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School community trends

Here at Classlist we are astonished by the speed of change happening right now. Each day the government is announcing changes in policies that impact our daily lives in both a professional and personal capacity.

At the same time, we are heartened by the extent that school communities are working together to help each other. How creative solutions are being developed to ensure inclusiveness for school communities and beyond the school gate to their extended families.

Below is a summary of the week’s latest trends happening in Classlist school communities.

  • 17 November What’s Trending: Pop Up Christmas Shops

    Pop up shops are ‘popping’ in all kinds of guises. From full e-commerce solutions to a social media feed or Classlist group with posts and discount codes for parents.

    Some schools are creating pop up shops on e-commerce platforms to sell items. Platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace, Wix and Weebly. All of these solutions are subscription services. So the potential sales need to outweigh these monthly charges.

    At the cheaper end, schools are using Facebook pages and Classlist to create a virtual pop up shop or destination for parents to purchase Christmas fare. Either create posts with discount codes in your feed on Facebook. Or on Classlist set up a group called ‘Christmas Market’ as a destination point for your parents. If you wish to save time (and money we don’t charge for use of our platform), collect payments by:

    • setting up an event;
    • adding tickets and prices to sell specific items.
    Pop up shop Christmas

    Once your parent body can collect cash online, it opens up huge opportunities for not just the Christmas season. We expect that pop up shops will become a permanent fixture.

    Another popular topic this week is teacher’s presents. This of course is now reliant on cashless collection from parents. Click here for present ideas that are popular during lockdown. For more school community trends click here

  • 10 November What’s Trending: Online Social Groups During Lockdown

    This week much of Europe imposed a second lockdown. Consequently families are again, struggling to connect. Both at the school gate and in their social circles. At the same time there are concerns about pupil and family mental health. Due to the lack of opportunities to make new friends. Whilst promise of a vaccine is on the horizon, group gatherings aren’t going to happen anytime soon.

    Online social

    Some school communities are addressing this problem by creating online social groups for families to join. Fortunately, Classlist is perfectly placed to host these groups. Firstly, members are already pre-vetted on Classlist. So this sets the foundation in which members can trust each other. Secondly, anyone can create a social group in a matter of seconds on the platform.

    Setting up social groups in your community

    Social groups

    To ensure their success, there are some important factors to take into account when setting up sub-groups within a school community:

    • At least 100 active members in your community. Any fewer members and you are diluting your conversations too much. New groups are unlikely to get any traction or worse, take over your community’s mainstream.
    • Appoint a group leader for each sub-group. Don’t just hope for the best and think setting up a group it will just run itself. Ask a parent to take the lead. If they are interested in the topic or activity that the group supports this shouldn’t be a hard sell. You should give them some opening suggestions on how to get the ball rolling. After the group proves to be a success you may have another candidate to take on more responsibilities.
    • If a group dies disband it. Don’t leave sub-group ghost towns. And if a group is successful promote these to other members rather than attempt to revive less popular groups.
    • Groups that are topic based are usually more successful than goal based groups. With the exception of newcomers groups and international parent groups. Their aim is clear – to help new and outsiders to integrate. Furthermore, these early connections often result in long term friendships.
    • Topic based groups that are popular include: book clubs – this year’s big hit; Covid-19 discussions; theatre groups; returning to work; and wellness tips.
    • Activity based groups that thrive in school communities evolve around walking – with dogs or without. Use the signup tool on Classlist to schedule groups. For instance – groups of two to walk with each other. New activity groups emerging include meditation (sessions held on zoom); and music appreciation.
    Social groups of two
    Use Classlist’s sign up tool to schedule parents into socially distanced groups for in-person events

    For more inspiration

    Do listen to our recent podcast with Charlotte Bullock, who describes some of her highly successful groups hosted on Classlist at Latimer Upper School. Learning something new, making the most of talented teachers at the school and friendship are some of the benefits she highlights in the podcast.

    https://open.spotify.com/episode/5smM0s4swaPUeSc1i77W1N?si=V_S2HWzNT7SxybRiCLsdCQ

    For more school community trends click on the link here.

    For more school community trends click on the link here.

  • 30 October Whats trending: Virtual Wine Tasting

    Virtual wine tasting events are proving to be a popular way of kicking off the festive season. PTAs are starting to schedule in dates for the remainder of the term. Here are some tips from across the Classlist network, for getting the various components right for the night.

