Over 100 million text messages are sent every day in the UK and most of them are from young people. Now schools are starting to benefit from fast desktop text messaging and cutting costs at the same time.

For the vast majority of people working in schools the everyday method of contacting parents has been the humble satchel post, but that is rapidly changing and the countless crumpled notes languishing at the bottom of schoolbags are being replaced by a communication method more appropriate to the 21st century. Parents, and in some cases students, are now being sent text messages directly to their phones. This communication is quick, discreet, to the point, to the person, eco-friendly and delivery can be tracked to the handset unlike the poor crumpled satchel post note.

Independent School database specialist WCBS has joined forces with SMS text message experts Cy-nap to use the edutxt® messaging platform in co-operation with the PASS management information system. School management and teachers are now feeling real benefits from this meeting of technologies. They can take their existing contacts from their administration system into edutxt® and then type messages into a simple web interface. They can send messages to individuals or groups now or schedule them for delivery at some time in the future. Those messages can be for parents or students.

The SMS (Short Message System) text message market is booming. This time last year there were close to 2 billion messages in one month sent in the UK, in July 2006 this was over 3 billion and the growth shows no signs of slowing.

We investigated the ways that schools are using desktop text messaging and these are some of our findings: Instant messages – about school closure, rearranged sports fixtures or late returning trips. Reminders or changes to parent teacher evenings / training days / calendar dates. Reminders to sign up for trips, or return forms. In house communication between management teams / heads of year etc. Daily exam tips are also being sent to help students revise.

There are a number of companies which offer SMS services, but only one company which specialises in the education market: edutxt®. The edutxt® application is a secure online application, you log in online much like you do when you are accessing online banking – in fact the security is the same.

edutxt® is used by over 170 UK universities & colleges and hundreds of schools. It allows the user to simply manage, send and receive text messages to a mobile phone anywhere in the world. It is possible to send a text to one person or any number of people instantly.

Tony Child managing director of WCBS said “ An increasing number of PASS users have requested a text messaging add-on to the software. As this is an area where we have no expertise or experience we feel it is best to partner with an industry leader. PASS2.1, shipping in early 2007, has the ability for schools to push the appropriate contact data to edutxt. This will allow users to take full advantage of the full range of texting services and options available from edutxt, whilst increasing the scope of their PASS system.”

Stephen McCann, managing director of edutxt says; “We are very pleased to be working in partnership with such a well respected company as WCBS.” He continues “Text messaging is causing the same kind of stir in education that e-mail did 10 years ago when it started to replace paper communication, it revolutionized fast, effective, to-the-point communication. The key difference is that e-mail is still only available to a percentage of the population and when they are at their desks – the mobile phone is with almost the entire population wherever they are day and night. To be able to harness this technology using existing contacts from the administration system gives the school a very powerful communication tool indeed.”

For further information e-mail info@edutxt.co.uk or visit www.wcbs.co.uk and www.edutxt.co.uk
A one month free trial is available on request.

ENDS

About edutxt®
"mobile technology helping people to manage their lives"

The company specialises in high quality text message applications for the education sector. edutxt® is used extensively in schools, colleges and universities to communicate with students and parents.
About PASS.
PASS is the leading school-wide management information system for the UK’s independent school sector. It is produced and supported by WCBS, the company that has specialised in meeting the needs of this sector for over 20 years. The software is in use in more than 330 such schools.

PRESS CONTACT
For further information or a free trial please contact:

Steve McCann
t: +44(0)113 234 2111
e: smccann@cy-nap.com
w: www.txttools.co.uk

WCBS Contact
Tony Child
t: 01458 833344
e: Tony.Child@wcbs.co.uk
http://www.wcbs.co.uk/

Published on: 12:00AM on 1st November 2006