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Castle View School – a Text Messaging solution Case Study

January 11, 2011

ProcessFlows SMS Messaging for Schools Provides Instant Communications with Parents –

Castle View School is a comprehensive school situated on Canvey Island, Essex. Castle View’s reputation is built on consistent achievement in all areas of the curriculum. Focus is on traditional values and developing the skills and knowledge for living and working in the 21st century. Castle View prides itself on being a friendly school whose doors are always open to parents and visitors.

Tackling truancy

In the UK an estimated 63,000 pupils are missing school each day without permission. Government initiatives to reduce unauthorised absence mean that schools and Local Authorities are being set demanding targets to improve overall attendance rates. This presents quite a challenge for head teachers who have already spent resources on investigating absences which might have been overlooked a few years ago.

Castle View decided a combination of strategies would be the best approach – the appointment of a dedicated Attendance Officer working within the school, computerised lesson registration and a simple, reliable communication channel to parents so they could quickly be notified if their child did not arrive at school. They also wanted to incorporate a reliable instant message facility to remind parents of important events or deadlines.

SMS Messaging for Schools provides instant text communications with parents

Because of its popularity with users, texting to parents seemed an obvious choice. Texting is easily accepted and discreet. Parents are able to directly receive a text message at their place of work or when away from home, which is far less alarming that receiving a telephone call from the school. Text messaging is also simple and cost effective.

The SMS messaging solution integrates with Castle View’s Schools Information System (SIMS). Contact information for parents, including a designated priority mobile phone number is held within SIMS.

ProcessFlows Text Message Solution is linked to the school’s electronic ‘registers’. Staff register pupils’ attendance at each lesson, with the first period acting as the statutory morning registration. By running a report, the Attendance Office can monitor general attendance at school and also any trends affecting a particular lesson or subject.

Parents are immediately notified by text if their child fails to turn up for registration, with a request to contact the school to provide a reason for absence. The text messages are created and sent from the desktop through ProcessFlows Text Message Solution and delivered directly to the mobile phone.

In a similar way parents are informed of consultation evenings and deadlines such as exam entry, option choices and coursework to complement paper based communications which don’t always reach the intended recipient.

Castle View School has successfully reduced its unauthorised absence rate

Notifying parents by text, thus engaging them in the fight against truancy has proved to be a good ‘deterrent’ to errant pupils.

“We shall always have a degree of absence because of illness and unauthorised absence – we do not generally authorise holiday absence – however, we are confident that general truancy is identified and dealt with. We all feel that the texting service has had a positive impact. It has also proved an invaluable communication tool that enhances the home school partnership in a number of other important ways.

Russell Sullivan, Headteacher at Castle View School

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