Ditch paper-based newsletters? Surely not?

Since the emergence of wordprocessing and desktop publishing, schools have sent out newsletters in Microsoft Word or Publisher to parents in hardcopy or electronically. And the timing of those newsletters differs from weekly to once per term, so we often get quite a varied response when we ask how these schools deal with the newsletter problem.

On the other side of the technology circle, it’s really interesting to meet schools who are looking at (or are already) doing away with the old concept of print and email for newsletters, preferring to ditch that old model for one that encompasses blogging. Blogs are great for schools in so many ways; they allow the author to express themselves just as they might in a newsletter, but more importantly the blog allows readers to respond with comments. These are, clearly, an area that schools have to manage – no one likes to have unsavoury comments visible on their blog page – and as such levels of moderation need to be integrated into the policy of blog management. So, is there a halfway house?

Is it possible for a newsletter to be created and sent as an email? We don’t mean as an attachment, I mean as something the recipient can read directly in their email applicatio, on their tablet, mobile or laptop computer?

Well, we have been looking at ways for schools to do that. We wanted to find a means where a school user could create clean, school branded newsletters which can easily be sent as ‘e-shots’- emails with the full newsletter included, with images, weblinks, text and tabulated information to help convey the information needed.

We also wanted to figure out if it would be possible to send specific newsletter submissions to all parents, or to predefined groups of parents – after all, a parent with a child in Year 6 might not be very interested in the school trip information for Year 3 pupils.

We also needed to find a way to offer this as a truly cost effective option to schools. Schools currently using online services to send newsletters will be paying for them and the opportunity  to reduce ongoing costs for that simple service seemed a bit of a logical thing to do.

Welcome to free E-Newsletters

So, now, we have such an offering. Our Joomla! based websites can have their own base-line e-newsletter application installed at no charge. Within that application, newsletters can be created, wrapped in branding that depicts the school, and with just a few clicks that newsletter can be sent to one or more lists of recipients. The website is responsible for sending the emails and will collect a basic level of statistics about the mails sent out and the successful deliveries.

The Tapiochre School Website newsletter suite is packed with useful features:

  • Sends newsletters to just one or to several lists at the click of a button
  • Allows website visitors to register to recieve copies of the newsletter (if you want them to) and automatic subscription of new users to one or more list upon registration (if you allow them to do that)
  • Includes one 'school branded' tempate (default) and 4 additional templates for you to play with
  • Email queue management to keep the flow of emails under control
  • Optional Enhanced Statistics to see how many and who receives and reads the email newsletter, bounced emails and links clicked
  • Can track the subscriber's IP
  • Easily import your users from SIMs or CMIS as a simple three column CSV format spreadsheet
  • Include links back to the school to offer content (blogs, galleries, calendars) easily, within your newsletter
  • Unlimited lists containing subscribers
  • Unlimited subscribers in the whole system for no additional charge
  • Unlimited newsletters, all of which are stored for resubmission if needed, all created like a blog article within the system
  • Display of e-newsletters within one of the website's pages so those who don't subscribe can still read them online.
  • Support for social Tags (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Allows recipients to unsubscribe (legal requirement)
  • Sends emails as HTML so that they look attractive on the recipient's device.

More and more schools are now adopting this as an ideal way to reduce some of the administrative burden associated with printed newsletters and are reaping the rewards of better communication with parents and stakeholders while driving cost down at the same time.

If this idea sounds interesting to you for your school, give us a call now!

Call us : 07958 726700

Our Blog...

We blog from time to time when there is something worth blogging about! We look at how schools change how they use their websites and how we can respond to those changes and when we have something really interesting to say, we will! Thanks for reading!

Latest News

November 29, -0001

Slideshows from PowerPoint

An area that so many schools like to have easy control over - rather than having to rely on their web provider to manage - is creating and changing the slides used on their webpages. These slides sometimes have to be 'specially' created and edited using applications like Photoshop to support the best way to shape and size these images for use. Photoshop needs a level of skill (let alone cost) that schools like to avoid and so we have looked at other, more accessible ways to give administrators the ability to create and modify slideshows.

All schools that we encounter use PowerPoint and most have very capable staff who can be very creative in the development of PowerPoint slides and this is an ideal way to give schools the power to devise their own web slideshows that we can support as web based slideshows.

