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Why Do New Zealand Schools Use Early Notification?

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Early Notification (EN) is the use of text and/or email messages to notify parents that their child is inexplicably absent from school.

Parents have the opportunity to reply and notify the school of the reason for the absence (e.g. sickness) or that they aren’t aware of the absence, which could be a safety or truancy issue.

Two New Zealand principals share why they opted to use EN over traditional attendance management methods:

Otago Boys’ High School

In the past, for teachers and parents of students at Otago Boys’ High School, there was often a lack of attendance information being shared.

Dougal McGowan, the Deputy Rector of Otago Boys’ High School said that when he arrived at the school, they didn’t have any idea about what the absentee rate was. They didn’t communicate with anybody about it because they didn’t collect the required data efficiently enough.

The concerns around absenteeism and sharing this information with parents was a major driver for a new solution because parents voiced their concerns about not knowing whether their sons were at school or not.

“There’s been a total paradigm shift. Now, with EN we can contact parents directly,” says McGowan.

Wanganui City College

When a student was marked as absent from Wanganui City College, making an enquiry phone call to their parents, found through their student management system KAMAR, wasn’t always straightforward.

Wanganui City College Deputy Principal Doug Ewing says “When we phoned we weren’t always getting in touch.” This was not only a problem regarding the child’s safety but was also time-consuming and frustrating for the office staff making the calls.

“The number one benefit to using School-links EN is the immediacy and the convenience of contacting parents for attendance matters. Rather than calling parents when a child is absent, secretarial staff send a text to parents about the issues. Email is a bit beyond where our parents are at as they’re mostly connected to texting on their cell phones – so texting is the most effective way to get a hold of them,” says Doug.

To learn about more reasons New Zealand schools are using Early Notification and other attendance management strategies, attend the School-links webinar in February.

Attendance management systems webinar details

Date: 18 February 2016
Time: 11:00am – 11:20am
Presenter: Andrew Balfour, Managing Director of School-links
Topic: Attendance Management systems in New Zealand schools
Audience: School Leaders, Executive Officers, Board of Trustee members
Register: Click here

 

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