How to choose the right school attendance tracking software
According to research, there is a strong link between regular attendance and academic achievement. In contrast, high levels of absenteeism can lead to detrimental outcomes. Whether a pupil attends regularly or not is the primary indicator of how engaged a pupil is with their studies - missing classes inevitably means that pupils miss out on vital information. As a result, enabling regular attendance should be a priority for every school.
However, manual attendance tracking is an extremely resource intensive task – so resource intensive that some schools have a member of staff who is solely responsible for tracking attendance. As a result, schools are desperate for comprehensive and efficient attendance tracking software to streamline their attendance tracking process and give staff members their time back. But with several attendance tracking software options on the market, how can schools work out which one is right for their needs? Keep reading to find out.
The importance of attendance tracking software for schools
Manual attendance tracking is a huge job, and it gets even bigger the larger a school is. For example, if 5% of pupils can’t come in every day of the week, in a school with hundreds of pupils the phone line is bound to get blocked up if all those parents call when it opens at 8am. This results in a backlog of voicemails that the school needs to listen to before they can even log each absence and let each pupil’s teachers know.
And after all this work, the only data they are able to use to understand why pupils are absent and spot any significant patterns is dispersed and time consuming to compare. This means schools can’t implement the necessary changes to increase attendance.
Attendance tracking software, however, relieves schools of this enormous burden and can also give them the cohesive data they need to be able to reduce absences. For example, if a child is being bullied, a parent can log this in the attendance tracking app, instantly making the school aware of why their child doesn’t feel safe coming into school. And as they say, knowledge is power.
In short, innovations like Reach More Parents’ attendance tracking software turn a labour intensive process into something slick and empower schools to make more accurate interventions.
Key features to look for in high quality software
- Unauthorised absence spotting
The best attendance tracking software for schools should quickly identify any unauthorised absences, whether it’s a full day or one lesson, allowing schools to intervene as soon as possible. This way, schools can pinpoint truancy early on and identify the cause before it becomes more of a problem.
- Easy access to data
With a high quality attendance tracker, it should be possible to check attendance data whenever, wherever. This way, parents and staff members can identify larger trends quickly or drill down into individual data to ensure every pupil is getting the support they need and implement wider initiatives and incentives to improve attendance.
- Easy to use
Parents should be able to inform schools about any absences, and upload any supporting evidence, directly from the homepage of their school app. This way, there should be no need to clog up the school’s phone lines and rely on students to pass on important information.
- Tailored contact preferences
With a high quality attendance tracker, parents should be able to choose whether they’d prefer to be contacted by app, email, text, or phone. This should increase responsiveness and strengthen parent engagement.
- Branded to build trust
An attendance tracker should blend in seamlessly with the rest of a school’s software, meaning it should be built bespoke to every school and incorporate their individual branding.
- Digital registration hub
To create clarity for every member of staff and ensure everyone has the information they need, all attendance information should be held in one accessible place, with pre-authorised absences noted and identified. This should also make class registration a quick and easy process and ensure information is always up to date.
- Automated notifications
A truly seamless piece of attendance tracking software should automatically create lists of unauthorised absences and send out automated app, email, or text notifications to parents as soon as an absence is recorded.
User-friendly interface and training
If attendance tracking software isn’t easy to use, parents are unlikely to use it – it’s that simple. If it’s less complicated for them to call and leave a voicemail, then that is what time-pressed parents will do.
So, to ensure your attendance tracking software is easy to use, it’s important that it integrates seamlessly with the rest of your school software. That way, parents and staff members will already know how to access it. But it’s also important to ensure that users can access support when they need it. This is where it can be incredibly beneficial to work with a software provider, like ReachMoreParents, that can provide user training and ongoing customer service support.
Security and Data Privacy
As data privacy concerns in schools abound, manual attendance tracking - which is generally known to be insecure and prone to errors - risks the exposure of sensitive pupil information. Attendance tracking software for schools, however, uses a secure digital platform to collect and share data, meaning data security is inbuilt into the software, supporting compliance with GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Compliance with regulations isn’t the only benefit of using time and attendance tracking software, however. By ensuring the safety and confidentiality of pupil information, you can put parents at ease and help encourage disclosure of information that might help you tackle problematic behaviour, particularly unauthorised absences.
At ReachMoreParents, we believe school attendance tracking should be a seamless, secure process for both parents and school staff. That’s why our attendance tracking software helps to keep pupils and their families safe and supports measures for increasing attendance and preventing unauthorised absences.
Plus, when you use the attendance tracking software from ReachMoreParents, you get access to our parent support helpline – so that you don’t have to think about tech support for parents on top of everything else.