twitter which is also streamed on the website if you don't have Twitter itself.
We get a weekly update with specifics on what each year are learning that week, and anything they might need.
Email and Facebook from my dd's primary school and email and My Shool App from my DS's secondary school.
Ours is mainly email and text with stuff then put on web site. Occasional book bag letter, but that annoys me as I don't expect it and never get them as they get lost!!...I only find out later ... Twitter for non urgent info about what happening in school every day.
All school come via Parentmail. Things for DD's class: a mix between paper and Parentmail.
All newsletters and general letters are also on the school's website.
Email for whole school circular, class newsletters and assembly/show notices. PTA events are emailed and also sent out in printed form.
Sports fixture letters are sent out with the child as they need signing & returning. Ditto school trips. Reminders are put in the homework diary.
School closures, late returning trips and sports fixture cancellations are texted.
And there's Facebook and Twitter for photos.
We get a paper newsletter once a week. You can get it emailed to you if you prefer. Communication for ad-hoc stuff, eg Christmas jumper day, bring money for a bun sale is not good and very last minute.
Parentmail. It seems to work pretty well. My only bugbear is that the school often don't give much notice about events.
Parentmail for newsletters etc. Text messages (can't remember who that's through) for ad hoc update type stuff - eg, choir cancelled this week, school open as normal during snow, don't forget tomorrow is dress down etc etc.
The text messages can be sent out by class, year, or key stage as well as whole school.
Stuff that needs signing and sending back comes home in the bag of whichever child it applies to. We have an eldest and only policy for newsletters etc coming home too, it's not great
especially when they have the PPA cover teacher who doesn't believe it's her job to give out school letters GRR.
Our school is pretty good.
We do get quite a lot of pieces of paper but often from 3rd parties (different clubs etc). School sends a text about them too 'look out for xyz in bags today' so we know of them.
Weekly newsletter is emailed but you can go to the office for a paper copy if you prefer.
Parents evening appts are via an online booking system.
Plus they have just started trialling an app.
We have a weekly newsletter sent via email which states what letters will be coming home in book bags that Friday, we also get texts etc for reminders of various things.
E-mail for letters, with a copy also put on the school website.
Texts for reminders, cancelled after-school clubs, and notification of any paper letters that will be brought home.
School website and Twitter for general news and diary dates.
So far it's been far more useful than the old system of letters in bookbags.
Our school uses everything. Paper, parentmail, texts, twitter, website and facebook for the PTA
However, it doesn't work as there is no consistency about what is used for what. Also, it seems a bit random and badly thought out. So a letter will be sent out with initial information, then a parentmail with conflicting or correctional information, then a text demanding a response. It's easy to get confused.
the website is rarely up to date and as I don't do facebook I don't always know what the PTA are up to.
Mostly email, sometimes letters in book bags and email, sometimes just letters and occasionally texts when it's a more urgent matter (ie a club being cancelled for that evening).
It's sometimes a bit hit and miss with what information we get, and I know the non English speaking parents struggle to keep up to date (although this is probably a separate issue) but it mostly works.
Our school communicates poorly. That is why I had to go in and demand they up their game. It was poorly received, but I had proof to back me up, and they are now starting to make a little effort (not nearly enough though).
Oh, and it's through papers that never seem to go home on time, email that they encourage but never respond to, fb page that is not updated, web sit that is not updated, phone calls that are never returned, and texts that are sent out last minute for things that should have been sent out 24 hours previously (even though they had the information available 24 hours previously). There are always going to be blips IMO, but this is wide scale irresponsibility.
parent mail (paid for by PTA contributions) as well as paper copies for some things, to the eldest child in the family.
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