    Selecting and sourcing the wine

    In general, the equivalent of three wine bottles is the most popular number. Either as three full or six half bottles. Although there are a few enthusiastic hosts who are extending the tasting range by de-canting wine into even smaller bottles.

    Some PTAs have negotiated deals with the larger suppliers such as Majestic wines. Overall however, most schools have opted for their local wine merchant. Not only is this a way of supporting local business, the service is superior. With many merchants supplying cheese, charcuterie and snacks as well.

    Offering non alcoholic wine or a selection of teas can be a way of ensuring your event is more inclusive.

    Ticket prices

    The average ticket price is around £30 per person. If the event is a fundraiser PTAs are aiming to make around £5 per tickets after purchasing the wine and deliveries. Commonly, a discount of 10% on additional wine purchases is on the table. As a way of making the event financially worthwhile for the wine merchant and stocking up for the festive season.

    Video platforms

    Zoom continues to be popular way of hosting virtual events. Although Google is catching up, as the free version can host up to 250 participants without a time limit.

    Before you decide be clear about the aim of your event. Whether is about helping parents to get to know each other or raise funds. If it is the former, zoom’s breakout rooms facilitate more intimate get to know each other conversations. Whereas if your event has a wine expert to talk parents through the tasting and selling as many tickets as possible is an objective, Google Meetings could be a better choice.

    You can even set up teams and encourage parents to meet up before hand. Share ‘at home’ video tastings to get the crowd warmed up.

    The good news is that we are hearing on the ‘grape vine’ that virtual events including virtual wine tasting, are well attended. Possibly better than in-person events held in the past. Furthermore, no need to book a babysitter!

    For more school community trends click here.

  • 20 October What’s Trending: Virtual Open Days and Parent Advocates

    School open days are usually held in the Autumn. It’s a chance for a school to show off what they have to offer. And for families to get a feel for a school first hand. Also, to check out the facilities and meet pupils and staff.

    Virtual Open Days

    Due to the pandemic schools are unable to open their doors to physical visits. So instead many are hosting virtual open days. Four basic tips for making this a success:

    • Pay attention to lighting, camera positioning and sound. Such as use of photography bounce cards and high quality microphones.
    • Pre-record a tour of the school and interviews with pupils.
    • Assign a moderator to capture questions during senior staff presentations.
    • Lastly, record your open day. In case parents have poor wifi and drop out. Or couldn’t attend on the day.

    Commissioning videos can be expensive. Now with new video production tools on the market, we are seeing school marketing professionals creating their own videos. Mobile phone video footage or a montage of still photographs provides an effective tour of the school’s facilities. Combine this with some pupil interviews and you have all the necessary raw material. Tools such as Camtasia and Canva make editing and ‘post production’ a breeze.

    Some virtual conference platforms such as Hopin and Babl support participants getting to know each other. Traditionally these informal chats with fellow parents on Open Day tour can play a key part in their decision.

    And the reason why the more savvy school marketing departments are recruiting parents to become their ‘brand advocates’. For instance, asking parents to speak to prospective parents on 1-to-1 video calls.

    Parent advocates

    This approach is currently on trend with broader marketing techniques. Data backs up that people trust ‘brand advocates’ or ambassadors. More so than other sources. It’s not surprising therefore that parents trust other parents. So how can schools identify, recruit and support them?

    To find suitable parent advocates use science rather than bias. In other words look at the data. In particular, contributions to your school community. If your school is a on Classlist, you receive a weekly insight report that highlights your most valuable contributors. This shows you which parents in your community are helpful and trusted by their peers.

    Schools with thriving communities have parents adopting advocacy type behaviour. The best schools can score as high as 10% of their parents classified as advocates. And it is these parents that are taking leadership roles by helping with fundraising, acting as parent governors and recommending your school for example. Ideally, your marketing team is moving parents up the pipeline. From disengaged to highly committed to your school doing well.

    Selecting open day parent helpers

    Otherwise, you could source advocates from your PTA. They are often unsung super heroes that know your school inside and out.

    Less reliable, see which of your parents are most engaged on your social media channels. If they regularly share your material this may be a good sign. But check out who else they follow and their account more generally. Just to ensure their tweets are consistent with your school’s brand values.

    Give support and show appreciation

    Usually brand ambassadors and advocates receive payment or benefits in kind. Whereas in the case of parent advocates a show of appreciation will suffice.

