Category:Communications

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Communications


PARS can be used for both internal and external communications. Parents can be contacted regarding absence or acheivements, or messages can be sent internally for various reasons. PARS also has various alerts, which will automatically be sent when certain criteria are hit such as a pupil achieving 5 positive behaviour incidents in a week (you can define how and when these alerts are sent).

The communication features are described in brief below, with a link to a wiki page that goes into more detail about each feature. Each link that you can click is coloured and emboldened like this (you can't click on this one).

Usage

Instructions for using PARS to communicate can be found below. There are many features you can use to communicate in PARS, so the section below has been split into two: internal and external communications.

Contact reports fit into both categories. You can find reports that show staff members' email addresses (internal) or details about parents (external). Follow the link to see screenshots of all contact reports available.

Internal messaging

Sending and receiving general messages

You can access any messages that have been sent to you via the notices section on your homepage. You can also send messages to other staff members from this section

Sending and receiving behaviour referrals

If you have received any behaviour referrals, these can also be accessed via the collect behaviour referrals feature in PARS. (Behaviour referrals can be sent when adding a behaviour incident, though you will need to configure the referral list first. See "Non-technical configuration", below).

Sending emergency help requests

If a recipient group has been configured (see "Non-technical configuration", below) then you can send assistance requests. This is a high priority request for help, perhaps because a pupil is having a medical emergency. The assistance request is immediately delivered, usually to the school office.

Notifying staff of missing registers

Staff can be reminded of any registers they have not completed with notices that you can send from the missing registers feature in PARS.

Querying attendance marks

Attendance view (an tool for attendance officers) can be used to send messages to staff about any attendance marks that you want to query.

Querying grades and grade comments

Grading data can be vetted using the grade authorisation features, which allows you to send messages to staff if you feel the grades they have entered need to be reviewed or changed.

Sending automated reports

Reports can be automated in PARS, so that they are emailed to certain staff members weekly, rather than have a staff member generate the report, then print and deliver it. You can find instructions for automating reports along with various other tips in our training guide - A guide to using reports.

Reporting on contacts made

To view report showing various communication aspects, see our contact reports page. Reports cover a range of information, such as messages sent, email address held on SIMS, medical information and more.

External messaging

General and attendance messages

Generic messages can be sent to parents via email or SMS from the external contact page. You can also use this page to record the details of phone calls or meetings with parents.

Detention messages

If you are contacting parents regarding detentions or removals, then you should use the Edit scheduled detentions/removals page which allows you to send emails or SMS messages, or to print letters.

Behaviour messages

The edit behaviour incidents page can be used to send either SMS messages, emails or letters home to parents.

Homework emails

PARS can be used to contact parents or pupils regarding homework too. This is done via the assignment diary, which is the tool used for adding and managing homework.

Reporting on contacts made

To view report showing various communication aspects, see our contact reports page. Reports cover a range of information, such as messages sent, email address held on SIMS, medical information and more.

Configuration

Technical configuration

Configuring emails

If you wish to send emails via PARS then you need to enter your SMTP details - this can be done via the preferences in PARS.

Configuring SMS

If you wish to send SMS messages via PARS then you will need to create an account with Text Anywhere (the SMS provider that we work with) and then enter your account details into PARS. You can access Text Anywhere's website and enter your details into PARS both via the configure SMS page.
Texts from Text Anywhere cost approximately 3 pence each.

You may also need to configure your proxy server in order to send emails and SMS messages via PARS Connect.

Importing pupils' email addresses

The bulk import emails tool allows you to import email addresses for pupils into your SIMS database, if you have a .csv file with the pupils' email addresses and an identifying number for the pupils, such as the ADNO or UPN.

Import Gmail Calendars

Each user can see their calendar events from gmail in PARS. The configuration needed to achieve this is listed on the import gmail calendar page.

Non-technical configuration

Managing the message bank

Generic messages can be stored to a message bank so that staff do not have to recreate them every time they want to send a message.

Sending behaviour referrals

When behaviour incidents are recorded, staff can choose to refer the incident to another member of staff for them to action. In order for them to do this, you will need to have configured the list of behaviour referrals that can be used.

Behaviour incidents can also be referred to parents - usually for information only. Parents can be notified by either SMS or email, in either case you will need to decide what message to send. The message will need to be imported into the slip designer before it can be used. The message is written in html markup - we will write this for you free of charge. All you need to do is import the message once it has been created.

NB if you are referring incidents to parents via SMS then you can choose a default message that will be used whenever certain grounds and/or outcomes are recorded. This is done on the configure grounds and/or configure outcomes pages, though if you have not configured these before you should go to the behaviour category for guidance.

Automatic attendance and behaviour alerts to staff

The configure alerts page explains how to create automated alerts to notify staff of behavioural issues. This might be for repeated issues such as the Form Tutor being notified if 5 instances of disruption are recorded in a week, or one-off incidents such as the Head of Year being alerted to every outstanding piece of class work.

You can also send alerts for issues not related to behaviour. Assistance requests allow staff to very quickly send a message asking for help, perhaps because of a medical emergency in their classroom. Attendance alerts will automatically notify staff whenever certain pupils receive specific attendance codes (such as N) or whenever those pupils truant. Both of these alerts are configured via the the notice section of the group manager page.

Checking that email addresses and telephone numbers are correct

In order for emails and SMS messages to send correctly, you must have the correct email addresses and telephone numbers in SIMS.
You can check to see which addresses and numbers are held for parents, pupils or staff by using contact reports.

Frequently asked questions

This is a list of frequently asked questions relating to attendance. For the answers to any of these questions, please go to the communications FAQ.

  • There are pupils with no name on menus, registers, etc.
  • Set up heads of subjects for behaviour referrals and grade analyses
  • Can comments be added to attendance marks?
  • How do I add a Y or # code?
  • A member of staff is not receiving pop-up messages but not notices on the homepage
  • Email replies are going to the wrong email address
  • Emails sent to staff members are going to the wrong email address
  • How can I send notices as pop-ups?

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