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New Features for 2020/21

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Welcome back!

We have spent the last six months building lots of exciting new features for Parents Booking (which, as you may know, is our new name).

To help explain these changes, this blog article covers them all. You can click on a topic and more information will be opened in a new tab.

List of changes in the latest Parents Booking release:

As if the above items were not enough, a brand new parent area UI (‘user interface’, by which we mean ‘website design’) will be in place in a few weeks.

If you have any questions please do contact hello@parents-booking.com or support@parents-booking.com.

Disconnect Students from Old Teachers/Classes

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Disconnect Teachers

Our newest software release showcases a great new feature which automatically “disconnects” students from their old teachers/classes.

Let’s begin with an example: You uploaded the whole school’s data four months ago, and now it’s time for a new parents’ evening (whether that’s just for a year group or the whole school). No doubt class lists will have changed, for example students joining/leaving classes, ‘rotations’ meaning classes are now taught by different teachers, or even staff joining/leaving the school. In the past this might have meant your students and classes were still “linked” to the wrong teacher.

By default, from now on, any data upload you run will automatically “disconnect” students from their “old” teachers and classes. This means that Parents Booking will take for granted that the data you are uploading is the whole and honest truth. This should make parents’ evenings extremely accurate, and mean schools have an even easier time setting up parents’ evenings.

However, be careful. Under certain circumstances, for example if you choose to upload some data for just one subject, the students you upload will be disconnected from all their other teachers/classes UNLESS you un-tick the “Remove students from their old teachers/classes” setting at the top of the Upload Data page, before you run the upload.

Creating Teacher Logins/Accounts

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Teacher e-mail setup

Schools have asked us in the past if teachers can be given their own logins. This is now possible, and is vital if a school is going to be using the video calls module for their parents’ evening.

However, the “School Staff” login/account that schools have used until now still remains available as an option for schools who do not want to have to create logins for each teacher, and for schools who are not using the video call module there is no requirement to create accounts for teachers.

To create teacher accounts/logins:

You can now create personalised logins/accounts for teachers, any time, by inputting their work e-mail address into the ‘E-Mail’ field (see figure 1) on the Teaches page, and then pressing ‘Save Room/E-mails’.

Once you press ‘Save Room/E-mails’ (see figure 2), the e-mail addresses are saved and the teachers are sent an e-mail with their username and asking them to choose a password.

There is also an option to use the tick boxes beside the teachers, or ‘Select All’, on the Teachers page, and and press ‘E-mail Password Reset’ (see figure 3). All ‘selected’ teachers will be sent an e-mail explaining that they need to login to Parents Booking and reset their password.

Once teachers have chosen their own password, they can login to Parents Booking and check their appointment schedules, join their video meetings and create ‘1-to-1 video meetings’ (this can be disabled in Set Up School > Preferences). Teachers will not be able to join video meetings unless accounts have been set up for them.

The progress of teacher account setup is shown in red, blue and green.

  • Red / “Not Configured” means the teacher has not been sent a password reset e-mail.
  • Blue / “Password Sent” means the teacher has been sent an e-mail asking them to reset their password, but they have not done so yet.
  • Green / “Setup Complete” means the teacher has chosen a password, set up their account and is able to login.

Upload “data” from SIMS ID

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Schools who use SIMS can now use it to upload their pupil, parent and teacher “data” to Parents Booking in one click, using SIMS ID.

 

If you would like to use SIMS ID for your data upload, or want to know more about this option, fill in the form below and we will contact you ASAP:

 

Help with identifying ‘leavers’

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Identifying Leavers

Our newest software release features a great new feature: help identifying students who are now “leavers”.

Next time you run a data upload, you will be shown a notification on your Dashboard if we think that some students have left the school but are still in our database. Rather than delete the students automatically, we’ll show you a list and you can either mark the students as having left (in which case we will delete their record from our database) or you can make them as still being on the school’s student roll.

We are changing our product’s name

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In an exciting change that we hope reflects our commitment, not just to parents’ evenings, but to all school-parent ‘electronic booking’ matters, we’ll soon be changing our flagship product’s name from Parents’ Evening Booking System to Parents Booking.

This is a cosmetic change at its heart, but more than ten years after inventing the world’s first ‘parents’ evening booking system’, we’re a bigger company offering schools and colleges, both across the UK and around the world, much more than our original parents’ evening tools.

Beyond parents’ evenings, we help schools with their events, breakfast clubs, after school clubs, trips and student performances’ tickets, place-booking, reservations and facilitate their payments. We’ve integrated with some of the best #EdTech products in the UK and we’re continuing to seek out new, exciting partnerships to grow our capabilities and usefulness. We hope that our new name makes clear that we’re the solution to all ‘parent booking’ requirements.

Our new logo and branding will be introduced over the coming weeks. The product itself looks exactly the same though; there’s no reason to worry about a re-brand causing any navigation or software logic issues.

Wishing customers, partners, schools and parents all the very best.

Parents Booking / Netmedia Ltd.

Single sign-on with Firefly

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Parents Booking has recently integrated with Firefly, a fantastic virtual learning environment (VLE) used by hundreds of schools across the UK and around the world, ensuring that schools who use both of our products can benefit from an even simpler login.

Using single sign-on (SSO) technology, parents will be able to click a ‘Login by Firefly’ button on their school’s parents’ evening login page. Parents will then be logged in instantly, improving convenience, ease of use and saving parents’ time.

If your school uses Firefly we will endeavour to add this login button to your parents’ login page ASAP. Let us know if you use Firefly and the ‘Login by Firefly’ button has not appeared on your parents’ login page yet.

Take payments using ParentPay

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We’ve integrated with ParentPay, a leading cashless payment system for schools.

This integration means that ParentPay and Parents’ Evening Booking System customers can take payments from parents for Events, Clubs or other parent booking matters that are dealt with through Parents’ Evening Booking System, using the school’s existing ParentPay account.

The benefits for parents include having a familiar checkout and payment experience, while schools will see all payments made through our service appear in their ParentPay.

If your school uses ParentPay and you want to link it with your Parents’ Evening Booking System, contact support@parents-booking.com, or find instructions on the admin area’s ‘Set Up School’ page, and we’ll help you do just that.