    If your parents are calling prospective parents support them by giving them a FAQs (frequently asked questions) sheet. Not only will this give them confidence when making calls it helps to put your school’s best face forward.

    For more school community trends click on the link here.

  • 13 October What’s Trending: Outdoor classrooms

    As “screen addiction and why should parents worry” hits the headlines, it’s great to see trending this week on Classlist – schools are responding and setting up outdoor classrooms.

    Despite the days getting shorter there is so much scope for helping pupils get outside and down to nature. Learning how to identify different trees and plants for example. Or a sensory experience such as making pies in a mud kitchen. What is evident however, is how much parent associations are supporting outdoor classrooms. Especially signing up volunteers and creating a rota to help with their maintenance. From weeding once in a while, to making coffee for those carrying out the heavy clearing and digging work. There are plenty of jobs to go round and an opportunity to socialise albeit in small groups.

    Classlist’s sign up tool enables schools to schedule volunteers, taking into account a maximum of six at anyone time. Also don’t forget to sign up former pupils and parents. As many of us are working from home, it’s a great opportunity to not only help out but also get outdoors.

    Also linked to the outdoors and popular this year, are Christmas garden themed hampers. Instead of a recycled tin, throw in a hessian reusable bag displaying the school or your PTA’s logo.

    For more ideas and inspiration sign up your school to outdoor classroom day movement. For more school community trends click on the link here.

  • 5 October What’s Trending: School Parent Alumni

    It’s not just ex-pupils that are welcome back this year but former parents. Not only is the parent alumni a good source of volunteers, but a great addition to funds.

    Often parents have a strong allegiance to their children’s former school. Particularly if they live locally. Even though the school run was a chore, for many former parents they are left with a void. A fond memory and a continued sense of belonging to their school community .

    Savvy PTAs are ensuring that they retain the services and support of their parent alumni. Therefore widening their pool of potential donations. Either in kind, time or cash.

    Parent alumni can support in many ways

    Of course, meeting GDPR requirements is essential. Fortunately, as a Classlist member this is already sorted. All you need to do is transfer your final year group members to an Alumni year group on Classlist. Just label it Alumni 19/20. This helps your alumni members to bond as numbers start to grow. From our experience alumni members like to receive the weekly digest (hopefully contains some useful local recommendations) but don’t want the day to day notifications. Just add a post suggesting they update their profile with their preferred notification setting.

    Above all remember to invite this group to events and fundraisers. The more the merrier! For inspiration on cool virtual fundraising events check out our recent blog post.

    For more information about setting up your alumni click on the help page. More school community trends click here.

  • 29 September What’s Trending: PTA Subscriptions

    Asking parents to pay a PTA subscription is trending this week. Interestingly, it’s very common in the USA to charge PTA membership. So in terms of UK schools, is this a temporary move or is it here to stay?

    How much are PTA’s charging?

    Across the Classlist network of schools, the range of charges fall within a range of £20-£30 per year. Teacher’s presents both at Christmas and end of year are commonly part of the package. What differs however, are the extras such as:

    • Advent calendars
    • Christmas hampers
    • Pupil designed Christmas cards
    • Leaver’s hoodies
    • Water bottles with the school logo
    • Coupons from local businesses

    Donate hours instead?

    The trend of charging a subscription or fees makes a lot of sense this year when the traditional in-person events can’t be held at least in the short term. Although not common in the UK, other parts of world also monitor contributions in kind and time. In Australia schools recommend each parent commits to ten hours a year. Either in-school or remotely helping out. Whereas in the USA, two parent families are expected to commit to fifteen hours of service. Or paying $300 annually. Half this amount for single parents.

    The good news is PTAs can set up membership subscriptions on Classlist events. The signup tool enables volunteer time to be tracked too.

    Whether UK schools will follow this trend time will tell. In the meantime happy fundraising!

    For more school community trends click here.

    Subscriptions on the Classlist App
    Collect membership subscriptions from your parents today

  • 22 September What’s trending: prepping for the School Community AGM

    The Annual General Meeting or AGM is in calendars across Classlist’s network of schools this week. Unlike previous years however, these are all on video conference platforms. Whether on Google Meet, Zoom or Houseparty , there are no excuses anymore for parents not to attend.

    What is missing this year is the social aspect of an AGM. On the plus side, the Friends or Parents Association will save money on tea, biscuits or stronger beverages by going virtual. But really it’s a lost opportunity for parents to meet each other. And for organisers to recruit volunteers.

