Formal School Communications

School Communication Channels

Recently, we sought feedback about communication channels used by the school. We realise that we have issues here which need resolving. We also know from this feedback and from last year that we have differing expectations from the parent body. The expectations that parents have of each other is also varied. A few years ago we moved forward (we thought) from the traditional hard copy note sent home with children. The old system was expensive and often notes never went to the parent, until a search of the schoolbag was conducted. Since this time we have implemented a number of different electronic formats to communicate with parents. None of these are unanimously accepted by the parent body and to utilise all of them each time is a management nightmare. While we have a two week leadout policy for most communications we also miss the mark on this sometimes. With up to twenty different people needing to initiate communications, the process can take far more time and resources than it deserves. Holidays also impact on knowing the best time for reminders. Information that goes out too early is often overlooked or forgotten.

I can imagine many of you reading this saying, “What’s so hard? It’s simple just … “

The problem is there are multiple parent responses that often conflict with each other. What we do know, without question, is that we are utilising too many formats for formal communication. Parents are unsure where to get the information from and other than myself, there isn’t a person on staff that can work every communication device that we use.

Formal communications will be streamlined to one method. It may not be the preferred method by every parent but the need for consistency has proven to be a theme shared by all who have given feedback. The Skoolbag App is supplied and managed by an outside source and has been plagued by minor issues which impact on consistency. We will close this down and cease its use. The school website will continue to have newsletters posted to it. In 2014 we adopted the Caremonkey system where student medical information and permission notices were handled electronically through their App and website. While this had been taken up by a majority of parents, there were still some who had reservations about its use. As such other methods had to be implemented for these parents, this created another layer of communication and notice handling. We will contact Caremonkey and have them electronically wipe all St Kevin’s data and cease use of this system as well.

All notices will now be sent home via a single format. Email will be the only electronic formal device used by the school. On occasion where necessary, we will still send a hard copy of notices home. ALL notices sent home, either email or hard copy will be posted to an online archive for easy access if something goes wrong on the parent side. This “Parent Portal” is linked to the school website on the publications tab.

Teachers will continue to use social media and web2 technologies to communicate with parents and inform them about happenings in the class and on excursions. The formal communications are notes sent home on school letterhead with teacher’s signatures on them and these include permission notes.

School newsletters will also be archived here in 2015 rather than the traditional location on the school website. In this way ALL notices are consistent and located in the same place. In 2015 School Newsletters will be produced on a fortnightly basis. The next school newsletter will be on Friday 20 February. Between times the school will continue to communicate happenings informally on social media and the school website.

We will trial this system during term 1 and then seek further feedback from the parent body as to the success or not of the new system. We have also taken on board feedback regarding timing of notices and we hope that this now improves as well. Please remember though we are human and errors are part of the business. We just don’t want to keep making the same errors! Lastly thank you to the parents who went out of their way to provide some feedback on this issue. It is much appreciated.

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