“Schoolcomms has transformed our office and we have never looked back”Chris Ashley, Bursar
Ely St John’s Primary School
How did you hear of Schoolcomms?
Well we’ve been with you for years; it’s hard to remember now! I think it was an email that came through. We weren’t actively looking for a solution at this point but the email came through and it all sounded so good that we followed it up. I think we were the first school in Cambridgeshire to start using Schoolcomms.
What made Schoolcomms stand out from other similar systems?
“It was the ease of use and value for money that made our decision to choose Schoolcomms”
We did look at a few others; we visited some schools that were using other systems which generally included duplicating the input of data since they were ‘standalone’ systems and other companies visited us to give demos. There was simply no competition, it all just seemed so simple – so simple you could almost train yourself to use it – the real bonus is that it’s integrated with SIMS and is logical and straightforward to use. It was the ease of use and value for money that made our decision to choose Schoolcomms.
As a Bursar, how has Schoolcomms benefitted your day to day work?
“Now all the payments, whether cash, cheque or online can all be managed in the same place”
It’s freed up a lot of office hours; we used to spend time counting dinner money and doing the banking about twice a week. Now we only have to do the banking once every 3 weeks or so, as this all can be managed easily in Schoolcomms, so the admin staff have time to do other important jobs..
We also deal with bookings for music tuition, school trips and after school clubs within the Schoolcomms system. The Payments product has been great to help us set this up and identify bookings or overdue payments at a glance. Now all the payments, whether cash, cheque or online can all be managed in the same place and a receipt is automatically sent to the parents, fulfilling audit requirements.
How has Schoolcomms improved communications between school and home?
“It has made an enormous task no longer enormous”
Messaging has greatly improved attendance management, we can send texts to parents to explain their child’s absence within minutes rather than spend a lot of time calling each parent. Texting parents yields a much better response than calling. Schoolcomms has improved the induction process as well – we used to have to post individual slips to each parent of the pupils joining us from nurseries to inform them what class their child would be in, Schoolcomms has saved us money on postage and saved time as we can now send an email to every parent of the new joiners within minutes. It has made an enormous task no longer enormous.
For two consecutive years we admitted an extra class which would normally have necessitated more office hours. However, with Schoolcomms we were able to manage this without putting in any extra admin hours; it allowed us to cope with the additional number of pupils easily with the induction process still running smoothly and no additional cost to the school!
The process of debt collection has also been made easier with instant reminders via email or text to those parents with outstanding debts.
What would you say is the winning feature of Schoolcomms?
“It has transformed our office and we have never looked back”
The support helpline is always brilliant, I can get through easily and not only that, suggestions are always taken on board and followed up. It is obvious that Schoolcomms want to design the product for schools and work with schools to achieve that. It has transformed our office and we have never looked back.