    Given this new environment, PTAs are hosting meetings this week in preparation of their AGM. As well as identifying potential new committee members, they are taking a step back to discuss bigger picture questions:

    • What is the purpose of our school community?
    • How do we need to adapt in light of this new remit?

    Writing a Purpose

    Your ‘purpose’ is the motivation for your school community. It taps into that thing that all successful school communities have in common:

    • being part of something bigger
    • working towards a common goal
    • building skills and getting better

    Tradition and school culture play a key role to help new comers understand the purpose of your community. Without in-person contact however, these social cues are missed.

    Writing down your purpose and sharing that with members at your AGM is more critical than ever. The best descriptions are specific, exciting and require team work.

    The structure of your purpose statement

    We bring together [insert who you bring together] to [what you’re going to accomplish together], so that we can [the benefits that come from being part of your school community]

    Some Examples

    We bring together parents, school staff and pupils for regular social activities, so that we can develop a trusted network of families to lean on through good and tough times.

    We bring together all our school’s families for volunteering and fundraising, so that we can develop our pupils interest in social responsibility and give back to others.

    We bring together families through our buddy programme, so that new families integrate quickly into our school and their new country.

    Now that you have your big purpose statement, you can agree what you want to achieve from your AGM. Besides reporting back on progress, is this going to be your chance to recruit new volunteers or explain how parents can donate to your cause.

    Time for your AGM

    Now that you have your Purpose Statement and clear objectives for your AGM, set an agenda and circulate in advance. Certainly this is more important in the case of a virtual meeting, when you can’t hand it out prior to the start.

    Make sure you include the video conferencing link, date and time in every key piece of communication. If you require attendees to vote consider this when choosing a video platform. Zoom allows polling. Remember hosts and co-hosts are not able to vote in polls themselves. Slido is simple to use and ideal for Q&A and polling. Google Meet is also coming soon with polling and Q&A features.

    Classlist community events now includes a video link where you can add your zoom meeting or google meet details. You can also ask questions of your attendees in advance of your meeting. Automatic meeting reminders are also sent out to ensure you get a good turn out.

    Video Link

    Good luck. We’d love to hear how your AGMs go and whether attendance is higher or lower in this new world of social distancing.

    Click on the link for more posts on what’s trending in school communities.

  • 8 September Whats Trending: Back to School

    This is a ‘Back to School’ like no other. There are new rules for parents and pupils to get to grips with, and these include banning parents from chatting outside many schools! How does it feel to be a new parent who can’t go inside school with their child? And can’t chat to other parents to find out if they are feeling the same?

    New ways of making families welcome

    Despite the challenges, there’s lots of evidence this week of parents making an effort to reach out to newcomers.

    Whether it is arranging virtual coffee mornings on zoom or arranging bubble playdates in local parks, parents are cautiously connecting. The Classlist contact list and map are proving to be super useful for these physical meet ups and finding who lives nearby. Children must limit social contact with their peers, and parents want to reduce time spent on travel too.

    Contacts and map

    Back to school tips

    Here are a few Back to School tips for Classlist Ambassadors:

    • Do you need to move up your classes on your School Structure? Here is a shortcut to our help link.
    • We have a new Ambassador ‘Welcome message’ that sends a private message to new joiners 24 hours after they join. So make sure you write your message on the School Profile page  
    • Schools with active PTAs and Class Reps can feel more welcoming. Then there is someone in each class looking out for who is new. Make sure you assign a Class Admin for each class. Remind them to invite new parents to join Classlist. Suggest they arrange a class get together as soon as that is possible.  Ask for volunteer reps – or just flatter a friendly parent by asking them directly.
    • The easiest way to invite parents to Classlist is to ask the teacher or School Office to send out a QR code Flyer. It is customised for your school and approves parents automatically.  Ask the School Office to email it out to all parents right away. The benefit that Classlist will connect them immediately with the parent community.  You can keep some flyers with you to hand to new parents too.
    • There are other videos, flyers and help articles in our Help Centre.
    • Check out the new Get Started Checklist on the Admin dashboard. It’s got plenty of tips and resources of things to do at this time of year.

    As ever, our friendly Help Team love to hear from Ambassadors, so do get in touch!

    For more school community trends click here.

