Brentry Primary School
Unique Challenge: A lack of man hours meant restructuring the school payment system had to be straightforward and easy
What goals were Brentry Primary School hoping to achieve when you decided an app would be good for your school?
Due to a staff restructure and a loss of admin staff we needed to reconsider, as a school, how we could restructure the school payment system to save time and ultimately money. After looking at various system, we decided that Schoolcomms was our best fit.
The majority of your parents were using the app before you fully implemented the system in September. Did you undertake any preparation to improve uptake in the run up to implementation?
We introduced the system as a soft approach at the beginning of June with no more cash payments being taken from 1st September.
By allowing ourselves a transfer period during the summer term, we were able to ensure that 90% of our parents had the app, were registered and able to make payments before September. Some parents needed to come into the office and be given assistance to set themselves up, but having the transfer period gave us time to help those parents that needed it.
Phase: Primary School
Local Authority: City of Bristol
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What has been the impact of implementing Schoolcomms?
Since last September we have successfully put the majority of our payments through Schoolcomms and it has transformed the way we collect, register and bank payments.
How did you turn your staff into Schoolcomms’ champions?
Before announcing to parents, we shared with the staff and explained the reasoning and the impact on trips. We shared sample documents with staff and showed them how we would be able to monitor pupil payments and also offer instalment payments more easily on the camps. The admin team participated in all the Schoolcomms Online Tutorials to ensure that they understood the process and felt confident to deal with teacher and parent queries.
So, how much is Brentry Primary School saving by using free app messaging?
If Brentry Primary School replace just one text per pupil with a free message to parents with the app, they will be sending 184 less texts per day. 184 texts, charged at 6p (the average cost for a school their size), would have cost the school £11.07 per day or £2,103 per school year.
What advice would you offer to other schools hoping to implement Schoolcomms?
I think our tips for success would be to ensure that the admin team are fully trained; you have your teachers buy in through sharing the benefits; a transfer period where you still accept cash payments and time to help parents where required. We would not go back to the old system!
Turning unsure staff into Schoolcomms’ biggest advocates
- Make sure your staff understand the benefits: Staff want the best for their schools, so taking the time to explain how Schoolcomms will help your school should get them on board.
- Train your staff up: If your staff are not trained to use the system they will become frustrated and likely believe the system is more complicated than it really is. It is therefore important to make the most of the free training and Online Tutorials.
- Share milestones with your staff: It’s easy for a new system to be swallowed in the day-to-day routine of a school, so remember to let staff know when milestones are achieved. This could be recognising how much money or time School Gateway has saved the school or positive feedback from parents.
Speak to an advisor
They can answer any questions you may have or walk you through a demonstration of the system and its capabilities