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What are the benefits of a well-planned, and easily managed, parents’ evening?

By EdTech Discussion No Comments

Parents evenings; they’re a universal tool used to better communication and build relationships between schools and families. They’re an accumulation of moments of a year, a painted picture of a child’s academic achievements and well-being, and a chance for some of the most important people in a child’s life to come together to help to create a better future.

They are a vital component of education infrastructure.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Let’s break this down and talk about the benefits of this for those involved.

Schools

By planning ahead of time and implementing a parent’s booking system, it allows schools to be organised, both for present and future parents evenings. This includes allowing teachers to know in advance who they are seeing and when, and personal choice over scheduling and topics of discussion – such as awards, homework or behaviour.

This consequently steers meetings towards being more targeted, relevant and effective for both teachers and families. Here, the use of technology helps to grow parental engagement and interest, offering real life benefits in expertise of importance.

Online parent’s evenings are a great example of how technology has helped to revolutionise education systems. Now, multiple teachers can join various online meetings with one click; allowing parents to meet with subject leaders, senior leadership members or any other member of staff involved in the child’s education.

A countdown timer clock, visible on screen throughout, allows both teachers and parents to see the start and end meeting time, as well as how long is left in the current meeting. This ensures that each child, and their parents, are given an equal amount of time, promoting a consistent approach threaded within, and beyond, the meeting.

As well as this, parent’s booking systems are simple and easy to manage for school admin staff; simply taking under 5 minutes to set up but saving up to 100 hours of staff time and between £50 – £100 on office paper and ink. In this example, the mathematics makes perfect sense. Parent’s booking systems are easy to use, and easy to understand, offering brilliant solutions and no-nonsense outcomes.

“It’s transformed our lives in many, many ways.”

“It’s really taken us to the next level.”

“I would highly recommend this to any school, anywhere.”

“Parental bookings have definitely increased since we rolled out the system.”

“It was so much easier just to book online to be able to get the appointments that I want, at the times that I wanted and fit it into my life.”

Parents/ Carers

The new, and novel, way of booking that parent’s booking systems bring, has created a shift in culture that has lead to greater parental engagement. The tools in the system that have brought about this change ensures ease; both in terms of access and in booking.

The use of a ‘Booking Wizard’ (a one-click touch) maximises your time whilst still allowing you to see your allocated teachers at your preferred time.  This incredibly effective way of allowing parents to book, can allow parents to see their evening schedule in 15 short, sweet seconds – and it can be emailed directly to their smartphone, lending itself towards even greater ease. No paper, no chasing, no long waits. It’s a stress-free solution that plans itself around you, for you.

Over the last 18 months, we have watched technology weave it’s way into the school day; from virtual show-and-tell, to online lessons, to uploading your homework through a camera and smartphone, we have watched the world re-build, and people come together, as life fell apart. Video meetings have allowed what we envisioned to become a reality. Technology now allows schools to hold their parents’ evenings virtually through an online device, such as a laptop, computer or iPad.

This means that previous issues of moving from classroom to classroom, struggling to find a parking space, listening to distracting noisy conversations or losing your slot to other parents are simply eliminated. Multiple parent’s can join from different locations, meaning night-shift workers could join during their work break, a parent can join as their dinner cooks in the oven, or conversely, a parent could join from a different continent, if their child attends a boarding school during term time.

Gone are the days of difficulties on public transport, of 20-minute gaps between appointments, of not getting to see the one teacher you needed to see, of a lack of accessibility and thought. And here is the future, all from the comfort of your own home; inclusive, flexible and calmer, video meetings are a way of living that meets everyone’s needs – and they’re loved by teachers and parents alike.

Children and Young People

By increasing the ease of access, and providing schools with a toolbox to engage hard-to-reach families, important conversations around goal-setting, future-building and potential-reaching are able to happen. By providing the time and place, positive conversations are able to happen between the home and the school. By creating a simple addition of parent and teacher, the answer continues again and again, to equal student success.

The greater parental involvement, the greater parental understanding, resulting in better educational experiences and outcomes for children and young people.