  • 7 August What’s Trending: School run car share bubbles

    This week Classlist parents are talking about forming school run car share bubbles. In anticipation of returning to school next term.

    Although it’s the height of summer holidays, parents are already thinking ahead about the prospect of returning to school. In particular, how to get their kids to school under new lockdown rules. With some local councils and districts cancelling school bus services next term, parents are turning to each other for help. Arranging to car share with other families with kids the same age. But ensuring a routine with just one or two families within a Covid-19 bubble.

    Schools are also threatening to stagger school starts. This makes the job of school drop off and pick up even more complicated. Which is why parents are looking for local school families to car share with. New schools are signing up to the Classlist platform. To help their families to find others who live nearby to share the school run. 

    “The Classlist School Run enables parents to organise lift shares with confidence,“ says Richard Murray head teacher at Christ Church Cathedral School in Oxford.“It is far more than simply a super communication tool for our parents at Christ Church Cathedral School (CCCS). I was particularly attracted to the innovative School Run option on the platform.”

    After the school approves a family to join, they can opt into sharing their location. After forming a car share bubble, it easy to change the privacy settings for details shared.

    Car share map
    Find local families to car share with

    As many as 40% of registered parents sign up to Classlist’s parent map – and numbers are growing. The mobile-friendly service also enables pupils to find a buddy to walk or cycle to school with.

    For more school community trends click here.

  • 30th July What’s Trending: New Friendships
    New friends

    Making new friends before the new school year

    Making new friends is trending on Classlist this week. Parents are busily arranging playdates for their children. Especially new families connecting before the start of the school year.

    A positive sign, as child mental health experts urge their governments to prioritise children’s socialising with friends. Indeed, it’s a significant issue. With around 1.4 billion children worldwide living under partial or full lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic

    Peer play and wellbeing

    According to a recent article in the Guardian, experts from top UK universities including Cambridge and Sussex, say peer play will be essential to help relieve stress and anxiety among children. “At this time, many children’s emotional health will be suffering due to loneliness and isolation. As experts in children’s mental health and development, we urge the government to prioritise children’s social and emotional wellbeing. In all decisions related to the easing of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of schools.”

    According to Dr Jenny Gibson, senior lecturer in psychology and education at the University of Cambridge, “playing with friends and classmates has a very significant impact on their social development.

    Under normal circumstances parents are aware of the importance of peer play. Consequently, they invest a lot of energy and time to help their children to make new friends. Now with concerns over their child’s mental health, parents are even keener to arrange playdates and meet ups. At the same time, as there is pressure to meet up with friends, many parents are hesitant about sending their children back to school next term. Due to physical health concerns. 

    Technology not a substitute but can help

    Technology, although not as good as meeting in person, enables a form of face to face contact. It can start to create some level of connectedness and at least a kick start to early friendships. 

    To help parents connect with new families we’ve built Classbudi – AI powered video chat tool that introduces new families to each other for small group chats. With helpful follow up emails. To remind you of who you’ve met in your class and are yet to meet. 

    classbudi make better friends

    Here is the latest government advice on meeting family and friends. Plus a link to guidance for full opening of schools.

    Build your community

    Classlist Ambassadors play a key role to help community members form meaningful relationships. This in turn leads to new friends for both pupils and parents. You can now customise your welcome message to new parents to get the ball rolling. This is sent automatically to new joiners.

    welcome new members

    For more posts on what’s trending on Classlist click here.

    Have a wonderful summer, good luck on making new friends and take care.

    Susan and Clare

    Classlist Founders


What’s trending Week 4 May 2020

Video recording
Headteachers and staff are learning fast how effective video can help homeschooling and community building.

Video is the new normal

Video for school communities has become the new normal. Both recordings from Headteachers and class teachers comprising daily updates and lessons. Plus live video meetups for PTA planning or class virtual coffees. Even after schools re-open we are confident this new habit is here to stay. Video offers both convenience and potentially inclusiveness. More effective in reaching those harder to reach parents (all you need is a smartphone). More efficient than the informality of the school gate.

In light of this, here at Classlist we have made it much easier to share videos from youtube and links from other sources to your parent community. Just look out for the Classlist icon and select the class you wish to share with.

