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Learn about the latest news from the Parents’ Evening Booking System

Creating a .CSV file to upload your school’s pupils, parents and classes

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Schools who use MIS/SIS databases that do not integrate with Parents Booking can create a custom .CSV file that can be uploaded. This blog post features instructions on how to create your own .CSV upload.

This instructions feature two possible solutions. We call them the SIMS solution (which uses 1 spreadsheet) and the SEEMIS solution (which uses 2 spreadsheets). If one does not suit your MIS/SIS databases’ export capabilities, try the other.

Option 1: The SIMS Solution (1 Spreadsheet)

This option is more complex than option 2, but creates one spreadsheet which links a student to one or two parents/carers and all of their teachers. There are two ‘styles’ possible, one which shows the student and parent on every row, and one where the teachers/classes are listed on otherwise blank rows between each student, but both work in the same way.

Download spreadsheet template (style 1) OR Download spreadsheet template (style 2)

The data fields required are:

  • Student ID
  • Student Forename
  • Student Surname
  • Student Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • Student Reg Group / Year Group
  • Parent/carer 1 ID
  • Parent/carer 1 Username (not required, but keep column)
  • Parent/carer 1 Title
  • Parent/carer 1 Forename
  • Parent/carer 1 Surname
  • Parent/carer 1 Mobile/Telephone
  • Parent/carer 1 E-Mail
  • Parent/carer 2 ID
  • Parent/carer 2 Username (not required, but keep column)
  • Parent/carer 2 Title
  • Parent/carer 2 Forename
  • Parent/carer 2 Surname
  • Parent/carer 2 Mobile/Telephone
  • Parent/carer 2 E-Mail
  • Department
  • Subject
  • Class Code
  • Teacher ID
  • Teacher Name
  • Room (not required, but keep column)

Rules: Do not extract parent/carers who do not have “parental responsibility” / legal rights.

Save this spreadsheet as a .CSV file by going to File > Save As.. and underneath the file name choose “.CSV (Comma Delimited)”.

Option 2: The SEEMIS Solution (2 Spreadsheets)

This option involves two spreadsheets, but is easier for some MIS/SIS databases. The logic is that spreadsheet 1 lists the pupils and parents, and spreadsheet 2 links the students to their classes and teachers using the ID number.

Download spreadsheet 1 template and Download spreadsheet 2 template

The data fields required for spreadsheet 1 are:

  • Student ID
  • Student Forename
  • Student Surname
  • Student Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • Student Registration Group or Year Group
  • Parent/carer Title
  • Parent/carer Forename
  • Parent/carer Surname
  • Parent/carer Mobile/Telephone
  • Parent/carer Email

You can list a pupil on two different rows to link them to 2nd parent/carer.

Rules: Do not extract parent/carers who do not have “parental responsibility” / legal rights.

Save this spreadsheet as a .CSV file by going to File > Save As.. and underneath the file name choose “.CSV (Comma Delimited)”.

The data fields required for spreadsheet 2 are:

  • Student ID
  • Class Code
  • Teacher Title
  • Teacher Forename
  • Teacher Surname
  • Subject Name

Save this spreadsheet as a .CSV file by going to File > Save As.. and underneath the file name choose “.CSV (Comma Delimited).

These spreadsheets are then uploaded in the following order:

  1. Spreadsheet 1 – Pupils and Parents
  2. Spreadsheet 2 – Classes

How to Run a Video Call Test

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We recommend that schools run tests of video call module before using it for real parents’ evenings, to ensure it will work as well as can be on the day.

It is also vital that networks/firewalls are configured to ‘allow’ the video calls to take place on the school’s network and teacher ‘devices’ (see more on this at the bottom of this article).

The two tests we suggest are below:

Test One: Run a Network test using the Twilio Network Tester:

https://networktest.twilio.com/
Please also note the information at the bottom of this post about information for your IT team.

Test Two: Test with Teachers

Schools should check that the devices teachers plan to use are compatible with the video call technology. This can be done simply by asking teachers to login to their Parents Booking account and click the ‘Video Settings’ button on their Dashboard. This will allow them to test their internet browser is compatible, and that their webcam and microphone work. Teachers can also run the ‘network test’ detailed in Test One above.

The instructions (PDF file) for teachers on how to join the video calls goes into further detail on internet browser and device compatibility.

This blog post details how to set up a more cumbersome but in-depth test, where you set up fake parent accounts and have teachers and ‘fake parents’ book appointments between each other.

Information for Edinburgh Council schools:

At the time of writing schools/teachers should not use the LTAD network for their view meetings as this seems to be blocking the video meetings (although it does seem to work at some schools). Please advise teachers to use either the LTAP_P or LT_Open networks.

Information for your IT/server team:

Media / UDP Network Settings :

Schools need to allow Port 443 / HTTPS traffic and IT/network teams should be aware these video calls will happen over an encrypted peer-to-peer (P2P) connection, making any network adjustments required.

Ensure *.Twilio.com URLs are whitelisted.

Smoothwall users should add Twilio.com to ‘authentication exceptions’ in Smoothwall’s policies. Some Smoothwall users have also had to modify the’ default outgoing policy’ to allow ‘any internal interfaces’ to access ‘any external interfaces’.

