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How do you do....it? Thread, Parental contact via SMS or eMail in Technical; Originally Posted by kmount We use Keep Kids Safe which has on the whole been OK until the first snow ...
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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmount View Post
    We use Keep Kids Safe which has on the whole been OK until the first snow day when the SMS went out at 7am and didn't start to arrive until lunchtime!!!

    Think lessons may well have been learnt as a result.
    That's interesting. We're currently trialling KKS for free but haven't yet sent out bulk messages. Just a few dozen each day for absent kids with no known reason for absence.

    TheCrust... just remember, any of these systems are only any good if the contact details are up to date. In my experience parents frequently change their mobiles and don't think about updating the school.

    KKS does message mobiles, landlines and email address' in turn if they're all on your sims server

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    terrorvis,

    It's been fairly faultless until that time when I imagine lots of people were doing the same thing!

    It continues to be used each day to send absence messages/voicemails.

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    NewOrder's Avatar
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    One of the problems with text messages is parents changing mobile every year and having a new number. The parents you need to contact are the ones that do not inform you when they change address, telephone and mobile. You only find out when there is an emergency and you try to contact them.

    With that in mind a telephone number for them to ring is better in the circumstances of general information but for trauncy I would say text messages is preferable.

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    Jobos's Avatar
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    One of my schools uses Teacher2Parents and the other uses ParentMail. After seeing both ParentMail wins hands down.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    We are currently doing the 'free' trial of KeepKidsSafe. It seems pricey to me!

    All the systems I've seen are 6p per message plus a couple of grand a year. That's with the exception of JANET txt which is only 4.5p per message and no annual fee!

    The Janet service doesn't have the same SIMS integration as others but I reckon that a few carefully crafted reports will easily do the job.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrorvis View Post
    That's interesting. We're currently trialling KKS for free but haven't yet sent out bulk messages. Just a few dozen each day for absent kids with no known reason for absence.

    TheCrust... just remember, any of these systems are only any good if the contact details are up to date. In my experience parents frequently change their mobiles and don't think about updating the school.

    KKS does message mobiles, landlines and email address' in turn if they're all on your sims server
    Can somebody clear up whether or not this system sends to ALL numbers the school has recorded in SIMS or is there the option to send it to only one?

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    Jamman960's Avatar
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    I trialed a few around christmas, mainly School Comms, Parent Mail, Clarion Call & School Post.

    I found School Comms annoying as you had to use their interface to send messages, it'd do stupid things like miss a line when you press enter etc. Also it wouldn't show the actual email addresses it was sending to, instead it'd tell you to look at the pupils account within sims.

    The web interface for clarion call was basic in appearance and overly complicated to use for non technical staff.

    Parent Mail was one of the cheapest we found however they force an email template upon you - every message has the schools name in big bold letters at the top and the email background is colour coded based on the urgency... green for not important, red if an immediate response is required. I just got the impression they had too much of the primary school attitude... as if parents aren't going to read mails from the school unless we make it clear how important the message is or have the schools name in big bold letters etc

    My favorite was School Post, we mainly wanted to use the system to email parents. School Post is fully customised for the school where as all of the others carry their associated branding... this was important for us as an independant school. School Post is basically a CMS with email notification for various groups. any publications the school sends are shown in the web interface and you can choose the response options including simple web forms or direct email reply's.

    They all offer text messaging at around 6-10p per message, most except School Post require you to buy "packs" of 1000+ messages, school post will invoce you based on how many you use each month.

    Cost wise Parent Mail was the cheapest followed by School Comms, Clarion Call and School Post. Unfourtunatly in the end our head told us to forget the whole thing and get the receptionist to build a list and mail our parents from outlook
    Last edited by Jamman960; 16th February 2009 at 08:40 PM.

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    lindylou (21st February 2009)

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    rh91uk's Avatar
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    We don't use it, but at one of my recent Network Manager forums we had a rep from Schoolcomms come down and demo and it was really effective. Really nice piece of software - unfortunatley I just couldn't sell it to work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edu-IT View Post
    Can somebody clear up whether or not this system sends to ALL numbers the school has recorded in SIMS or is there the option to send it to only one?
    Just the primarty contact AFAIK and there's a function to show who doesn't have complete info.

    Like I said though, some reports that generate CSV files and the Janet-provided system is far cheaper.

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edu-IT View Post
    Can somebody clear up whether or not this system sends to ALL numbers the school has recorded in SIMS or is there the option to send it to only one?
    The system contacts the primary contact. By default by text (if a mobile number exists) then by voice message to a land line, finally by email. You can choose to change the order per pupil if you require, or stop a particular contact method.

    If the system can not get in touch with the mobile or phone after three attempts (which are all charged) it places the number into a bad numbers list, and will not try again.

    I have to agree with Ric_ the system is fairly expensive. 200 a month plus messages at about 6p/message. Our attendance officer is sure it can save a lot of her time, and improve attendance significantly. I'm still waiting to be convinced.

    Our LEA provides a text messaging service, which I want to trial also. They suggest that messages will be coming down to about 3-4p soon. Then it's just writing a report to upload.

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    We spend less on sending texts/calls through KKS than we did on ringing mobiles.

    But that's our findings thus far only.

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    browolf's Avatar
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    another +1 for groupcall, pretty easy to install/use. the last update made it go a bit slow on our system tho...

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    We have one as well, our eContact product sends SMS, Email, Voice mail. It can also be automated to send messages for truancy and the like.

    Again all info at the website Bromcom Computers Plc | Management Information Systems for Schools & Colleges

    (plus a rather good short training video on setting up eContact monitoring lists by yours truly although that may be restricted to the users area..)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    Like I said though, some reports that generate CSV files and the Janet-provided system is far cheaper.
    The Janet system sounds interestingly useful... and there are APIs for all sorts of programming languages, so surely that plus the SIMs third party SDK should allow for someone to program something for sims directly (I may look into it myself if I get time). But the CSV file option looks like a good way to do it as well. There doesn't seem to be all that much info about the control panel side of things though, is it good?

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    I didn't realise KKS cost that much! I thought you just paid for the messages you sent.

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