No matter how organised you try to be as a parent, sometimes juggling the weekly food shop, emergency dentist appointments and last minute playdates, means that things slip your mind. Turning up at the school gates only to learn that you’ve still got to pay for your child’s lunch, or realising you’ve forgotten the permission slip for tomorrow’s school trip, can sometimes be the straw to break the camel’s back. Increasingly however, parents are relying on mobile technology to keep on top of these tasks, freeing up their day for the more important things. Geoff Jones, marketing director of school communication provider ParentMail, uses ideas and suggestions gathered from schools over the years to offer parents top tips on helping you keep one step ahead whilst on the move…
Make yourself contactable
Make sure that your school always has your most up to date contact details: mobile, telephone and email, to ensure they can always reach you. Often schools only carry out one data collection/check per year and once this is complete, their data goes quickly out of date if parents don’t inform the school of changes. A primary school may have 200-300 parent records to maintain, and in secondary schools there can be significantly more. Keeping data current is a big problem for schools, so make a point of making your child’s school the first to know of any changes.
We regularly get feedback from schools that it regularly takes multiple attempts to ask parents to sign up with communication system, before the majority are all connected. Therefore a request from schools is to say ‘yes’ to their requests for your contact details as soon as possible, because it allows you to instantly enjoy a direct and informative relationship within the school community online, giving you access to all the benefits which come with what the new system can offer. Schools with a system in place which allows you to have small, regular updates prevents larger problems growing, and ensures you are never out of touch with your child’s educational needs. You can check teacher comments on your child’s homework by receiving updates straight to your inbox, which means you can be more actively involved with your child’s progress. Also having things like school trip permission slips sent straight to your mobile, or being able to pay for things like school lunches online, makes it so much easier to get those niggling tasks out of the way. When you already have so much else on your mind, these systems mean you can reply instantly, then get on with your day.
Talk to the school
Alongside letters home, most schools now use digital means to get in touch with parents, keeping them constantly in the loop with what is happening in school. At ParentMail, we have just launched our new user-friendly interface, allowing parents in more than 6,000 schools to communicate by text and email and handle payments and other communications via a web-based system with ease. Ask your child’s school to ensure their communication provider has a mobile friendly user interface so that you don’t have to be chained to your computer to get things done. Schools like to hear feedback from parents on how to better improve communications between school and home, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Most children have two main educators in their lives – their parents and their teachers. By using mobile technology to better manage communication between schools, parents are enabling their children to learn in a supportive environment, achieve the best possible results they can, whilst making the day to day life of a parent that little bit easier.