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Case Study: Moat Community College
Streamlined, cost-effective engagement with students and parents with Reach More Parents by Weduc
Time spent at secondary school is one of great change for students as they transition into adulthood. Students require support from both teachers and their parents as they navigate important exams and work towards GCSE qualifications before deciding on their next steps.
However, all too often parents can feel disengaged from the journey their child follows through secondary school. Life is busy and work commitments and caring responsibilities for other family members can widen the gap between home and school. Schools have their own challenge of juggling resources and time to make meaningful engagement with parents. Some parents for example can be deemed hard to reach due to cultural and language barriers.
To engage more closely with parents and students, especially those for whom English is not their first language, Moat Community College made use of Weduc’s innovative engagement software Reach More Parents, allowing the institution to send timely updates to families and provide services to enhance their experience.
Moat Community College is a coeducational secondary school situated in Highfields, near the city centre of Leicester. The mixed state school enrols over 1000 students aged 11-16 and has grown as a result of amalgamating other schools in the area over several years. The school has approximately 180 staff, with 80 of those teaching professionals and the remainder in support and administrative roles.
The school attained a ‘Good’ rating in all areas in its most recent Ofsted inspection in 2018, with particular praise for its leadership, teaching and behaviour of its students. With a recent improvement in exam results and an intention to ensure that outcomes continue to grow more positively year-on-year, the school wanted to enable meaningful and effective engagement with students and parents. The school’s catchment demographics mean it has children whose families are from diverse national backgrounds, with many parents unable to speak any English, which can lead to difficulties in communication.
To complicate matters, communications with parents were usually facilitated manually.
“Our administrative staff were spending a great deal of time forwarding emails and sending out letters or other important documents via the post. These high volumes were costly in practice but also expensive due to the stationery we had to buy regularly.
We did have a SIMS platform in place, but this was primarily used for text messaging. Relying heavily on it was as costly as manual procedures and also limited the amount of information that could be sent easily.”
Aziza Raidhan, Business Manager, Moat Community College
The school reviewed a number of systems that claimed to improve parental engagement but most did not offer what they were looking for, such as the ability to log information like student attendance in SIMS. The ability to conduct two-way conversations between parents and the school, without sole reliance on written communication, was a critical requirement.
Enabling seamless communication
A search for a solution led Moat Community College to the Reach More Parents platform by Weduc.
The school particularly liked the fact that the system wrote back to SIMS and that all aspects of school life are on one centralised app. This provides an instant snapshot of what is happening across the school.
The school launched the solution to new parents in the summer of 2018, following successful on and off-site demonstrations. Rollout to existing parents followed closely after.
The benefits to parents became immediately apparent. Clear and attractive visuals help improve understanding and engagement for non-native English speakers. Where written communication is needed, different versions of the app can be utilised by harder-to-reach families in their preferred language to ensure understanding.
The payments system has also proved beneficial to concerned parents, who now no longer need to send their child to school with cash, as payments can be arranged via the Meal Manager app. Parents can even book meals in advance and arrange payment for upcoming school trips. Advantages also extend to the pupils themselves, with students in Year 11 able to use the Reach More Parents app to view exam and class timetables.
Teachers have benefited from a self-explanatory system that keeps all relevant information in one place, with time saved as there is no need to forward emails. Information can be processed efficiently and engagement with parents is simplified. The system updates SIMS with absence management, behaviour, payments, newsfeed, calendars, time and reminders, giving an instant view of what is happening across the school.
Teachers no longer need to rely on students writing down homework tasks while in the classroom, as the system can be used to set tasks quickly and easily. Exam timetables don’t need to be printed out as all data can be shared on the app and viewed with one click. For the school as a whole, the Reach More Parents platform is also significantly more cost-effective in comparison to the previous solution. Expensive text messaging is no longer needed to send timely updates to parents.
“In addition to the benefits the app provides us, we’re particularly pleased with the freedom to personalise the platform to match our school branding and visuals. The project has proved such a success that we have become a Partner of Weduc to help develop the Reach More Parents product further. We haven’t hesitated from recommending the technology to other schools and will continue to do so when those conversations arise.”
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