4 simple ways SchoolCal creates better informed and more engaged parents

 1. Accessible Information

Whether is it a last minute reminder for a school trip, a copy of the latest newsletter or pictures of the sports team victory, everything is accessible in one place and easy for parents to find.

 SchoolCal can also quickly point parents to your website

 

2. Unlimited Communication

No more counting characters!  We created SchoolCal on the belief that sharing the day to day activities alongside the big achievements leads to better informed and more engaged parents.  Which is why SchoolCal does not have any limits on use.  No bundles, add-ons or extras, just unlimited messages, pictures, documents, diary dates and contacts.

 

3. Personalised Engagement

Easily personalise how you engage with parents by selecting who should receive a specific message.  From individuals to classes, entire year groups or any group you choose.

SchoolCal groups can be used for anything from sports teams to school trips.

 

4. Greater Collaboration

SchoolCal can be used anywhere on any device, giving you the option to allow others in school to create, schedule and send messages.  Send live updates from school trips, personalised praise or simply share the workload. 

 

 Bonus benefit of SchoolCal - reduce costs!

Our schools are saving £1,000's per year by using SchoolCal, set up is quick, easy and includes on-site system training with on-going support.  Don't just take our word for it, see what our customers are saying:

“ A lot of parents are engaging into it and I’ve put loads on the calendar today which looks fab!! Love it! ” SBM at Sacred Heart Lancashire

 

Find out more or request a demo

5 Tips to Support Parent Engagement in Schools

Looking for ways to improve how you engage parents in your school? Try these tips to get you going.

 

1.Share the big and little stories:

Parents want to know that their child’s school has the ambition and drive to achieve their vision. Sharing plans, ideas and projects on a regular basis will help parents understand what a school is aiming for and what role they can play in that journey.

Sharing the day to day news, successes and ideas will not only help parents feel closer to their child’s education but it will also provide discussion topics for parents to speak to their child about what they have been doing in school.

2. Two way communication:

Communication between parents and schools should be two-way. Collaborating with parents by asking for feedback, ideas and comments will lead to improved engagement.

Asking for views from parents confirms the important role they play in supporting their child throughout school life. The current Ofsted framework also sets out that inspectors should ask for evidence that the views of parents are sought after.

3. Accessible and consistent:

Using one platform for school communications that is accessible across multiple devices at any time will not only make it easier for parents to get the whole picture but will also make that platform the go to place for trusted school information. 

4. Go beyond the school gates:

Sometimes the biggest impact on pupils can be the decisions taken outside of the school gates by local or central government policy makers. Sharing sector news on a regular basis will help parents understand the expectations of school and how national or local policy can directly impact their child.

5. Monitor Results:

How many parents are you reaching? Which parents are least engaged with your communications? Are parents getting more involved and expressing their views? A good whole school communication platform should be able to give you these answers and subsequently enable schools to identify those parents that are the hardest to reach. This allows for more informed decisions to be made on how best to engage with that group further.

 

Pupil Premium, the hidden cost of Universal Free School Meals

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It has almost been a year since the introduction of UIFSM (Universal Infant Free School Meals) and one side affect that some schools have experienced is a drop in the number of FSM (Free School Meal) registrations they received.

You might be asking why is this important and does it matter – surely free is free?

There is a crucial difference between the FSM and UIFSM program, since 2011 the school of any child that is entitled to a free school meal has received additional funding for that child via the Pupil Premium scheme, in 2015/16 a school receives £1,320 for every primary aged pupil and £935 for every secondary aged pupil, there is a higher rate for looked after children. In 2015/16 the total Pupil Premium allocation increased to £2.5 Billion. 

One suggestion is that the unexpected drop is due to the introduction of UIFSM (which entitles every reception, year 1 and year 2 pupil to a free school meal) as this has removed the key reason many parents register their child as being eligible for FSM, which was for a free school meal. Unfortunately too many parents still feel there is a stigma attached the pupils who claim FSM. 

The Pupil Premium funding is provided to schools to raise the attainment levels of disadvantaged pupils and more specifically to close the gap between them and their peers.  As a governor of two primary schools I have seen the direct and  positive impact the funding has had.

Schools have to publish the levels of Pupil Premium funding they receive, how this was spent and how it made a difference to the attainment of disadvantaged pupils on their school website.

The challenge for schools this coming academic year how to communicate the importance of Pupil Premium and the impact it can have on the child that is entitled to the additional resource.

Did the introduction of UIFSM affect the number of parents signing up for free school meals in your school and what strategies do you have in place to raise awareness amongst the parents of your new intake?

Want to find out more about the Pupil Premium policy try the links below


Pupil Premium Policy
Pupil Premium Awards

It texts two to engage

As a school, you have probably puzzled over which platform is best to engage with your parents and governors and may even have text or email systems in place to broadcast updates but do these really engage the people who receive them?

Email vs. text vs. Push Notifications: Which Is More Engaging?

Text messages and email may seem similar to Push Notifications but they have significant differences.

Cost:

For one it costs a lot to send text messages, many schools only communicate with one parent in order to reduce costs. Push Notifications are free to send meaning you can communicate with everyone you need and at the frequency you want not just what your budget allows.

Engagement:

Push Notifications have higher engagement rates than texts or e-mails because they lead to a personal in app experience. Schools can directly link parents to more news, key dates, ask questions, surveys or many other ways of interacting without the need to open links or go to browsers.

Emails are more engaging that a text as they can include more content, visuals and information however when received / viewed on a mobile can often lead to a poor experience reflecting poorly on a school if links are reliant on websites, pictures or content that are not mobile friendly .

Text and emails are often a broadcasting, one-way communication tool whereas Push Notifications can create effect two-way conversations between the school and parents.

Speed:

Do you need to send messages quickly? While both texts and Push Notifications have an average open time of 15 minutes, email is nearer 6.5 hours. A typical smartphone is on 16 hours of the day and looked at 150 times a day.

While it’s true that all three tools let you send one message to individuals and groups of people because of the advantages Push Notifications bring; cost, engagement and speed you should definitely consider this type of communication for your school to boost engagement and save money.

Smartphone ownership is showing no signs of slowing down and now mobile devices are the most popular way to access the internet.  Is now the time to look at incorporating Push Notifications into your school communication strategy?

To find out more or to book a webinar online at a time to suit you please visit www.school-cal.co.uk/features