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General Chat Thread, Staff Email Address Policy in General; Hi Edugeekers, I'm looking for some opinions. As part of my project to improve remote access to resources for students ...
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    Mr.Ben's Avatar
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    Staff Email Address Policy

    Hi Edugeekers, I'm looking for some opinions.

    As part of my project to improve remote access to resources for students at our school I'm looking to migrate them away from RM Easymail into our Live@Edu solution.

    However SMT are reluctant to allow this to happen as students (and therefore parents) would then be able to see our Staff members email addresses - we have had problems in the past with parents getting hold of email addresses of senior leaders and going to them directly with problems that should be address to tutors first (because of the nature of the type of students we have here this could be a problem)

    I'm in the camp of why shouldn't they know them?

    I don't really want to put them on a separate domain as this would create some overheads (another FIM installation for syncing accounts?). Students already have access to google apps using our primary domain name, and I want them to continue to only have a single login for everything - I really think this is key to having a coherant 'cloud' strategy.

    SSO with skydrive would also be a big plus for our students - our storage space is quite limited here.

    What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by Mr.Ben; 27th March 2012 at 06:23 PM.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Technology is not the problem, but the culture of how staff deal with contact with parents.

    Once you have staff well practiced in the response to parents and others of "I'm afraid I cannot deal with directly at the moment and you can find the relevant contact details at ..." and once the red mist of the first few parents has died down, then it works out fine.

    A well established communication plan which gets the message out to parents who to contact and how is a good thing anyway ... the tech just fits into it as a tool ... not a problem.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    We don't get that quite so much but all our SMT just forward on mail to people below - as soon as parents have done this a couple of times and tutors/heads of house/year respond they go to the person who they know get a response from. Of SMT deal with it quickly then they will keep coming back.

    Toby

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    Mr.Ben (27th March 2012)

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    We don't directly give our parents staff e-mail addresses of our staff. All correspondance is directed to our generic school account then forwarded to the relevant person generally the HOY to deal with. Some HOY are often difficult to catch due to them being lessons etc, so some of our staff have passed on contact details via e-mail to ensure that the members of staff can be contacted where necessary.

    Behaviour at school is on the whole generally good, so we don't seem to have to high of demand with parents and staff communicating with each other via either telephone or e-mail.

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    I've run into this a few times.. schools do manage to have kids and staff together in a GAL, they tend to be relaxed, cool even, and somehow manage to survive whilst taking advantage of the system by actually mailing each other etc... whereas schools that want it otherwise tend to be neurotic about everything. I've tried telling the latter that since they've (typically) used a preditable formula/convention to create their staff e-mail addresses then any kid that they've actually educated a teensy little bit will be able to figure out most of them in the time it takes their teacher to connect a laptop to an IWB, but alas...

    It is a cultural *problem*.
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 27th March 2012 at 09:26 PM. Reason: tpyo

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @all:

    Its something to do with keeping your job syndrome with staff as has been the case with social networking sites, there are strict guidelines for safe working practice for adults who work with children and young people.

    Professionals who work with young people have to be very wary these days and this is probably the reason behind not wanting students and parents to know their work e-mail addresses. I wouldn't like a parent contacting me via e-mail and letting off steam, what protection does a staff member have if this was the case?

    As @Sylv3r has stated a generic e-mail which can be forwarded to the staff member who deals with this communication usually the PLO team. This can then be kept as a reference in case of any dispute with parents.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    All is takes is for one staff member to email one parent/student once for their email address to be 'exposed' and at that point the entire idea of keeping email addresses hidden is null and void.

    It is a matter of correct discipline and making sure parents know the proper channels to go through to get information and also that staff know they can reply with a 'please email xyz its not my issue'.

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Technology is not the problem, but the culture of how staff deal with contact with parents.

    Once you have staff well practiced in the response to parents and others of "I'm afraid I cannot deal with directly at the moment and you can find the relevant contact details at ..." and once the red mist of the first few parents has died down, then it works out fine.

    A well established communication plan which gets the message out to parents who to contact and how is a good thing anyway ... the tech just fits into it as a tool ... not a problem.
    I agree totally. Personally I respond to parents emails as both a Form Tutor and a Subject HoD. I really do not mind them mailing. I have a feeling that I'm in the minority in my school.

