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Should schools make having an email address for parents mandatory so that newsletters and information can be sent by email?

Our local small country primary school sends a sheet of A4 as a newsletter home at least once per week, for every child. This equates to approximately 200 sheets of A4 paper per week sent home to be left crumpled in schoolbags and then read and binned. They tried sending the newsletter by email, but only 3 parents signed up. I have been trying to persuade the headmaster that it should be a mandatory requirement of attendance at the school that parents "must have an email address that is checked once per day or more" as a pre-requisite for their child attending the school. What do you think?

Seeking Opinion Education 4 years ago
Richard Taylor expert
Richard Taylor
Father of 4 boys & IT Consultant
Bushmills, GB

4 experts and 2 parents have answered

expert answer
Charlotte Ball expert
Charlotte Ball Principal Director London, GB
Education expert

The majority of High Schools now use an email service which some primary schools are now beginning to use as well. The main problem has been that the schools set up a password for you, the majority of parents either don't receive the letter from the school (hidden at depths of childrens book bag) and so never actually action their user Id or password. We have found that smaller schools seem to be becoming more digital friendly, sending an email to the parents home email address once a week with a newsletter. Again problems can occur as we have found some schools letters automatically enter into your junk file and are not read. This has led to children missing out on outings, dress down days and important announcements.

Most recently the snow in the UK has displayed just how import at it is for schools to have a line of communication with parents, with websites being used to create announcements and updates. This had a very high success rate in Norfolk and Suffolk.

3 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Ben Sullivan
Ben Sullivan Father & Video Game Producer Burnaby, CA

I think it should be the default method and exceptions made for parents who, for whatever crazy reason, don't have an e-mail address.

However I don't think e-mail is an appropriate communication method for things like contacting parents about discipline or other teacher concerns.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Roberto Catanuto expert
Roberto Catanuto Teacher, Club Instructor CH
Education expert

Requiring an email address as mandatory might be seen as a little intrusion into one's own personal communication management. I'd better say to parents that they are the primary leaders of their children's education. That's why they should put in action all the ways to keep in touch with staff at school.

That said, Internet is so widespread that if a parent doesn't want to check the email, he/she should provide the school with at least another efficient mean of communication.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Jill Hodges expert
Jill Hodges Founder of Fire Tech Camp London, GB
Education expert

I think email should be mandatory for schools and if you have the odd parent who doesn't have email they should try to accommodate them but 99% of parents would rather communicate via email or some kind of portal at this point!!

1 Reply ( 2 ) Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
David Sheppard expert
David Sheppard school teacher GB
Education expert

For schools, using an bulk emailing tool* to communicate, parents not accessing email present extra administrative work with paper copies having to go to them. Often emails will have an electronic form linked to them for permission (all our sports fixtures are linked to online permission forms, we rely on parents not giving permission via paper). There might be the occasional parent who we can't get an address for, but everything is made much easier when the default for correspondence is electronic.

*email linked to a database, we use clarioncall, parentmail is another example.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago

We all agree that email is an essential communication channel. Whether it should be required, as a prerequisite for attendance, that parents "must have an email address that is checked once per day or more" is probably a bit of a stretch and it raises many practical questions:

  1. are we sure that all parents have internet access at home, work or on their mobile? I can think of many situations where they don't have easy access. What should we do with the children of these parents? forbid them to attend a good school?
  2. is the communication that parents receive DAILY from school so important that justifies checking these school emails so frequently? and if so, how will you monitor and enforce this?
  3. Should we subject parents to spam just because it is considered 'valuable' by the school?
  4. What if the parent has a very busy work schedule and can only check 'non-essential' emails once per week?

So, no, I dont think you can make this rule enforceable. However, I do agree that during enrolment the school should require the parents to leave an email address as part of their contact information. The school should then allow the parents to determine how frequently they want to receive these letters. Perhaps the school will realise that sending one mailer per week is a bit excessive (also considering that email will cut cost and will encourage more email sending.)

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Opinion 4 years ago

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