There is anecdotal evidence from local authorities, multi-academy trusts, leaders in education and schools universally that they will continue to incorporate video parents’ evenings this new academic year and long beyond. We need to be prepared for the likelihood that across the globe, in-person meetings won’t be going ahead as social distancing rules continue. But it is so much more than that. The habits of a nation have changed. The shift in technological communication is here.

And that’s where we (Parents Booking) come in…

“One of the strengths of this system is that it does allow us to chase parents where bookings haven’t been made with a particular teacher.”

“The parents are able to organize the appointments in a way in which suits them.”

Here at Parents Booking, we believe that we can help you plan calmer, manageable and successful parents evenings, online. The next level of parents’ evenings are here.

Let us help you get prepared now, and be part of the technological change that is here to stay.

Are you ready?

Set your school up a free trial to get started. This video will also demonstration how video parents’ evening meetings work.

New features for 2021-22

By EdTech Discussion No Comments

Firstly, welcome back. We hope you had a relaxing and refreshing summer, and managed to soak up some rays!

This blog article lists the exciting changes we’ve made to Parents Booking since last academic year. You can click on a topic below and this will open that specific change in a new blog post, usually complete with a video explainer.

Also, these are some of the things we’re looking to add ASAP this term:

  • Screen sharing and a chat box in the video meeting room.
  • Ability to email teachers their appointment schedule one-at-a-time or in bulk.
  • Parents and teachers will be able to login from RM Unify in one click.
  • Schools will be able to import Pupil Premium status for students, where wanted, to help with priority inviting or chasing parents this applies to.
  • One click data import for the following MIS/SIS school databases: Arbor, Aspen, Engage, PowerSchool and Progresso/Cloud School.
  • Making changes to teachers on the Teachers page will automatically ‘update’ in an evening, which is a big change from how the ‘logic’ of the product works currently.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions just let us know.

Best wishes,

Parents Booking

New Events and Clubs Module changes for 2021-22

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We’ve been hard at work upgrading the Events and Clubs module this summer, and below are a list of the changes we’ve made so far:

  • The capacity for events and clubs are now tied to the date, not the actual event, meaning where you run an event or club over multiple date ranges, with a capacity of 20 for example, this is the capacity per date now.
  • In the school’s Admin Area > Set Up School > Preferences page, there is a new text field that allows the school Admin to determine a maximum number of clubs that a student can be registered for within one group/term. This will be perfect for schools who don’t want the first parents to login to be able to book more than their fair share of clubs.
  • We have integrated with Stripe, meaning that it, ParentPay and PayPal are all ‘payment gateways’ that schools can configure to take payments online.
  • We’ve added more currencies, so that schools who operate internationally should be able to take payments in their currency.
  • Clubs and Events will very soon use the same Reg Class ‘selection’ interface as parents’ evenings, because we know from trials and feedback that this is much more popular than typing in the Reg Class names.
  • Hopefully by 1st Sept we’ll have launched a new type of Club, which allows parents to select multiple dates. This will be perfect for wraparound care, breakfast clubs and after school clubs where parents can opt students in on selected dates, rather than all dates. An example of how this will look is below.

New video meeting features for 2021-22

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As ever, we’ve been hard at work over the summer, and in this case in particular we’ve been adding lots of nice new features to our video meeting module, to improve the parent and teacher experience so that meetings are even more immersive and helpful to all participants.

  • When you hang up during a meeting, you do not leave the meeting any more. You are held in the video meeting room until your next meeting starts.
  • A countdown timer now shows how long until your next meeting starts, before or in-between meetings.
  • Parents and teachers can see if the other meetings they will have are ‘online’ or not now. A red circle icon indicates the other participant is not in their video room at this moment in time, whereas a green circle icon indicates the other participant is in their video meeting room.
  • Teachers can now click on a parent’s name, in their video meeting room’s appointment schedule, and expand more booking information, such as contact information and comments submitted by the parent.
  • Parents can share a ‘join link’ that will allow other parents to join the booked video meetings in one click, without even the need for a parent login.
  • Parents who have meetings ‘shared’ with them (by other family members) can now opt out of joining these from their Parent Dashboard > Show Appointment Schedule page.
  • The school Admin can define which region the video meetings take place in, in case this is required. See Admin Area > Set Up School > Preferences page.
  • The school Admin can see not only which parents/guardians booked and attended their meetings, but also which extra parents/guardians attended, e.g. when the meeting was shared with them. See Reports tab’s List of Attendees and similar reports, on the day after the parents’ evening, for this data.

