Absence Notifications Through Your School Website – Good or Bad?

I've noticed it more and more recently; we phone a school and among the options, in fact usually the first option, is the chance to inform school that one of the children won't be in today. Most schools take absence notifications over the phone. I simply need to leave a message apparently. Someone is sat somewhere listening to an answering machine, making a note of who won't be coming into school, adding that information to the appropriate system.

What's the protocol there? That person is making a decision on how to mark down that student's absence. There's quite a lot of work involved in that job isn't there?

One of the ways that more schools are this job just that little bit easier is to start to accept notifications of absence through their school website. But it raises one or two questions.

Doesn't that make it easier for just anyone to tell school the student won't be in today?
Doesn't that then mean that we're making it easier for students to play truant?

This short article explores the pros and cons of moving your absence notifications online and the options that are available to you. We'd be really interested to hear from you about how you do this and whether you think this is a good idea or not. Please comment below if you feel strongly either way!

Online Absence Notifications - The Pros ...

Well the most obvious benefit is that online absence notifications can make the whole process easier for everyone involved. For parents they simply go to your website, complete a short form and they're done. For schools it's even easier! Simply view or download the information in a format that you can easily read or even import into you MIS system.

The boon of not having to trawl through a load of phone messages is a definite plus!

... The Cons

There's a few questions raised! It is certainly possible that allowing online absence notifications will mean certain students will take the michael! But won't those students try it on anyway?

The bigger issues could actually be with the technology. If this is the route the school is going down then there are things that are vital to make it viable.

Firstly, the online form has to be fully accessible. That means it needs to be easy to find, easy to complete and it absolutely must work on any device. Our most recent client analytics show that schools now see over 60% of website visits through a smartphone or tablet!

I'd strongly advise that if you don't have a great responsive school website, don't go down the route of accepting online absences. That's because it won't be usable by so many people.

The other potential issue with the technology is making sure you can get at the data! Do you currently write down information from a voicemail message? Well that's not a lot different from taking information from emails and adding them to a system. A file that you can export / import into your system would be fabulous wouldn't it?

How We Do It

We get that time is precious for everyone. Our approach is that this is another string to your bow. That's because a single approach doesn't solve things for anyone.

The Schudio School Website software, backed up by the Free Schudio School App includes an online Absence Notification form as standard. Responses are fed directly into the Schudio software and available for you to download in CSV format at any time. We send an email automatically to a designated address so that you can keep a record in your inbox as well as your MIS system.

Parents can go into your School App or onto your fully responsive school website and complete the form. The system takes care of everything else. Therefore you can sit back and watch the notifications come in. Then you can use your time to do something else!

It would be brilliant to show you how this works! Drop us a line if you'd like to see the Absence Reporting feature in action and we'll chat through your plans for your school website while we're at it.

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