St Mary’s C of E Primary School
St Mary’s is a large primary school in North Devon. This case study explores how the use of parental engagement tools helped St Mary’s to increase efficiency as well as better communicate and collaborate with parents by giving them a clear view of their children’s school life.
St Mary’s were running various systems to communicate with parents and to collect payments. However, these systems were fragmented and extremely manual and they were keen to integrate everything for staff and parents, so they only had one place to look. They were also forced to use manual workarounds to move data from SIMS into other apps, which was inefficient and time consuming. Tim Miles, the School IT Technician explained their challenge;
“There were inefficiencies from duplicating tasks, paying for different systems and the cost, time and GDPR risks around sending paper data collection sheets to parents.”
St Mary’s wanted an effective parental engagement tool that would be easy for parents so that they could participate and be informed of their child’s progress and education and give them an easy secure route to update home and pupil information. Additionally, they wanted to simplify administration by making the management and collection of payments easier and provide 2-way communication with parents.
A member of the Scomis Account Management team visited the school to understand the school’s priorities and demonstrated the SIMS Parental Engagement solution. Powered by SIMS InTouch, SIMS Pay and SIMS Parent app, the solution provides a joined-up approach to enable schools to engage with parents.
Scomis provided onsite training at St Mary’s and the school promoted the benefits to staff and parents of having all your pupil information in one place. With schools now recording more information than ever before about the children in their care, there is a wealth of information that schools could be sharing with parents. The SIMS Parent app allows schools to easily communicate with parents, whether it’s sharing information on attendance, homework or school reports, parents can stay on top of their child’s progress.
“We saved on admin and printing costs by publishing school reports through SIMS Parent app.” explained Sally Westlake, School Business Manager.
With the SIMS Parent app, schools can collect the most up-to-date data about pupils and their parents, to comply with the GDPR requirement for data accuracy. St Mary’s has the ability to send notifications to parents, reminding them to update their details, reducing manual data entry and eliminating paper-based data collection. Using the app, parents can provide additional information such as medical details or dietary requirements and once a request has been submitted, automatic emails are sent to nominated SIMS admin accounts.
With SIMS InTouch, the communication tool, schools can notify parents straight away of school closure or unexplained absences via email or text message and parents can quickly reply. Sally explains,
“It saves on time, postage and telephone costs by just being able to click a button and send out communications to everybody.”
SIMS Pay helps you easily collect school payments from parents simply, securely and cost effectively, whether it’s for school trips, uniform or clubs. At St Mary’s this is integrated with SIMS Dinner Money and allows parents to receive automatic payment reminders when their child’s school meal balance is low.
“Having everything in one place makes it easier for parents to see when payments are due” explained Sally, “helping the school to save time and reduce payment administration.”
"The SIMS Parent app has given our parents an easy and convenient way to access accurate and live information on their child from their smartphone. From attendance and school reports to making payments and updating information. The school has benefitted from a reduction in administration and printing costs by having everything in one place as well as increasing parental engagement."