At the time of writing we intend to add the following within the next month as well:

  • Screen sharing and a chat box in the video meeting room.
  • Better error reporting, e.g. when a video meeting cannot connect we will explain as best we can to the parent/teacher what the issue is.
  • When multiple users are in the video meeting room, we want to show you the person that is talking to you at all times, so we will code the “video area” to work this way.

Emails are now being sent from parents-booking.co.uk

By Software Updates No Comments

New for July 2021, emails from Parents Booking will now be sent from the domain name @parents-booking.co.uk rather than @netmedia.co.uk

This is a simple change, but a nice one.

Parents, Teachers and school Admins have been being sent emails from our parent company’s email address for about a decade, and it occurred to us that this was not very helpful when it comes to recognising whether the emails are legitimate or not – after all, @netmedia.co.uk is not that familiar a domain name. So, going forwards, all emails will come from noreply@parents-booking.co.uk, whether they’re booking invites, reminders, confirmations, cancellations, password resets or even your annual invoice.

We hope this helps.

There is just one thing to be aware of: If your school was previously having to “whitelist” @netmedia.co.uk so that your school’s teachers could receive their password resets (or if emails suddenly stop being sent to teachers), you will likely need to ask the IT team to do the same with @parents-booking.co.uk (and @eu-west-1.amazonses.com, because we use Amazon AWS’ EU servers to send out our emails), which is why we will write to all customers to make this point. We have already noticed that schools using LGFL mail are experiencing this, and we’d like to ensure this won’t be an issue next term.

More Functionality when Inviting Parents

By Software Updates No Comments

We’ve re-designed how parents are sent their invite to parents’ evenings, 1-to-1 meetings set up by teachers, or events/clubs by school Admins. Parents can be sent an invite individually (for example when you are looking to prioritise invites/bookings to certain parents) and later you can send invites to everyone else. You can easily see who you have and have not invited.

This video very quickly describes the changes and how the new features work.

Payment Integration with Stripe

By Software Updates No Comments

You can now take payments for events, clubs and trips through Parents Booking’s new integration with Stripe.

The video below demonstrates how this all looks and works, and by going to your school’s Admin Area > Set Up School page, and expanding the Payment Gateway Settings section you can download the latest version of the Stripe integration instructions.

Shareable Link for Video Meetings

By Software Updates No Comments

We have recently added a ‘shareable link’ to Parents Booking, for video meetings, meaning that parents can copy and share a link (website address) which will allow other parents, carers or even students to join the video meetings that the original parent has booked.

This ‘shareable link’ will be included in parents’ booking confirmation emails by default as well, making it easy to just share the email, which includes appointment times and the ‘sharable link’, with anyone the parent wants to join their appointments.

The demonstration video below shows how this all works.

Can I Add A Translator To My Teachers’ Video Meetings?

By Software Updates No Comments

Yes, you can.

Parents Booking customers can have 2+ teachers in their video meetings, and one of those ‘teachers’ can be a translator if you like.

Steps:
1. Take all your parents’ appointments like normal
2. After the boking deadline has passed and you know who the translator(s) will be, you can create them an account on the Teachers page. They don’t need any students added to them, they just need a name, subject/department (“Translator”) and email address, which they use to login.
3. Then, on the Manage Bookings page, you can go to each class teacher and tick the bookings you want the Translator to have, and use a new blue button at the top of the page called “Share Bookings” to share them with the translator. This adds the Translator to the parents’ evening and when they login they can join the booking the parent made with the teacher.

Related blog post and video about how to share video meetings with other teachers.
https://knowledge.parents-booking.com/multiple-teachers-same-video-meeting/