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MIS Systems Thread, Keep Kids Safe in Technical; Morning, I've been informed that our SMT are looking to purchase "Keep Kids Safe" to alert parents when their darlings ...
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    Keep Kids Safe

    Morning,

    I've been informed that our SMT are looking to purchase "Keep Kids Safe" to alert parents when their darlings don't turn up to lessons... Now, whilst I'm all for improving attendance I can't find anything on their site pertaining to how it works etc from a technical perspective, IE, firewall needs, SMS gateway etc?

    Any advice (info on costings would be fun too) welcomed.

    Cheers.

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    mwnci's Avatar
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    We are trialing this at the moment. You have to install an agent on your MIS server which passes relevant details to the Keep Kids Safe site - hosted remotely. All of the SMS stuff is done at their end. Install was pretty pain free and it certainly seems to do what is says it does, with a few nice features thrown in. I'm not sure about the costing of it.

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    CheeseDog's Avatar
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    Using this here at the moment.

    Seems to run fine and is hassle free admin seem more than happy with it.

    Installed the client here and forget it's even there sometimes so not causing me any work here.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    I assume the main sticking point would be making sure people actually do their registers though - or you'll be sending out loads of spurious txt's

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    Precisely my thoughts. - Last thing I can imagine the reception staff needing is some angry parent calling in to say their child was reduced to tears the evening before for being accused or truanting.

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    CheeseDog's Avatar
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    It requires a member of staff to authorise the texts so any issues like this would be down to an error by the admin staff.

    It would be quite easy to see a register that hasn't been called.

    Not sure but I'm think in the situation described above an attendance code is needed and an uncalled register wouldn't contain any.

    This is what the page looks like where you select the pupils

    Last edited by CheeseDog; 19th May 2008 at 01:24 PM.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    We have a similar one here ... there are a few on the scene at the moment, SchoolComms, Groupcall, etc ...

    They hook into SIMS to get the contact details of the student and their primary contact person. Once they have all the student / paren / staff data they then hook into attendance to get a list of attendance marks.

    The general daily process for us is as follows.

    The registers are taken (on OMR at the moment) in the morning registration period. Anyone who is late is recorded at the gate by our inclusions staff (who also deal with attendance). Any late to their tutor time we now know about it. Anyone who gets into school before tutor time but bunks off tutor time gets marked as absent ... their fault for bunking off tutor time!

    The sheets are read in via the OMR reader, the really late comers have signed in at reception and this list is passed on the Inclusions to update Attendance. Schoolcoms is then run ... picking up the missing people and giving you the option of email / SMS / other (used for recording that we have phoned etc).

    A quick check is made as we have some parents who have said *NO* to the service (which we allow as long as their son/daughter is not a likely truanter) and those who have to have phone calls get taken off the list.

    The email goes out ... a suitable period is waited and then the phone calls start. "Sorry ... he was meant to have a note..", "The little scrote ... I'll kill him when I get home!"

    The message we put across is that if they are not registered in the morning then they are pulling a fast one for at least part of the day. We don't care whether it is tutor time or the first period ... failure to register is failure to attend. We have had this attitude for a number of years so it is not just an SMS thing.

    It can be applied to any attendance notification system really.

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    For those of you who have this or a similar system in place, what's the effect on unauthorised absences over time? Do the more immediate notifications encourage punctuality and attendance by pupils who might be a bit slack otherwise?

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    CheeseDog's Avatar
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    We've found our attendance has improved quite a bit.

    At a primary here as well so that might tell you something about parents' response to getting nagged by SMS. (Might be something to do with it being harder to get away from than just not answering the phone)

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    Smile

    In terms of the results on unauthorised absence over time, an interesting example is Dundee, who installed Groupcall in 9 out of their 10 Secondary schools.

    After an academic year using the system, they compared the attendance figures to the previous year and found that unauthorised absence had been reduced by an average of 20%. The one school that didn't use the system had no change in their figures.

    Lawrence Royston
    Groupcall

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    It is worth noting that other such communication companies report similar figures to GroupCall, and there has been a Govt initiative to make use of such technology in schools, including funding for it.

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    Just need to watch out for 'false positives'.

    My sister works as an admin at a 2000 student secondary in Essex. They got bombarded with parents complaining about incorrect text messages. I don't know what system they were using but it took absence data and fired automatic text messages out to parents.

    Students on trips or legitimately off-site for whatever reason were being pinged for being absent (or their parents were!)

    It caused such a problem they stopped using it. Human intervention as always in the key in appropriate places.

    As a consequence the school has seen a poor take up of subsequent technology based initiatives

    Not being funny .... but Mr Royston woud say that wouldn't he as the MD of GroupCall !!

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    We don't use auto alerts, our admin team select who to send them to; and certainly with KKS there's an exclude list such as for sixth form etc.

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    Facts regarding automated messaging and Groupcall

    I would be very surprised to find out that the 2000 student school is Essex is a customer of Groupcall, because our messaging system does not sent messages to parents automatically and never has done. I completely agree with you that human intervention is important here and that has always been our view.

    It is also worth mentioning that the Messenger system runs locally in school and looks at real-time attendance information. Schools can search on specific attendance codes (usually 'N') to bring up a list of students marked unauthorised absent. Therefore, if students were marked correctly in the register as legitimately off-site, they would NOT come up in this type of search and therefore not be 'pinged'. I can only imagine that the system being used in that school was not looking at real-time MIS data.

    Unfortunately, all systems are not the same and I am sorry that the school had a bad experience of this type of technology, but it does work and I am not saying that because I am MD of Groupcall, I am saying it because hundreds of schools have proven it to work over 7 years.

    Kind Regards
    Lawrence

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    I completely agree with the above. We do not use Groupcall or KKS but another system more closely aligned to and interactive with SIMS.
    The procedure is the same, however, and it needs Human interaction with the software to ensure that correct data is being sent to Parents.
    Last edited by Sivadam; 2nd April 2009 at 10:44 PM.



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