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CASE STUDY: Westlands primary school
Westlands Primary School in Sittingbourne, Kent is part of the Swale Academy Trust community and is a larger than average primary school with around 570 pupils on roll with 112 staff. We spoke to Liz Bruce, the Trust Lead Office Manager for the primaries in the Trust about their experiences with Weduc for the many years they have used the software.
Westlands moved to an online communications system to reduce the amount of valuable admin time wasted in creating letters for trips, payments, clubs and parents' evenings: all for the paper copies to remain crumpled at the bottom of bookbags.
Their first taste of an online communication systems did positively impact on connecting with parents, but they found it was lacking in visual appeal, and many parents were finding it difficult to navigate - therefore affecting parental engagement.
Westlands joined Weduc in 2018, wanting high levels of impactful parental engagement - they haven’t been disappointed!
Countless admin hours were lost making start-of-day calls chasing up absent pupils and permission replies. Westlands decided to join Weduc as they wanted a simple system that reduced unnecessary admin tasks as well as making parents’ interactions with school as straightforward as possible. The school has a range of parent working patterns, with some parents working shift rotas meaning several different family members collect the child throughout the week. It was important for the school that they have a simple system where communication is ’unmissable’.
Liz Bruce, Office Manager for the primary schools in Swale Academy Trust, is clear how using Weduc has impacted the school. Westlands have used Weduc as their main and only communication platform for 4 years; they saw immediate results with parent engagement, saved admin hours, and have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents and teachers alike.
“ I have used almost every communication platform there is available for schools, Weduc is the most visually appealing and easiest to use for admin, teachers and parents alike.”
The shift from broadcasting information to a 2-way communication system worked well for Westlands: they found that parents were engaging willingly, particularly with the tailored newsfeed feature. The reduction of return calls made, and first-day calls was immediate; parents could contact via the app at any time of the day and not have to wait in a phone queue at 9 am to tell the school about the child’s absence - an aspect hugely appreciated by parents who may be looking after a child poorly through the night.
The impact of keeping parents in the loop has been significant, with no important messages being lost as the parents have access to the app. It has a knock-on effect on the number of unnecessary visitors who come to the school office: to change contact details, find extra information about a trip, and complete permission forms.
We got Liz’s feedback on her favourite features when using Weduc:
The newsfeed feature has been exceptionally well received, with overwhelmingly positive responses from parents, explaining that they now actually look at the app when notifications alert them as they know the information will be relevant to their child due to the filtered year group option.
The 3-in-one posting available to Weduc newsfeed, Facebook and Twitter saves duplication and time without the need for copying and pasting, with one click and easy sharing.
Liz highlighted the CVR Merge as her favourite feature, allowing vouchers to be sent to families quickly and without hassle. She also sings the praises of the templated messages, to send communications linked to typical school issues such as lunch payments, trip reminders and parent meetings.
“Weduc is new and fresh; it is made with how schools work and how parents now communicate in mind.”
Liz praised the support received from Weduc from the beginning, not faltering from the initial set-up to the present day. The option for the UK-based service team to assist the parents outside of school working hours removes any additional technical support demands from the school-based team.
As Westland Primary School is one of 18 schools in Swale Academy Trust, their future plans involve replicating the success Westland has experienced with Weduc now across the trust.
If you want to find out more about how Weduc can help your school, call us on 01509 221 349.