The way parents communicate with schools and vice versa are changing all the time: a hand written note used to suffice to explain a child’s absence due to illness; a newsletter sent out every term used to cover all events; and a phone tree was used in the event of an emergency.
The age of instant communication has led to many schools investing in a text reminder messaging service, similar to those used by health and beauty practitioners, but these come at a cost with schools often needing to buy preset bundles.
It is shame that schools and colleges have not looked to their telephone system to deliver the answer to many of their communications needs.
While many have embraced an absence voicemail to enable parents/carers to report their child’s absence, using the same system for message broadcasting has been less utilised.
The beauty of the absence voicemail is that parents/carers avoid having to speak to reception staff at the busiest time of the day and their messages are picked up and recorded on the registers at a more convenient time.
A similar feature can be used to broadcast messages to callers on a whole range of subjects, such as a school closures due to snow, times of sports days and school plays, anticipated return times for school trips, etc, again negating the need to bother receptionists and making them repeat the same message over and over again.
Callers are greeted by the automated attendant that may invite them to: “Press 1 for reception, press 2 to report your child’s absence or press 3 for today’s announcements.” The announcements option will direct callers to a recorded message on the event of the day.
These messages can be updated as many times as needed and can even by updated from a remote location, such as from a mobile phone being used on a bus travelling back from a school trip.
If parents know they can rely on this announcement service, the need for a text messaging service is largely reduced...and so is the amount of money spent on using a text service.