Following on from our last article on how parent engagement can help with reducing truancy rates at your school, having a Ministry of Education approved attendance management or early notification system can aid in this as well.
Early Notification (EN) is the use of text and/or email messages to notify parents that their child is inexplicably absent from school.
Parents have the opportunity to reply and notify the school of the reason for the absence (e.g. sickness) or that they aren’t aware of the absence, which could highlight a safety or truancy issue.
Wanganui City College is one school that has opted to use EN over traditional attendance management methods. Deputy Principal Doug Ewing says,
“The number one benefit to using School-links EN is the immediacy and the convenience of contacting parents for attendance matters. Rather than calling parents when a child is absent, secretarial staff send a text to parents about the situation. Email is a bit beyond where our parents are at as they’re mostly connected to texting on their cell phones – so texting is the most effective way to get a hold of them.”
Here are nine ways EN makes life easier for the school community:
Benefits of Early Notification for parents and caregivers
Fast notification of absences (which could potentially be a child safety issue).
Parents and caregivers can respond quickly and cost effectively.
It’s less embarrassing for parents or caregivers to respond to a text than a phone call if they have forgotten to notify the school of their child’s absence or/if the reason is personal.
Texting is more convenient for those who are unavailable to respond to personal calls during work or study hours.
Feedback from School-links’ customers, says that texts are the preferred method of school communication for most parents and caregivers.
Benefits of Early Notification for schools
Less time spent by the Attendance Officer in contacting caregivers of absent students.
Less expensive than calling mobile phones.
Responses go directly into the Student Management System and are easily viewed by the Attendance Officer, making them efficient to process (service offered by some EN providers).
Responses are saved in the Student Notes (service offered by some Student Management Systems).