Like most schools, Colne Valley Specialist Arts College traditionally relied on letters or emergency notices to communicate school news. However, these methods were unreliable and time consuming. The school turned to SMileS to improve communication with parents, guardians and staff. The system is used for external communication to inform parents of any closures due to bad weather, school trip reminders, report reminders and internal communication for example, to arrange staff meetings.
“Our school has around 1,450 students plus 150 staff and associates. Text messaging is the best way to contact such a large audience quickly and easily. A huge advantage, and a vital part of our disaster planning strategy, is the ability to access SMileS service from any internet-enabled computer. We also needed something in place quickly and SMileS was up and running within 48-hours,” said Judith Franklin, associate head, Colne Valley Specialist Arts College.
Since SMileS was introduced, the school’s communication with parents, guardians and staff has improved beyond recognition. It now sends news, events and parent review reminders by text. Collecting mobile numbers for the database proved relatively easy. Many parents and guardians voluntarily updated their details as the text messaging benefits became obvious. Text messaging has drastically reduced post, phone and associated staff time costs. It’s allowed the school to fund the SMileS texting system from existing budgets.