Case study: Wyborne Primary School
Fully engaging with parents while driving down expenditure
Effective budget planning and management is one of the biggest priorities within any school. It allows leadership teams to optimise stretched resources, reduces the risk of funding shortfalls and ultimately brings improved educational outcomes. With financial constraints ever-present in the education sector, it’s never been more important to stay in control of the budget.
Reaching and engaging with more parents in a seamless, more cost-effective way is certainly one area schools can look at. Wyborne Primary School is an excellent example, adopting the cutting-edge Reach More Parents software platform by Weduc to streamline tasks for staff, helping them engage with parents in new ways and remove unnecessary expenditures.
Scoping the challenge
Based in Greenwich, London, Wyborne Primary School is a large school with around 450 pupils aged 3-11, with 65 teaching and support staff. It is a member of the Bradgate Education Partnership, a multi-academy trust.
In a large school such as Wyborne, communicating effectively with parents can be a time-consuming, expensive and complex undertaking. The school had been sending out notices and newsletters to parents via a myriad of methods, including text messaging, email and letters sent to home addresses. It was running ten different applications to support communications and admin, with accompanying costs and loss of efficiency.
Gathering the latest updates from 15 classrooms to put together a newsletter to parents was time-intensive, as was communication about forthcoming events such as school trips, which included sending letters. Information also didn’t find its way to parents in a timely fashion. Add to that the cost of text messaging, stationery, postage, and printing resources (including device maintenance and ink), and you can see why the school looked for more efficient and cost-effective forms of communication.
Tracey Morris, Office Manager at Wyborne, set out to review several different systems with the objective to improve engagement with parents and drive down overheads.
A user-friendly platform
Mrs Morris discovered ReachMoreParents at the BETT show in London, a major education technology trade exhibition with more than 1,200 solution providers. A demonstration immediately showed how user-friendly the software is. What quickly became apparent were the features that would be beneficial and enable the school to reduce its regular outgoings on parent communications. As a result, the school decided to adopt ReachMoreParents.
To ensure effective implementation, the school approached the integration of different features on a gradual basis. The initial focus was on the Newsfeed, Calendar and Notices features. The Newsfeed, much like the one found on social media platforms like Facebook, provides real-time updates to parents.
The Calendar feature syncs Google and Microsoft calendars with ReachMoreParents, enabling parents to save events directly to their own calendars. Finally, Notices acts as an online noticeboard, allowing the school to create a notification chain with reminders for key messages.
Up and running in quick time
With a user-friendly interface and minimum training required, it only took an hour for all teachers to be up and running with the system, saving on potential costs that would otherwise be allocated to training to utilise alternative solutions. They can now share information and upload pictures to the Reach More Parents platform's Newsfeed to show parents and their staff the great work the school is accomplishing. Parents equally gain value from the Newsfeed element of the platform, with the ability to communicate back to the school with controlled comments and likes. The system also pushes alerts to the app that flash up on users’ smartphones – a time-saving feature that is popular with teachers and parents alike.
“ReachMoreParents has greatly improved our communication with parents. Our staff are hugely impressed with how easy it is to communicate important information such as date changes to parents, as well as ask for authorisation for pupils to attend school trips and other events. Before, we had about 10 different applications running at once, which was almost impossible to manage.
We now have all the information on one screen, making our lives much easier.” Tracey Morris, Office Manager
Using ReachMoreParents, teachers can easily see who has opened a notice and provided authorisation for their child to attend an event. Teachers can then confirm any date changes and attendee numbers swiftly, and then follow up with any parents that have not yet responded, all with one click. With a more accurate picture of requirements, the school avoids devoting unnecessary resources to support attendance at events.
Alongside easy-to-share information and reminders with streamlined communications, teaching staff can group classes, years and clubs. The school also saves on operational costs that were previously spent on stationery, postage and text messaging to communicate with parents.
“The system is so easy to use! ReachMoreParents staff trained me quickly in how to use the technology so I could pass this knowledge on to the teaching staff. It took less than an hour before all users were up and running.
Enthusiasm for the technology has also extended to the parents, with 70% of them using the app within the first month! System admins benefit from live chat support and school users and parents can access telephone and email support in case of any queries.”
By fully adopting ReachMoreParents, the school has saved both time and money, with the system also helping the school to meet its environmental goals by having paperless communications. Looking ahead, Wyborne is looking forward to working with Weduc to progress its parental engagement and communications strategy in line with its vision.
If you want to find out more about how ReachMoreParents can help your school, call us on 01509 221 349. Or send us a query here. You can also take a look at our web pages to see what we can do for primary, secondary, independent schools, and trusts.