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School communications report: Trends to look out for in 2024

Friday, 14 June 2024 by Weduc

School communications report: Trends to look out for in 2024

There are more ways to reach parents than ever before. In many ways, this is a positive shift - but equally it increases workload and complexity for schools.

So, we wanted to find out if schools’ current communication strategies are doing what they need to do: engaging parents. To do this, we recently carried out our annual school communications survey, asking staff from across different types of schools for their opinion on their school’s communication strategy.

In this blog, we’ll be presenting some of the findings from this survey – keep reading for more. However, if you want to jump ahead, you can download the full report here.

 

School communication channel trends

To start with, we compared the results of our 2023 and 2024 school communications survey results to find out what’s changed in terms of the communication channels schools are typically using.

  • Use of email has increased despite concerns around messages getting lost in busy inboxes and determining if emails have been read. 
  • Use of text messaging has increased even though schools view this channel as having the most limitations. 
  • Printed letter use has increased despite the availability of digital channels.
  • Use of social media channels has also risen, despite concerns about controlling conversations, extra workload and privacy and security issues. 

 

Effectiveness of school communications

In addition, we asked schools what percentage of parents typically read and respond to messages.

  • Only 13% of schools say they regularly reach over 90% of parents. 
  • 32% of school reach less than 70% of their parents. 
  • 54% of schools typically reach between 70% and 90% of parents. 

 

Communication chaos: What parents think

We then asked parents about their experience of school communications.

  1. They want to be more engaged

86% of parents said they would like a high level of communication with their child’s school - but 40% say they don’t feel a high level of engagement.

  1. They don’t want to receive too many messages

85% of parents that feel engaged with their child’s school believe the frequency of communication they receive is about right. But for those parents who aren’t feeling engaged, only 34% say the same.

  1. They’re getting too many irrelevant messages

Of those parents who feel disengaged, only 18% say the communication they receive is either always or mostly relevant. Of the parents that do feel engaged, 79% say the communication is always or mostly relevant.

 

How do schools deliver parental communications?

  • Increasing channels ­­- across schools, over 40 different systems are being used to communicate with parents. Astonishingly, 50% of schools are using six or more channels, indicating that many schools seem to be opting for a 'let’s do everything’ approach - in the hope maybe that at least one will reach parents. 
  • Primary communication channels - email, text and In-App messaging are the main channels schools use to communicate with parents, with 93% using one of these methods. However, In-App messaging was the preferred choice of communication channel. Although, only 40% of schools use In-App messaging as their main form of contact.
  • Channel limitations ­- schools stated that text messaging had the most limitations and email was in second place. However, schools using in app messaging felt it had the least limitations as a communications channel. In fact, 57% stated it had ‘no limitations’.  
  • The right number of messages - 45% of schools said that they send 10 or more messages to parents each week. However, parents who expressed a high level of engagement were comfortable receiving around 5 school messages a week. Indicating that some schools are actually send more messages than parents can keep up with. 
  • Targeting and inclusivity - our survey found that only 23% of schools send highly targeted communications and 37% of schools have no ability to target groups of parents. However, of schools achieving 90-100% parent engagement, 68% sent either ‘very’ or ‘mostly’ targeted communications to parents. 
  • Social media in schools - 65% of schools are now saying they are using social media as a channel to communicate with parents despite issues around privacy and security. Furthermore, limitations in functionality and the ability to target parent groups or see who has read messages make using social media for parental engagement difficult.
  • Impact on workload - importantly, the more channels a school is using to reach parents, the higher their workload. 45% of schools say parental communications consumes either a ‘high’ or ‘significant’ amount of admin time. Indeed, of these, 24% are managing a staggering nine different communication channels.
  • Parent and school satisfaction - almost a third of schools and parents are dissatisfied with their communication solution and think it could be improved. This is despite schools spending an increasing amount of time communicating with parents.

 

What does good look like? The blueprint to getting it “just right” 

Are you wondering why school communication matters so much?

"Our research indicates that schools are working harder than ever to deliver good communications with parents, but still struggling to get parents to engage."

So, how can schools reduce their workload but improve their communication with parents?

Well, based on the full results of the survey above, we created a checklist to give schools a guideline of how to communicate effectively with parents.

You can find the full results of the survey and the checklist in the report here.

 

How can ReachMoreParents help?

Looking for an example of effective communication in school?

Our research indicated that schools should be sending the majority of their messages through one channel, such as a school-branded app.

However, not only can the ReachMoreParents school communications software house all the information parents need to engage with their child’s education in one place, but it can also integrate seamlessly with our range of other products. Including our Parent App, Attendance Tracking App, Homework App, Parents’ Evening System, and custom branded apps for schools.

To find out more about how to develop an effective communications strategy for your school, click here to book a discovery call at a time that suits you or drop us a line via our enquiry form.

Start reaching more parents today