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How do you do....it? Thread, Any alternatives to Parentmail? in Technical; My school is currently attempting to upgrade to the new Parentmail system PMX having had numerous issues with Parentmail2. Suffice ...
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    sjb
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    Any alternatives to Parentmail?

    My school is currently attempting to upgrade to the new Parentmail system PMX having had numerous issues with Parentmail2. Suffice to say it's not going well so far - three weeks in we still don't have a functioning system. It seems to be very newly released and not quite finished yet...

    We use PM for the majority of our communication with parents, so really need a reliable system. I was hoping PMX would be the answer, but just like the upgrade from PM to PM2 it seems to have lost some of the key functions that we need (like being able to add staff members to year groups) and made things worse rather than better. Our contract is up for renewal in April, and I wondered if there are any other systems available that offer the same functionality as PM? We mostly use email and occasionally text, and need to be able to send messages to both groups and individuals and send attachments, preferably with school branding.

    Thank you!

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    MailChimp? Not an education only solution but is used to handling large numbers of users, users can actually be bulk imported and you can report on read rates, click through rates and all manner of stats. You can use all manner of branding and templates as well as groupings and segmentations. It can also do some funky automation like if a user clicks through on a link it can carry out a task (email them or you a message for one).

    Now as an aside we are not using MailChimp yet, it was recommended to us by our web/marketing company and I looked into it. If I got my sums right then it blows PM out of the water on price. I guess any reputable bulkmailer would suffice. the only thing it doesn't have is text messaging so if that is a need you'd have to have a secondary system. We were looking at some mail to text solutions.

    HTH

    EDIT: On the issue of attachments I would generally recommend storing on your website and either linking directly to the file or link to the page where the file is available. Unless of course it is a personal document like a bill or report.

    EDIT EDIT: They do have an Event SMS service, whether that could be used for schools I'm not sure. But at about 30 for 2000 texts again it is mighty cheaper than PM.
    Last edited by TechMonkey; 24th February 2014 at 03:30 PM.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    We use Schoolcomms which has been excellent.
    School to Home Communication | Online Parent Payments System

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    IWDave (26th February 2014)

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    sjb
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    Thank you - will look at those options.

    Took the plunge and went live on PMX this afternoon and it's worse than I realised. When I send an e-letter parents now just get an alert from PMX and have to log in to their PMX account to see the text of the message! Fortunately the PM2 account still seems to be working so will hastily retreat back to that for now.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Capita InTouch?

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    We used to use Clarion Call before parent mail.

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    Cache's Avatar
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    We use Schoolcomms which works pretty well and we've not had issues with the Email/SMS side of it.

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    IWDave (26th February 2014)

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Always recommend @Schoolcomms simple solution feature rich stable and reliable. Used it from years ago we brilliant then.

    They have a imessage/whatsapp style Internet messenger portion now called Parent Gateway.

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    IWDave (26th February 2014)

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Always recommend @Schoolcomms simple solution feature rich stable and reliable. Used it from years ago we brilliant then.

    They have a imessage/whatsapp style Internet messenger portion now called Parent Gateway.
    Yeah parents love that, can't use it to make payments yet but I think that's on the way?

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    sjb
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    Thanks. Have set up a free trial of schoolcomms. Looks like it's cheaper than PM too.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    I think that is the plan to tie their payments system into the application.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Always recommend @Schoolcomms simple solution feature rich stable and reliable. Used it from years ago we brilliant then.

    They have a imessage/whatsapp style Internet messenger portion now called Parent Gateway.
    How does that work. Do they download an app? Is it free to send messages like that?

    Cheers

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Yes parents download the app for free then it works like whatsapp essentially. Group messages can be sent out, and if they have the app it is free for the school because it is a wifi style message not a text. I think there is then the option to text of some parents have not got the app. Huge savings to the school.

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    I should also say it is messages going out parents cannot see everyone in the group or anything like that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Yes parents download the app for free then it works like whatsapp essentially. Group messages can be sent out, and if they have the app it is free for the school because it is a wifi style message not a text. I think there is then the option to text of some parents have not got the app. Huge savings to the school.
    Yeah its all done automagically, if you send a text then the parents with the app get the message via the app, the rest get a regular text.
    Oh and the app reports back when the message has been read. Proved very handy for us in certain circumstances
    Last edited by sparkeh; 25th February 2014 at 12:43 AM.

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