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Going Paperless - Emailing parents


tinkerbell1403
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I am getting sick and tired of parents not reading the letters/newsletters etc that we send them in paper format. We have a website, facebook page and written communication with parents. I have a training day this week and I still have parents telling me they didn't know about it. How much do I have to hand hold these parents?

 

Anyway I am looking at going paperless as much as possible and would like to send out our letters to parents via email. No we don't have the money in the budget to purchase management software for this but just wondered if there are any other settings that use email successfully without using management software?

 

I don't really want to waste time inputting individual email addresses every time I need to send an email.

 

Any suggestions?

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I don't really want to waste time inputting individual email addresses every time I need to send an email.

 

Any suggestions?

Seriously can't believe that i am giving any sort of 'techie' advice - but can't you make a 'group' on your email system?

 

Or - to hide addresses use the Bcc function

 

Probably talking nonsense and/or missing the point :blink:

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I do via email - exactly how Sunnyday has said - I use gmail and have set up a group with the title of my pre-school on....HOWEVER.....I still have numerous parents who tell me they just delete it when I ask if they received it!! It drives me totally insane. All our newsletters, reminders etc are given to parents by email, on our face book page, posted up on the room doors, put on our website and also reminders are given verbally so I now also have gone back to giving out paper copies too - yet some STILL say they didn't know about events etc.....I'm seriously considering getting parents to sign a form when I hand a newsletter to them......

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I do via email - exactly how Sunnyday has said - I use gmail and have set up a group with the title of my pre-school on....HOWEVER.....I still have numerous parents who tell me they just delete it when I ask if they received it!! It drives me totally insane. All our newsletters, reminders etc are given to parents by email, on our face book page, posted up on the room doors, put on our website and also reminders are given verbally so I now also have gone back to giving out paper copies too - yet some STILL say they didn't know about events etc.....I'm seriously considering getting parents to sign a form when I hand a newsletter to them......

 

Glad to hear it's not just me that has this constant battle!!

 

I was trying to do a mail merge but because I have to log onto my BT business email through the internet I can't sync it with outlook to do the mail merge - very frustrating.

 

I will have a play around and see how to get it set up as a group message. Just aware I don't want parents seeing each others email addresses with data protection. Thanks

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I put everything on website. I also print off 1 copy in large print and put it on notice board with reference to website. Some parents take a photo of it other look on website. If they claim that they have not been informed I just say "sorry that you forgot to look"

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Glad to hear it's not just me that has this constant battle!!

 

I was trying to do a mail merge but because I have to log onto my BT business email through the internet I can't sync it with outlook to do the mail merge - very frustrating.

 

I will have a play around and see how to get it set up as a group message. Just aware I don't want parents seeing each others email addresses with data protection. Thanks

If you do as Sunnyday said and put the group/email addresses into the BCC line then they won't see each others emails (Blank Carbon Copy) :)

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I've tried either way, although year my group email from our bit account doesn't seem to work.

 

At the beginning of each half term now, I print off newsletters, bills and anything else that needs sending home and staple everything together fir each child, write their name on it along with, bill attached and grant firm due now etc. If I just gave them a pile of paper they wouldn't read it.

 

If they say they haven't had their bill/ grant form etc, I saw yes you have it was attached to the newsletter, can you look for it.

 

Bills are due for payment this Friday though, I wonder how many will have a £5 admin fee added for late payment.

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:wub: I'm feeling quietly impressed with myself ::1a

 

So you should be!

 

I think it's a perennial problem - it doesn't matter what the format is, they will claim they knew nothing about it!

 

I've made stickers and stuck them on children's jumpers before now! 'We are closed on Thursday' or whatever. I've even made deliberate mistakes on newsletters to see who actually reads them! How about a competition hidden in the newsletter?

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Ive decided not to let it bother me any longer!! They get their newsletter, their bills etc. hard copy and a copy on the notice board of the newsletter, I e mail accounts and if they dont know what's happening it's their fault! I'm not interested in their tale of woes, about I've lost it, the equivalent of the "dog's eaten my homework" etc. Funding forms they must fill out at the setting.

 

If they turn up and the setting is shut it's their fault, not mine I have done all that I can and I can live with that.

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Oh Panders I could have written that post too - we went "paperless" 2 years ago and it doesn't seem to matter what we do it is the perennial problem of taking the horse to water but you can't make it drink it.

 

I have a hard copy of the newsletter on the noticeboard and then each half term I email out (using Sunnyday's bcc method) to parents advising them that the website has been updated and that there is a new newsletter to read.

 

Over Christmas we had to "threaten" to cancel our Nativity play and the children's Christmas parties due to lack of interest i.e., hardly anyone had read the newsletter and therefore didn't respond to let us know that they wanted their children to take part.

 

This year I have decided that if it isn't my problem I'm not going to take ownership of it - so if I have published the newsletter (or any other missive) and then emailed parents to say it's on the website then that's it - I think in the past we have done far too much "hand holding" which has just disempowered parents so it's time to make them "masters of their own destiny" - should be interesting !!!!!

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Glad but disheartened to know that we are all in the same boat! We stopped handing the newsletter to the child to give to their parents and now hand them over personally (with child's name on top as many dump them on the top of the coat pegs when they are getting coats etc and leave them there) with the child's name on at least we can get them back to the parent. We also make sure we give chidlminders, Grandparents and both parents a copy if they collect child but are not at same address. The number of parents who 'blame' each other because they did not 'see' the newsletter!

 

Just like mrsbat we considered getting them to sign for it but really... WHEN will they start to take some responsibility. It is easier to blame others rather than accept your own failings!