Virtual PTA Time

PTAs are adapting with many arranging virtual PTA meetings this week. A key challenge for many committees is recruiting new members to join or shadow existing committee roles. Now more than ever – key criteria for recruiting will be digital communication and marketing skills. A good way of identifying this is by reviewing those parents that are responding to posts from others on Classlist or other social media. Those parents who are volunteering to help out. Who are assiduous at reading all the comms the school sends out and helping the rest of us to remember what we need to complete, fill out and generally overcome school administration mental overload.

Those job descriptions you may have used before for your committee need to be updated to reflect this new skills gap.

What’s trending Week 27 April 2020

Local business
Parents are supporting fellow parent businesses in their school community

Local businesses needing help

A key trend spotted this week – are parents coming together to support their local business often run by a parent in their school community. To help support these efforts we’ve added further fields to the parent profile page where parents can add their business website, social media pages. There is also an about field where you can describe anything – including your business or services. According to our observations – if parents know about you and your business the community will do what it can to step in and help.

Profile page on Classlist

Parents can now set up a promotional campaign directly on the website https://business.classlist.com. If you give us the heads up about these businesses we will give 25% to back to your school.

Online fatigue

A big trend that isn’t happening compared with this time last year are face to face events. Welcome picnics for new families, leavers parties and summer fairs. If your school needs some help supporting newcomers here is our recent blog. Feel free to pass to your headteacher. https://blog.classlist.com/5-tips-new-pupils-lockdown/. In the meantime join our Ambassador Circle and get more ideas from other Ambassadors who are coming up with innovative ways of integrating new parents.

Sadly, the frustrations around homeschooling is dominating conversations instead of discussions about fun events! The statement below pretty much sums up.

Homeschooling

What’s trending Week 20 April 2020

Virtual quiz nights are taking off across the country

Virtual Quiz Nights

Some schools are returning this week to a new kind of schooling: reaching out to pupils using a whole host of platforms from Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts – the list is long. Maintaining engagement is a challenge and parents are juggling with extracting their children from more tempting digital distractions.

Counterbalancing the downside of this, is the upsurge in virtual quizzes occurring in school communities along with the rest of the nation. Our Classlist school ambassadors are expert quizmasters, regularly running successful school wide events each year, raising money for their schools and local charities. Drawing on this expertise and knowledge we have written a guide how to run a virtual quiz night for your school community.

What’s trending Week 13 April 2020

Plenty of Easter Creativity

Pupils helping out the NHS

After the incredible 750,000 volunteers who signed up to help the NHS it is not surprising that many of us are still waiting to be assigned a task. In the meantime lots of school communities are getting stuck in: either running virtual fundraising events, collecting food and household item donations or creating PPE gear. Asking children to do errands at home and donate their earnings to the NHS is certainly going down well with parents.

Leavers Hoodies and Year Books

It will certainly be a different right of passage for this year’s cohort of leavers. No exams for the more senior years. Possibly no final discos or leavers balls. Although we are crossing fingers that they might still happen…. Plenty of reminders about last call for Leavers Hoodies orders. Plus contributions to year books.

A final gathering even if virtual can alleviate some of the stress during this time of transition. If you would like to learn more about how to host a final “Leavers Wave Rave” click here to book your place.

Happy Easter!

Plenty of Easter craft sessions ranging from sharing Easter themed photos, decorate an egg competitions to Easter bonnets.


What’s trending Week 30th March 2020

home learning google search trends
Google search trends

Homeschooling

Last week we detected online learning as trending but home learning and homeschooling are becoming the phrases of the moment: Google search queries of the terms have basically gone vertical (see chart above). Likewise, on Classlist headteachers and staff are using announcements to distribute course work: adding in youtube links to daily videos and links to zoom class gatherings.

If you are looking to help your headteacher in reaching out to parents we suggest that you use the Classlist community events feature and add your links into the event description. This way parents will get prompted about the live event and be able to access the link to join more easily.

virtual coffee
Adding a zoom link into the Classlist events tool

Online safety

Social media channels are battling to prevent the monetisation of the word coronavirus. Amazon, Google are no longer allowing bidders to bid on coronavirus as a keyword in search. This is to prevent the spread of misinformation.

Schools are informing parents to watch out for scams relating to free school meals and not to share any banking information with anyone.

Schools are readily adopting enterprise video conferencing and document storage software such as Teams, Zoom and Dropbox. But Heads are recommending guidelines should be issued prior to usage as there have been cases of children behaving not so well towards each other. Hosts can record events and transcribe conversations. So participants are placing a great deal of trust in them.

