Get the message

6th January 2006 at 00:00
Elync could signal the end of pupils acting as the school newsletter delivery service. Gerald Haigh reports

If you're a teacher who's not a parent, then you may not have experienced searching a child's bag and clothing to see if there are any letters from school lurking inside. You may, though, have had a parent ask you why important stuff from school is entrusted to such a hit and miss method of delivery.

One answer is Elync's web-based system that's very much in the hands of parents. They check their emails and there's a message telling them to log on to the Elync website - or their mobile goes "bong" and there's a text message saying the same thing. Then, they simply log on using their password, and sure enough there's something from school. It might ask them, personally, to make an appointment to see the head of year. Or it might have the details of the next under-15 rugby match, or the date and time of the key stage 3 parents' evening.

In each case, the school sets up a group so only the parents involved get the message. It's interactive, so there can be a button with which to let the school know the parent has received the message, or there might be a questionnaire.

Schools using Elync are enthusiastic about it as a cost and time saver, and a way of helping parents feel closer to their school.

Parents who can't access the web, or don't want to, can easily be mailed conventionally, because the system identifies the parents who've been missed.

There's real potential here and most of the ideas you can think of are either already possible or are being worked on. This is something at the very least to look at and talk to the company about.

Schools have Elync on a three-month free trial. After that it's pound;3 per pupil per year with a maximum of pound;1,500.

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