 

Last week the local authority released the list of children in our setting for whom they had not received an application from their parents for a school place... so I chased them up and one had the nerve to say and I quote "Why you leave it so late?" :o :angry:

 

This despite the fact that we have been telling parents since September that they needed to apply, gave them copious amounts of reminders including face to face at parents evening and - yes you guessed it... in NEWSLETTERS <_< and there was one hec of a big poster in the cloakroom. PLUS we actually spoke to this particular parent in person as we guessed that they might not be as on the ball as we hoped for... and yep we were right. But to turn round and blame us for his misgivings gggggrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Sorry rant over :blink:

 

If newsletters were saved as a PDF and sent by email do you think they would bother reading them?

Edited by apple
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If newsletters were saved as a PDF and sent by email do you think they would bother reading them?

No...

 

I think the main issue is general information overload in society. To ensure that the parents who need to be reminded of something get the information, I only send it to them, as BCC (undisclosed recipient). That way they (hopefully) don't feel 'targeted' and the amount of information sent out to all is reduced. Alternatively we speak to them in person at the end of the day.

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I use text, I text various things such as newsletter is on website and ensure you pick your copy this week. I can send quick reminders about events/closures and so on, parents can opt for say grandparents or child minders who do pick ups etc to be included in text service. Works well and it's a god send if something happens like snow closure :)

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Since September I have started to put the info in the body of the email. I was including it as a word doc or pdf but as so many read emails on their phones,it is much easier. We do seem to have a better response to them, of course this could just be the parents we have this year and yes we do still get the odd couple that always state they havent had the email.

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We have had a parent who has missed the deadline for applying for a school place for her son this month. She had a leaflet from the LA (via us) a reminder from us, a poster on the front door, a poster on the notice board, a poster on the room door and the week before the deadline a huge handwritten sign on the notice board. She claims to have seen none of them and it was our fault, obviously.

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Unbelievable, and yet, sadly, totally believable.

 

I agree that short and to the point is possibly the best way forward. Do away with newsletters altogether and send out short bits by text. I think that's the way to go. Will be less time consuming and paper-effective too! Just note on the notice board with same wording and dated.

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Yes i have not managed to read all the posts.. but some and easiest way is to email to all at once as explained by Sunnyday.

 

Have you thought about Texting parents important information.. these texts can include links to your newsletters etc stored on your website of course.. it would be very much like the texts that schools send out. Many mobile phone contracts have unlimited texts.. and all you would need are all parents numbers stored in a phone.. and just like the emails it sends to all at once if set up right.

 

The other option is a mobile app for your setting that sends push notifications to people who have downloaded the app.. but this can b quite expensive and parent's would need to have the app, so pretty much the same battles.

 

Well yes that's my ideas.. other than telling them directly until you are blue in the face!

Edited by BroadOaks
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We have similar problems to you all - parents constantly saying they didn't know about something. In the first week of January, we took it in turns to stand in reception with a list of names and grabbed every parent as they passed to check if they had submitted their school admission application and a few of them hadn't ! even though we've put it in newsletters and had a poster on all the doors since November.

 

We do send newsletters each term and we have a text service (Teachers2parents - quite a reasonable price) which shows us whether texts have been delivered - unbelievable that they claim not to have seen them when everyone these days seems to have their phone permanently attached to them! We also have a large screen in reception that we update with messages and reminders every day. Not sure what else we can do. But to be honest, I agree that parents have to take some responsibility and everyone on here seems to be doing enough - so if you have a record of what you've done, and someone doesn't see it, I don't think you should worry.

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Yes we have all of the above problems, have tried countless ways of getting into across. We now email all info in a short and consise way. With a copy on the wipe board by the door. We too have now backed down and have decided we cant continue to supply this info in 10 different formats!!

Email does seem to work well, we had two emergency closures last week and these were received by email format.

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Thanks for all of your feedback. We do make use of text alerts for parents but again just another job that takes me away from what I should really be doing!!

 

I think i need to make my peace with it and know that I have done everything in my power to inform these parents. Just wish they would take responsibility!!!!

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Also another good way to get info to parents (some parents at least!) is via Tapestry.

 

We use Tapestry and have found that many parents (more than in the past methods) have engaged with it.. due to their ability to view learning journals and contribute. Many just like to have a quick look, whilst we have found many have contributed.

 

So with this new found engagement and interest in their child's learning.. we can simply update all parents with a post at once.. and this can include a picture and text.. links whatever.

 

The many other benefits of using an online journal such as Tapestry make this feature a bonus!

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I love the idea of saving paper so I think it's a wonderful proposal :) There will of course be the problem of people not reading them, but those people probably wouldn't have read the paper ones either. You could use every means of communication conceivable and I'm quite sure the same people still wouldn't pay any attention

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We are trying to email more, and I address the email to the pre-school address and bcc all of the parents from a contact group I have set up.

 

However, they still don't tend to take any notice!

 

We now email the newsletter, also have a paper copy of it in the foyer at the pre-school and send reminders and we still get parents not having any idea of upcoming events, and it's the children who suffer, when they don't have an easter bonnet or Father Christmas doesn't have a present for them (we then scrabble around trying to come up with something!).

 

There is no easy answer!

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  • 2 weeks later...

We too are paperless. I use mail chimp to send out newsletters. I print a copy for the odd parent who does not have a computer. It does tell you how many people have opened it, but like others are saying it's not nearly enough. It goes on FB and website too and I also print out a copy for the parents board and yep I get parents completely amazed by half term or parents' evening. I was actually thinking about sending an email to say to look out for the email!

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On the first newsletter of the year I wrote, in big letters across the middle 'please read your newsletters, they have taken time and effort to prepare'

 

I think perhaps it's too much information at once for a generation who are used to receiving text length bites. Maybe we should print out stickers and stick the information onto the child! Haha.

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