So, if you have a super set of slides from an event that you want to display on your webpage, it is now entirely possible and we have created a help video guide to show the steps involved, from exporting your slides and importing them into your website, and setting up animation and navigation as well as adding the resulting web slideset into pages for parents to view.




November 10, 2021

Statutory Information for Academies & Trusts

Like for mainstream schools, the Government have published a set of information which has to be provided in order that Academies and Trusts (and Free Schools) be compliant with government legislation. This legislation was published in June 2016 and evolves as regulatory demands change.  Note that if your school or college is one of the following types, you need to check your funding agreement to find out exactly what information you must publish on your website; academies, including free schools, studio schools and university technical colleges, sixth-form colleges, general further education (FE) colleges.  

There are also publishing requirements set out within the Equality Act 2010 and Children and Families Act 2014, with which you must comply.

This guidance gives an overview of those requirements and the further information that the Department for Education (DfE) recommends that you publish on your website if you are one of these schools or colleges. Many academy trusts are under a duty to publish much of this further information, due to clauses in their funding agreements.

July 01, 2021

Centralised File Management for MATs

One problem that Multi Academy Trust environments have is 'how can we be confident that our academy schools are all displaying the most recent and correct policy documents?' In fact, this question has many threads to it, the most relevant being that the methods that many MATs use to keep schools updated rely on quite rudimentary but sadly flaw-ridden processes; emailing updated files to the school administration or head is one way for the school to miss the email or they see it but action it much later than the MAT head office would like. That, or the MAT administrator has to login to each remote school console and make the changes themselves. Its all a real pain.

May 05, 2021

Online Training Course Successes!

In January 2021, Tapiochre undertook the delivery of online training courses for their school customers. The impact of coronavirus was continuing to  impact the ability to visit schools to provide face-to-face coaching and despite best efforts it was simply impossible to attend in person as we normally do. One of the keys of implementing a successful remote coaching service is to ensure that not only is it properly marketed but it also has to be easy for attendees to book onto chosen sessions and to  benefit from timely and appropriate communication about the event.

August 21, 2020

Ditch paper-based newsletters? Surely not?

Since the emergence of wordprocessing and desktop publishing, schools have sent out newsletters in Microsoft Word or Publisher to parents in hardcopy or electronically. And the timing of those newsletters differs from weekly to once per term, so we often get quite a varied response when we ask how these schools deal with the newsletter problem.

August 29, 2018

Social Networks - thoughts for Schools

If I had a pound for every head teacher who said they were worried about using the leading social media platforms "Twitter" and "Facebook" I think I would have £45.00, or perhaps more. The main fears are that, let's call them, 'certain users' will take advantage of the ability to publically post comments as a way to complain or, even worse, be abusive or threatening toward the school or its staff. From experience, such behaviour is rare but when it does happen the implications for the school can be significant, calling up all manner of policies like complaints, greivances, acceptable use,  safeguarding and more.

August 21, 2020

What's a decent school blog page look like?

I am often asked this question when primary schools start blogging. Essentially, the question stems from a fear of the unknown but experience has shown that teachers make excellent bloggers and there is a good reason for this. Teachers know what is happening in their classrooms, better than anyone else.

September 16, 2020

Statutory Information for school websites

Schools often ask us if there is a prescribed set of information which has to be provided in order to be compliant with government legislation. This legislation was published in September 2014 and continues to evolve as regulatory demands change. Occasionally, local authorities will make recommendations for additional content to be shown on your school website. This is further compounded by the demands of schools within a diocesan or Trust setting. Please refer to your local setting for this guidance.

August 25, 2019

The beauty of Open Source

We like to 'bang on' about Open Source (OS). The very nature of OS software (or hardware) creates significant benefits for us and for our customers because it reduces 'time to market' for our websites and also drives cost out of the business model. Why make things from scratch if OS offers low cost but highly functional software as a way to build websites and online applications.

August 24, 2019

Do we 'do' WordPress?

Well, there’s a good question!

As most of our websites need the levels of massive flexibility for the positioning of blocks of information on different pages and in different locations on that page, we have generally used the Joomla content management system (CMS). The fact that we often need to add a chunk of information in any position we wish on any page that we desire is so well handled by Joomla’s modular framework that it is the logical decision to use it instead of WordPress. That doesn't mean to say that WordPress is not a valid option for some blogging and medium-sized websites. In fact, we have seen some fairly significant scale corporate websites running WordPress!