St Charles RC Primary
Unique Challenge: Converting parents to paying online when they're used to paying with cash
Why did St Charles RC Primary want to go cashless?
We wanted to reduce the amount of cash coming into the school due to the possibility of it going missing etc. and encourage parents to pay online, which in turn would reduce cash handling for the office staff.
Why did St Charles RC Primary decide to use Schoolcomms to reach these goals?
We already had the Schoolcomms communication system in place which works very well and is very user friendly. Our priority for going cashless was a user friendly system that would be easy for both staff and parents to use and we already knew that Schoolcomms ticked that box. We asked other schools and after some negative feedback from other Business Managers regarding the different systems for payments they were using, we decided to go forward with the payments system from Schoolcomms.
Phase: Primary School
Local Authority: Salford
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What challenges were you concerned about and how did you overcome them?
We thought it may be difficult to convert parents but Schoolcomms provided letter templates to send out to parents explaining how to use the system and the feedback from parents has been positive. We also like the fact that the more parents we have using the School Gateway app the better as it reduces costs to the school when we message them.
Both parents and staff have reacted very positively to Schoolcomms. The staff love it as they don’t have to be finding cash all the time and parents can pay when at home. Parents have given good feedback as they pay for lots of other services online so are used to it. They also receive a receipt straight away which is more convenient for them and reduces admin time further for staff.
What has been the impact of adopting Schoolcomms?
The Payments system has had a very positive impact on our work in the office, reducing the amount of cash handling considerably. We were always very happy with the communication system and especially regarding attendance as it is very easy to use and is a quick and uncomplicated way to open two-way communication with parents and school.
Most parents now pay online for dinners, milk, school trips, afterschool clubs and more.
Does what it says on the tin - and for a very reasonable price - what more do you want?!
What advice would you offer to other schools looking for a parent app?
We would definitely recommend Schoolcomms – it is such an easy to use system and good value for money. The technical support is excellent – just ring and there is someone who will talk you through any problems. There is also no duplication as there are with some systems as Schoolcomms updates SIMS automatically for dinner money payments etc.
Going cashless checklist – getting parents on board
- How easy is the system for parents to set up and use? If the system you choose is difficult for parents to set-up then they won’t get on board. School Gateway (Schoolcomms’ Parent App) automatically generates login details for parents so it couldn’t be easier.
- Are you asking too much of your parents? Parents can end up with multiple logins which may become confusing. School Gateway provides parents with all the information they need in once place.
- Is your system flexible enough? Schoolcomms communicates with parents via app, text or email and parents can pay via card, Bank Transfer or PayPoint. If parents feel your system doesn’t accommodate them then they won’t use it – making it a waste of time and money.
- Problems with your data: Where does the system you have chosen draw data from? Schoolcomms draws data directly from SIMS so there’s minimal setup, no duplication and data is far easier to maintain.
Speak to an advisor
They can answer any questions you may have or walk you through a demonstration of the system and its capabilities