Social media? I love it! I’ve been using Facebook and Twitter for many years and engaging on education forums too. Yet, there still can be a fear of schools using it. Schools tend to deal with the fall out of social media with kids having a go at each other on Instagram, Snapchat, ooVoo etc… It’s there. We have to ensure they make the most of it and get the best from it. Sometimes that starts with engaging parents in its use too.
We have a school Twitter account, Head Teacher Twitter account, Facebook page, text messaging service and parent mail for starters.
Although I use Twitter for the majority of social networking and connecting with others, I thought that would have been the same for parents, but it hasn’t been the case. We do have followers on our Twitter accounts but it hasn’t had the same impact that the school Facebook page has. Some staff and governors questioned the need for a Facebook page, however, we stuck to our guns and went down the professional route of having a page designed, built with lots of layered features. We launched it in March last year. I was attending a residential at the time. We had always said we wouldn’t post children’s photos directly onto the page but would put links to the blogs and website etc…
On the morning of the residential parents waved their kids off for three days at 9.30am. By 1pm parents received a text alerting them to the school Facebook page. The text also included a link to my head teacher blog with photos of the children arriving at Robinwood. These updates continued over the three days and the feedback from parents was amazing. They could see immediately their children were happy and they needn’t worry. We did the same again this year to receive the same response.
We have used the Facebook page to remind parents about events, dates etc… as well as signposting the, to new policies or news items on the website.
I posted this letter on Friday last week and it has already been viewed over 1700 times.
We informed the children that although we knew many of them have Facebook accounts, this page was for the adult school community. Children knew if they interacted with the page I’d receive a notification and they would be rumbled. This hasn’t happened to date. The children know they have our learning hub platform and blogs where they can interact with each other and staff in a safe, secure and monitored forum.
We have recently introduced parent mail and have begun to email parents letters for visits, sporting events and newsletters. They receive a text alerting them to a new email and also the option of requesting a paper copy. The newsletter is also available via the website. We can count on one hand how many requests for a paper copy there have been.
Parents check their phones. Social media is well worth it.
Let it grow!