Hora Hora School relies on School-links text alerts for attendance management and general messaging for sports and school trips. For Richard Buckland, Deputy Principal of this Whangarei school with approximately four hundred and fifty students, the benefits have been significant.
Hora Hora School began using text messaging for Early Notification two or three years ago and have seen improvements in attendance management.
"Our families can be reluctant to engage for any number of reasons and texting was less intrusive than a phone call asking why children weren’t at school. We saw responses increase straight away. This has had the knock on effect of us being able to follow up a lot more quickly on attendance issues because we get – or don’t get – responses immediately."
Targeted text messaging
The school took advantage of the increased parent and caregiver engagement with text messaging and began to use text for general messaging too, “We have groups set up in our SMS that transfer across to School-links so we can send messages to classes, or all our seniors or juniors. I even set up a group the day before an athletics trip and overnight it became a School-links group so I could text the relevant parents updates throughout the day from my phone.”
The ability to remotely send messages from Richard’s phone using the Emergency Alert App or from his laptop had an unexpected benefit, “It was terrific during the COVID lockdown. I could access School-links from home and send out information about picking up home learning packs.”
"It is definitely worth giving text messaging a go. Everyone checks their phones, not so many check their emails!"
With thanks to Hora Hora School for sharing their experiences to benefit schools new to School-links.