Here are some further helpful hints on how to protect your privacy on Zoom. https://www.consumerreports.org/video-conferencing-services/zoom-teleconferencing-privacy-concerns/

More informal video software such as Houseparty has seen a surge in downloads. Whilst it’s easy to sign up to and use there are some security issues and it isn’t ideal for the under 16’s according to National Online Safety They have issued guidelines “What parents need to know about Houseparty” In addition to the concerns highlighted by National Online Safety, we would like to make parents aware that Houseparty holds all your child’s data in the USA and is not subject to European data protection and privacy requirements.

Virtual childcare

Working parents have set up a virtual childcare system, where one of the group tends to the others’ children online while the rest get on with their work. We look forward to hearing more how this is working!

Online programmes that are giving parents a brief respite include Joe Wicks 9:00am PE Fitness, David Wallam 11:00 story time, and NiiX.fitness 3pm 15 minute kids exercise class. Lots of teachers are setting gardening and outside play projects to help children get away from screens.

In the case of teenagers, getting them out of bed seems to be main challenge……

Contact us support@classlist.com if you would like to receive your school community’s insight report. He is a link that explains the key metrics tracked for achieving a thriving school community.


What’s trending Week 23 March 2020

Top trends this week: online learning, volunteering and virtual fitness.

Online learning

This week’s headline trend is all about online learning. Teachers are coming onboard Classlist to distribute homework and interesting materials to keep them engaged in the subject to hand. A whole range of tools are being used: Google classroom and links to youtube videos. Teachers are becoming very adapt at recording their classes. For the younger years, reading stories to their class. The older kids, teachers are setting fun quizzes.

Teacher recording a class

Volunteering for the NHS

Volunteering discussions are still super active. Perhaps not a surprise that over half a million people volunteered to help the NHS this week.

NHS Doctor request for volunteers

Virtual fitness

Parents are also discussing online fitness for their kids. Joe Wick’s free morning workout is proving to be very popular with our members. Dogs are also getting more exercise, a more popular chore than clearing the dishwasher.

We are delighted to announce one of our business sponsors is now offering a FREE 15 minute session for kids starting at 3pm, if you have managed to stick to some kind of school timetable for the day. Go to https://www.instagram.com/niix.fit/?hl=en to take advantage of these fun sessions.


What’s trending Week 16 March 2020

Here we will share with you some of the wonderful ways that Classlist Ambassadors are helping their school communities. Here are the top three trends for this week:

Grandparent talking to another grandparent from their grandchildren's school.
Grandparent talking to another grandparent from their grandchildren’s school.

Looking after grandparents

Years ago we built in grandparent membership for the obvious reason that many grandparents are involved in regularly caring for their grandchildren, especially school pickups and drop offs.

Another trend we observed, was that a sizeable number of our members were the ‘sandwich generation’, responsible for looking after younger children and their parents at the same time. We saw grandparent coffee mornings being set up to enable grandparents to meet each other and make friends around their common interest – their grandchildren.

Face to face meet ups will be a challenge for this group in the next few months. Classlist is helping however to identify those grandparents living locally by encouraging them to share their location when they join Classlist. The landline is a lifeline for this generation. The Classlist contact list that displays phone numbers offers familiar ground. We’re taking this a step further with a gentle nudge to [encourage grandparents to call each other during this time of prolonged isolation].

Here is a video link showing [how to add grandparents to their school community on Classlist]

COVID-19 Q&A Groups

An opportunity for communities to ask questions of its leaders is good practice, essential when the landscape is changing so rapidly. Setting up a group on Classlist in which parents can post questions for school leadership to answer is an effective way of curbing the rumour mill propagating untruths on unreliable WhatsApp groups.

A group that is accessible to the school community but not linked up with other social media is an effective way of addressing parent concerns.

Arranging volunteers

Signing up volunteers is an essential role parent associations carry out. The peak season for needing helpers is usually at Christmas at the fete or in the summer term for the Christmas fair. These organisational skills are now being put to use to help support those families in the school that are already self isolating. We are seeing parent associations suggesting to those families in isolation to create on classlist events a ‘wish list’.Here is a list of the kind of things featuring:

  • Virtual playdates
  • Virtual happy hours
  • Virtual homework sessions for specific subjects
  • Dog walking rotas
  • Offers to take pictures or capture videos of school events that are still continuing. Music concerts for example.

Here is a link to [some kind of resource or video to help set up help]

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