    If there is something I cannot answer I ask and then reply. I will always send a polite email saying I have received the contact and will answer fully soon. I don't do this straight away but by the end of the evening. If I had loads of mails I guess it would stop but I don't get that many.

    Gareth

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    Quote Originally Posted by bossman View Post
    Professionals who work with young people have to be very wary these days and this is probably the reason behind not wanting students and parents to know their work e-mail addresses. I wouldn't like a parent contacting me via e-mail and letting off steam, what protection does a staff member have if this was the case?
    Their alleged professionalism, the Malicious Communications Act and the Communications Act ought to cover it.

    A huge number of people in many professions endure folk, their "customers", letting off steam e.g. Customer Services, Support, Police, Health, Social Services etc. Teachers generally tend to be hardened to steam-letting in person, at least TOH is, so I'm a bit puzzled by the alleged sensitivity to indirect abuse.

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    bossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiqueABoo View Post
    Their alleged professionalism, the Malicious Communications Act and the Communications Act ought to cover it.

    A huge number of people in many professions endure folk, their "customers", letting off steam e.g. Customer Services, Support, Police, Health, Social Services etc. Teachers generally tend to be hardened to steam-letting in person, at least TOH is, so I'm a bit puzzled by the alleged sensitivity to indirect abuse.
    Why does it puzzle you?

    I think it is quite straight forward enough, they have a choice so why are some technical staff getting involved and making the choice for them?

    I wouldn't dream of imposing a system on staff if they decide that they don't want to have direct contact via whatever electronic means.

    Its all about customer service and I class staff as well as students and parents my customers and that is why I listen to all of them and we as a school make informed decisions based on customers choices.

    How would you like some irrate parent giving you grief through your e-mails?

    X that by 10 or even more and it becomes a nightmare, turn it around, try getting information from parents when they change address, change phone numbers, change e-mail addresses or even getting this information in the first instance!

    Its a real PITA for all concerned and that is why we as the technical people need to be aware that staff do sometimes rely on us for privacy.

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    jdoyle's Avatar
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    parents are perfectly entitled to put in an FoI request and ask for all staff email addresses. They are work/role related and not personal data. Staff need to be aware of this as an FoI policy and also that the content of their emails can be subject to an FoI request. If they use their personal emails for work related communications then their personal email addresses may fall into the scope of an FoI request.

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    We provide all staff emails on request and have no issue with parents knowing them. All students have full remote access to our email system and can access staff email addresses (and are encouraged to email staff with questions and issues) through the global address book (we run Exchange) so there'd be no point us trying to hide them!

    All staff emails follow a common format anyway, so it's not like it's hard to guess what an email address should be!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Technology is not the problem, but the culture of how staff deal with contact with parents.

    Once you have staff well practiced in the response to parents and others of "I'm afraid I cannot deal with directly at the moment and you can find the relevant contact details at ..." and once the red mist of the first few parents has died down, then it works out fine.

    A well established communication plan which gets the message out to parents who to contact and how is a good thing anyway ... the tech just fits into it as a tool ... not a problem.
    Agreed, with us we have Exchange - our email address have been changed from Surname with First letter of the Firstname @COMpany to SurnameFirstname@Company. This change was actually suggested by CET and being a community based School it seemed much better, not just about being professional but making it easier for staff/students and outside people to email the right person.

    We have even gone another step and added several email addresses to our website for parents etc to easily contact the head of departments. No matter what you will have that "problem parent" but lets face it how many parents have the time to sit on email?

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    We don't make staff emails readily available on publications. They're normally aliases (i.e hoy7@domain.tld, hoy9@domain.tld) because it cuts down on the faff when people switch roles.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdoyle View Post
    parents are perfectly entitled to put in an FoI request and ask for all staff email addresses.
    Not true. (Or, not always true - see #FS50344341 as an example). You can only ask for email addresses of certain people. So CEO, CFO, someone relevant to your query etc - all fine. Bob the cleaner? Not so much. Clearly getting those addresses to spam people with your product? Also not so much.
    Last edited by pete; 28th March 2012 at 10:17 AM.

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    Why not just hide the addresses from contacts and autocomplete? Google apps does it.

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