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How do you do....it? Thread, Parent mail type services. in Technical; I'm currently looking into mailing services for the academy which will allow us to bulk e-mail, text message parents etc. ...
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    maniac's Avatar
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    Parent mail type services.

    I'm currently looking into mailing services for the academy which will allow us to bulk e-mail, text message parents etc. and I want to find a few so I can evaluate them side by side before we chose who to go with.

    The only problem is the only one I've found so far is parentmail, but I'm sure there are others that exist that I've seen mentioned on here in the past, so can anyone tell me the names of other companies which offer this service - I've not managed to find any by googling, but I'm probably using the wrong search terms to find them!

    cheers,

    Mike.

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    steve's Avatar
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    Depends which MIS you use.

    For SIMS capita have just launched their own - intouch. Others for SIMS include schoolcomms and callparents.

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    maniac (14th September 2010)

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    I believe Parent pay have just launched there new communication center which i think does all the stuff you are talking about - you could then move to online payments in one fell swoop?

    toby

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    elsiegee40 (8th September 2010), maniac (14th September 2010)

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    A few to consider:

    ParentMail no direct links to SIMS but inital population from SIMS data

    Teachers2Parents

    KeepKidsSafe has links to SIMS

    HomeContact


    there are more!

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    maniac (14th September 2010)

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    john's Avatar
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    I looked at ParentMail, Teachers2Parents, Serco's partnership do-dad thingy, and Groupcall's and went for ParentMail as it was best value for money, seemed to offer far more flexibility for the admin staff and just a general all round better package.

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    maniac (14th September 2010)

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    CSNM-Carl's Avatar
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    I know the guys behind E-mail and Text Messaging for Schools and Organisations - Free Trial and they really know what they are doing!

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    maniac (14th September 2010)

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    we use edutxt - txt messaging for education - I can recommend them.

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    maniac (14th September 2010)

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    sister_annex's Avatar
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    I think we also use Teachers 2 Parents

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    maniac (14th September 2010)

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    We use Schoolcomms - no problem with them, but I may investigate alternatives when our annual contract is up to see if there any cheaper alternatives available.

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    maniac (14th September 2010)

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    We use clarion call here and are very happy with it. It updates from our MIS (PASS) each night, does emailing, texting and voicemail boxes.

    We did have parentmail for a year but had a few problems/issues with both them as a company and their system. The main gripe, it was in no way effective as an emergency contact system (snow days last year).

    Ben

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    maniac (14th September 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_Stanton View Post
    We use clarion call here and are very happy with it. It updates from our MIS (PASS) each night, does emailing, texting and voicemail boxes.

    We did have parentmail for a year but had a few problems/issues with both them as a company and their system. The main gripe, it was in no way effective as an emergency contact system (snow days last year).

    Ben
    Thats interesting Ben they marketed it as great last year in the snow chaos with no issues or anything and they were 100% successful with all messages, no delays etc, I hope we don't have epic weather again!

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    first poster here ... but i have to start somewhere

    We use ParentMail and have nothing but good things to say about them. (Our messages worked brilliantly last year through the snow?) The other thing I must say (as a techie) is that it's great to always be able to speak with a human being there ... I notice one or two of the others now do support by email, and are not keen to talk to schools when there is a problem.

    There's also one or two innacuracies in this thread about the ParentMail SIMS link i.e. It isn't just on setup, you can run it as often as you like to sync data.

    We're also looking at ParentPay for payments but ParentMail have just added a payment module called +Pay (... I think) which we've seen a demo of and it looks brilliant.

    The SLT team meet to discuss both options amongst other things in a couple of weeks so we'll see what happens.

    Amanda.

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    Amanda,

    Thats interesting - I hadn't made the connection between communications and taking payments until you mentioned the two together.

    I was suprised when I delved a bit deeper that it looks like at least 10% - 15% of our messages relate to something that needs payment from parents and that excludes all the dinner money chasing we have to do.

    Any idea how Parent Pay with comms stacks up vs ParentMail with Payments?

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    Quote Originally Posted by backoffice View Post
    Amanda,

    Thats interesting - I hadn't made the connection between communications and taking payments until you mentioned the two together.

    I was suprised when I delved a bit deeper that it looks like at least 10% - 15% of our messages relate to something that needs payment from parents and that excludes all the dinner money chasing we have to do.

    Any idea how Parent Pay with comms stacks up vs ParentMail with Payments?
    Backoffice, I've now seen both systems properly so can give you my thoughts.

    1. ParentPay has cashless catering links setup whilst +Pay doesn't yet (but I've spoken to the Director responsible for +Pay (Mr Temple) and he has given me a list of the first 6 cashless companies +Pay will integrate with and confirmed the links will be live by January. They are already coding the API's)
    2. ParentPay's new comms suite (Parents Communications Centre) seems disconnected/separate from the payment system. It's not integrated into the payment items/events which means you have to remember to generate manual messages at the right time.
    3. +Pay integrates messaging (email/sms) into the payment items i.e. as you create each payment item/event, you add in the relevant parents and setup the messaging type/date. It's all one process so that once the payment item is setup the messages go out automatically at the right time and only to the specific parents (not to everyone).

    Looking at the parent side there seems to be a big difference.

    1. ParentPay - parents see all items that could be paid for (even those not relevant) and when the parent pays for an item, it still remains visible i.e. it could be paid for twice!
    2. +Pay - parents only see the payment items that are directly relevant to them and when they pay for the item it vanishes from the display (moves to history).

    From a purely aesthetic perspective +Pay wins hands down and it has IMHO a much nicer/easier user experience. I think since ParentPay has been around for some considerable time it will undoubtedly have bells and whistles that +Pay doesn't have, but for us we're already using ParentMail and so +Pay is the obvious choice.

    Hope that helps and isn't too biased!

    Amanda.

  24. Thanks to Nuttyprof from:

    backoffice (24th September 2010)

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    john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuttyprof View Post
    1. ParentPay - parents see all items that could be paid for (even those not relevant) and when the parent pays for an item, it still remains visible i.e. it could be paid for twice!
    Sorry to be slightly OT here but people will no doubt spot it on this thread, that statement is incorrect. IF your services are setup correctly then if its a pay once, EG a one off payment for a trip, a hoodie etc then once paid its gone and vanished from your account. They will remain on if they are repayable (as you need to use them more than one hence the repayable part of the name).

    Parents also don't see every item, you have to assign Services to students / staff, you can globally assign items to everyone by one click but its only a couple more to assign to a tutor group or year group or house so it can all be done very quickly so just the correct student(s) can see what they need to.

    Services ParentPay Support some of the PDFs and videos on that page should help you set that up better as I think that could be why you feel its not suitable for your needs.

    (I am no way connected to ParentPay just I work with our Finance Office to move us onto all electronic or as close as we can get thus am fairly up on these things from assisting them)

  26. Thanks to john from:

    Nuttyprof (25th September 2010)

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