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texting parents

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by bluerose, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. Currently looking to set this up but wondered if i could avoid a few pitfalls by asking on here
    1) what should i be looking at re costs- im thinking its either unlimited texts= higher price or cheaper price plus cost per text (difficult as not sure how much wed use it as dont do it at moment!)
    2) when do you use yours? have you found you use it more as it becomes established
    3) has it been worthwhile
    4) what are pitfalls
    5) any recommendations

    Will post in admin too in case thats where it impacts more
     
  2. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    We bought this 2 years ago and it is fantastic. Go for unlimited texts because once you've got it you'll use it every day.
    When we had horrendous snow it was invaluable for keeping parents and staff up to date, I got excellent feedback from parents, they knew exactly what was happening.
    We use it to send positive messages home, reminders about trip/ dinner money, events in school etc. Notification if a child's class teacher is absent and who the supply willbe ( great for children who struggle with change parents can prepare them), information about up coming events, if clubs are cancelled etc, reminders if there are important letters coming home and reminders of deadlines. We even send a text the night before we return to
    School ( our parents " forget") or on inset days to remind them that school is closed .
    I have saved a fortune on letters and phonecalls, and I no longer have the " nobody told me" conversation as I sweetly reply " I sent you a text" and I can always pull up the records to prove that I have.

    I wouldn't be without it now.
     
  3. thanks for quick reply this is what i thought might happen its just hard when you dont picture it to see what you might use if for.
     
  4. The only problem we have found with ParentMail is that sometimes there can be a delay of up to 30 mins for the messages to be received by parents. The company try to blame "busy periods" or the recipients phone service. The latter is a silly excuse as any parent body will comprise of users of all the main providers!
     
  5. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    We've never had any delivery problems with our service, even at busy times.
     
  6. mickeyforpresident

    mickeyforpresident New commenter

    I was a little unsure about this too, but now wouldn't be without it! I dont think I can add anything to the list above, but we use it for all sorts from trip reminders, headlice alert, cancelling clubs, reminding about assemblies, inset days, please return your library book. Parents love it!! We use teachers2parents which when I did my research was the simplest to use!
     
  7. curlygirly,
    If you don't mind me asking, which service do you use?
     
  8. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Teachers2parents, like mickey. It wasn't the cheapest but it offered an unlimited text option, and it's never let me down.
     
  9. Red wine fan

    Red wine fan New commenter

    DD2's school uses Teacher2parents and I loathe it, so much so that I opted out. We have no mobile phone signal at home, so as soon as I set off up the hill to take her to school, my phone goes mad with nonsense, most of which is irrelevant to us.
    As a parent, who is also a teacher in a secondary school, I hated coming out of a lesson to find texts from the primary school because I worried about what had happened. Invariably it was rubbish and inaccurate. I would rather the £250 per annum it costs the school for the service was spent on books for the library. Why can't they email parents? - that costs nothing!
     
  10. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    A service is only as good as the person who is using it. If you're getting irrelevant stuff it may be because the school hasn't set up the " groups" properly.
    I know that t2p do offer an email service but my parents don't all have Internet access at home ( and don't have email) however they all have mobiles.

    The £250 they will spend on this will have saved them far more than that in phonecalls to individual mobiles ( which cost my school a fortune- few of my parents have landlines) and staff time which is precious and expensive, not to mention the paper and photocopying.

    As a parent with children in two different schools, I get texts from both and I love it - it keeps me informed and it's quick and easy. I don't mind a few irrelevant texts, I just delete them.

    I've only ever had one complaint, which was from a mum who was in "business" shall we say. I think she was disappointed when her phone went and it was only school.

    She opted out, and them complained later because she didn't know what was happening when we has to close the school at short notice because we had no water, as all her contact details were put of date we couldn't get in touch with her.
    I'm not suggesting for a moment that this is the case with the previous poster, it sounds like her school went a bit text happy, this is why I only have myself, the secretary and SLT as users, so we can keep track.
    A word of caution, put a line in every newsletter about keeping mobile phone numbers up to date, some of my parents ( usually the dealers) change them on an almost weekly basis.
     
  11. Absolutely. I sometimes have to help with sending the messages out at our school and it is so easy to only send a message to Year 3 or the Dance Club... SO LONG as they're set up properly in the first place... Just a couple of clicks to select what you want before you hit "send"...
    Mind you, I thought T2P takes class data off SIMS anyway, which would mean that there really is no excuse for sending everything to everyone...
    I often get duplicates from my kids' secondary school - 1 message for each child, but I'd rather that than not at all.
    The one that says "a newsletter is out today" is particularly useful, as I know WHEN to go hunting through the dead paper at the bottom of their rucksacks...
    C x
     
  12. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Established commenter

    Texts can sometimes take a long time to arrive so they're no good for alerts abouturgent matters.
    I got a text saying my son had got into the honours book three months after he'd left the school. Clever boy!
     
  13. Red wine fan

    Red wine fan New commenter

    But as I said previously, what about people who have no mobile phone signal at home? Texting them to say school is shut for the day is irrelevant. The school is well-aware that we live in a rural area with patchy phone coverage.
    What really annoys me is that I was told that emails could not be used because it discriminated against those who did not have a computer at home. Seemingly it is fine to doscriminate against those who have no mobile phone signal. Also, the setting of homework which requires access to the internet has crept in, but emails cannot. Double standards methinks.
     
  14. Can't escape paper and the phone. Both revolutionary in their time! No news etc - do we overload parents sometimes? Keep it simple. Many ask that we just get on with it and leave them alone.
     
  15. I agree totally. We are a small special school but a relatively large staff. The text service has not only been invaluable to us in contacting parents but has also staff too. Now we are all instructed to have mobiles ready to receive messages.
    Most of our parents use mobiles rather than landlines and we also now use the service for reminders about training days, end of term and beginning of term and days of closure. As on our service we can identify specific groups we also send texts to the parents whose children are due to go out on a trip, or the choir if an event is happening.
    It is very easy to use and has been well worth the money.
     
  16. We use Teachers2Parents and it is very well liked by the parents. Only the school administrator, head and deputy can use it to send texts so 'rubbish' can be filtered out. Also we only send to relevant groups or individuals.
     

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