We are also using Twilio’s Irish (ie1) “media servers”, which use the Twilio IP address ranges listed below:
52.215.253.0 – 52.215.253.63
54.171.127.192 – 54.171.127.255
52.215.127.0 – 52.215.127.255
3.249.63.128 – 3.249.63.255

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.

We’re ‘Cyber Essentials Plus’ Certified

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For several months now we’ve been working to achieve our ‘Cyber Essentials Plus‘ certification. We received news on Friday that we’ve passed our inspection, and taken receipt of our certificate.

If you’ve not heard of “CE Plus”, it’s a UK government information assurance scheme operated by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Its certification guarantees our protection levels against the most common cyber threats, and demonstrates our commitment to cyber security. Although not a requirement for our business, we undertook the “CE Plus” certification, which includes having independent security experts examine our servers, software and IT infrastructure.

To view our certification certificate, click here.

The hard work is never done, and we’re already underway with our application to achieve ISO27001 certification, which is an international standard which demonstrates that an organisation has defined and put in place best-practice information security processes. We hope that we’ll have good news related to achieving this further certification later in the year.

New case study: Boroughmuir High School

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We recently visited the brand new Borughmuir High School in Edinburgh. They have been a customer for a number of years, and a huge supporter of our services, but were also recently named Scottish state secondary school of the year by The Sunday Times, which makes their recommendation of us all the stronger.

Take a little look at the case study below:

Welcoming in 2018

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Dear all,

We want to begin by wishing all of our customers a prosperous 2018. We’re excited to continue working with you and we’re thrilled you’ve chosen us to help you with your parents’ evenings.

2017 was a super year for us, and the product has continued to grow in strength, in particular after a series of excellent new features were added to help schools have even more control over their parents’ evenings. As usual, we’re working away every day to make the product better still and look forward to bringing information of new developments soon.

We’ll be changing this website soon, condensing down the amount of information shown and presenting a new look. We’re also working with some talented filmmakers to bring a new advert for the front page.

Last but not least, this year will of course also bring about legislation changes in terms of GDPR, and should you have any questions please do reach out. We’ll be writing to all customers in plenty of time with an updated Data Protection Policy, but you should have no fear about the changes related to your use of us. We’re legally taking on a little more responsibility, and we need to ensure we have your consent to process the data you provide, but beyond that we’re doing what we do every day: providing a safe place to host your parents’ evenings.

Best wishes for 2018 – here’s to another brilliant year!

Netmedia Ltd.

Helping to Close the Gap in Attainment

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Helping to Close the Gap in Attainment

Education Scotland’s “How Good Is Our School” (HGIOS 4) and the National Improvement Framework lay out the six key drivers which will help schools to close the gap in attainment. We feel very strongly about helping schools achieve these ambitions and we’re sure our Parents’ Evening Booking System can be a strong contributor to the task. We help schools with Parental Engagement, School Improvement, Assessment of Children’s Progress and Performance Information Here are some of the ways in which we directly help when schools use us to run their parents’ evenings online:

  • Parent and Teacher communication channels immeasurably improved. When parents http://canadapharmacy-drugnorx.com/ make their appointments online they can tell teachers about any concerns, issues or discussion topics ahead of time. Teachers can message parents before parents login and book as well (i.e. “Make me a priority booking please”). This leads to better prepared and more effective meetings
  • Parents who do not typically engage with school events, or who don’t usually attend parents’ evening, can be encouraged through the use of technology and with the promise of a better structured appointments schedule, picked by them, at times that suit them, in an order they want
  • Parents’ evening attendance will be improved by encouraging sign-up from parents who don’t normally attend (as discussed above), but also by providing the school with the reporting tools to see who has not booked yet and the communication tools to pro-actively contact them, as well as by sending reminder e-mails to thos ewho have booked
  • Increased parental participation is key to the necessary implementation of observation, assessment and recording, meaning raising attendance for parents’ evenings will have a direct impact on students’ education
  • Schools save huge amounts of school admin time (setting up events takes minutes, and there’s no other work necessary by any colleagues in the school)
  • Classroom and curriculum time spent on parents’ evenings eliminated completely
  • Teachers need only check their schedules online OR have these printed off by the office for them (which can be done in one click)
  • We help schools save paper, but we can even help schools go completely paper-free for these events
  • We help schools save money on paper, printing, stationary and of course postage, where applicable

You can read further specifics on how we help schools close the gap in attainment here:

Read More

We Have Scooped Two ‘Technology Innovator’ Awards

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We are thrilled to announce that the Technology Innovator Awards have kindly awarded us (Netmedia Ltd) and our Parents’ Evening Booking System two prestigious titles for 2015, following this year’s awards process:   Best Bespoke Digital Solutions Provider for SMEs and Most Innovative Education Website Solution, “Parents’ Evening Booking System”   These awards are gratefully received as we enter a new academic year with our customers. We are looking forward to schools using our latest product innovations and we hope to demonstrate our award winning credentials with another very successful year for our customers and through further development this academic year.