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4 essential tools to improve school communication and engagement

25 August 2020 Katie Sixsmith

Regular home-school communication is essential for keeping parents and carers up to date and is especially important during times of change – whether it’s a delayed school trip, adverse weather conditions or, as we’ve seen recently, a global pandemic.

Getting the correct message out to the right people, at the right time, with the right information isn’t always easy. That’s why we have developed a suite of communication tools exclusively for schools and trusts, designed to manage communications with parents - as well as with students and teachers if necessary.

When the unexpected happens, the first thing parents will do is seek a reliable source of information, which can increase pressure on your school’s administration and resources. If no details are available, they may reach out to other parents through unofficial channels such as WhatsApp or personal social media accounts to find out more.

A lack of clear communication strategy or delays in sharing information can lead to a flurry of misinformation and misunderstandings, complicating matters for your team and increasing response times further.

So, what can you do to improve your school’s communications process and ensure that your parents and school community are up to date with the latest news and information?  

Regular bitesize updates throughout the year 

Providing parents with a regular flow of useful information, such as staff changes, exam results, good news stories and upcoming events, through a weekly or monthly school newsletter is a great way to keep your community up to date and acclimatise them to frequent contact from you. 

Boy on Macbook looking at digital newsletter builderWhereas printed newsletters can be costly, time-consuming and often end up getting lost at the bottom of the school bag, emerging months later crumpled and out of date, digital newsletter technology can provide all the information you want to share, with none of the hassle.  

Easily build a reusable newsletter template within your website Content Management System (CMS) and populate most of the information using your existing website content such as calendar events, news stories and blogs, saving time and reducing duplication of work.

Save your finished newsletter onto your website or use our email module to send a responsive copy directly into your parents’ personal inbox, for them to read and digest at their leisure.

Personalised email updates 

Email builder dashboard screenshotOne of the easiest ways to send communications to your community is via email.

The message goes straight into their inbox and they can read and reply anytime, anywhere from any device.

With a fully secure MIS-integration pulling in all the information you need, you can send personalised emails to any individual on a one to one basis, send bulk emails to the parents or students within a single class or year group or even share a message with the entire school.

Professional templates can be used time and time again with no attachment limits or restrictions, to provide reassurance that emails received are official communications from your school. 

For maximum efficiencies, you can also pair the email system with our Digital Newsletter Builder.

Urgent communications in a crisis 

When the unexpected happens, timely communication is vital. 

SMS for schools is the best way to send an emergency broadcast or urgent message to your community, especially in situations where it’s important that the right information gets to the right person quickly.

iPhone screen featuring text messages, held by woman with long black fingernailsIf you are dealing with a crisis where all of your school community need to be notified, then a comprehensive multi-channel communications strategy is key. This can be achieved by following up your SMS with an email, an urgent news notice on your website and a pinned post on your official social media account(s).

Your audience will want to find information the quickest and easiest way possible, but you cannot assume that all parents will react the same way or think to check your website or social media accounts. 

SMS and email communications increase the chance of you reaching your community in a timely manner by communicating directly via the device(s) they use most often. 

Provide an all-in-one-solution 

Life is hectic and never more so than for parents; they’re often thinking about hundreds of different things at once and juggling multiple tasks, roles and responsibilities. 

Woman looking at parent portal on a laptopThat’s where having a school app and parent portal comes in handy. Your parents can log into one centralised location to find all the information they need in one place – and they can access it from their phone, their tablet or their computer.  

They can view the latest newsletters, complete forms, check the upcoming events in the calendar, re-read important emails and SMS messages, see their child’s attendance* and behaviour data* and much more. 

For your school administrator, it’s just as simple to maintain. All modules can be accessed within your school website CMS, meaning all you need to do is log in, and it’s all at your fingertips.

You can send messages and post updates. No hassle, no fuss, just a suite of simple yet innovative tools for proving effective communication for schools. 

*some features depend on the MIS data permissions granted by the school

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