An easier way to select Student Lists for Slips and Broadcasts

The current Student List selector has been a little problematic for schools with many Student Lists, so we have added a ‘typeahead’ box at the top of the box displaying available Lists on the left side. Simply start typing the name of the List you are looking for and the available options will automatically filter to reflect the text you enter.

It’s a easy way to quickly locate the Student List you need amongst dozens or hundreds.

Obviously it’s important to have your students organised in way that makes sense for your school, and then be able to select those via the Student Lists when you wish to send out a Slip or Broadcast.

Some of our larger ParentPaperwork schools over time have amassed a great many Student Lists. Others are maintaining a large number just day to day because we are not just pulling Year Levels, Home Rooms lists from their student database, but subject classes, co-curricular and others. The new typeahead feature makes finding and selecting Lists super simple.

The same works in reverse, if you have selected a large group of Student Lists you can locate one to remove from the Slip/Broadcast by typing the name of the desired list into the box at the top of the right hand column of selected Lists.


Send School Forms to multiple Staff

ParentPaperwork allows you to create a School Form and send it to multiple staff members for completion. An obvious example would asking a group of staff to accept an ICT usage policy.

Create the Form

To create a copy of the Form for multiple staff select the School Form template, and change the drop down ‘This Form is for me’ to ‘No’. Select the names of the Staff who need to complete the form. If there is a file that needs to be attached then click Add Files.

When ready click the Save New Form and a Draft will be created. If all details are correct click the Complete button. A copy of the Form will be created for each of the selected Staff.


Notification to Staff Members

An email notification will be sent to each of the selected Staff members, with a link to their copy of the Form.


Staff Open the Form

When the Staff member clicks their link their copy of the Form will open, with the Form assigned to them.


Staff Edit the Form

The Staff member edits the Form as if they had created it, they click the Edit Form button, enter information into the fields, and click the Save Form button.


Staff Complete the Form

Once the Staff member is happy with the information they have entered they click the Complete button to submit the Form.

Note you can set up additional workflow steps, for example, to send a notification to other Staff on submission, or to request Approval.


ParentPaperwork Case Study – I CAN Network, its mission and its activities

150_james-ong_20160527James Ong is the Director (Central) of the I CAN Network, Australia’s first social enterprise founded by people with Autism, and a ParentPaperwork customer. James recently spoke to ParentPaperwork’s Fiona Boyd and explained the origins of I CAN, its mission and its activities.

What was the reason, genesis story, for the I CAN network?

I met Chris Varney (the Founder of I CAN network) in 2012 while I was in a leadership program in university. Chris disclosed that he was on the Autism Spectrum and I also disclosed privately to him that I was also on the spectrum. Chris had an idea about helping people like ourselves that we kept talking about throughout 2013. We finally opened I CAN Network in September 2013.

We established I CAN Network because in Australia it is difficult to be a person on the Autism Spectrum. Compared with the typical population, people on the Autism Spectrum are less likely to go into tertiary education (81% who finished school do not complete a TAFE certificate or university degree) and to be employed (36% people on the Autism Spectrum are employed).

Often we find life difficult due to negative perceptions surrounding the condition in our society. This not only drags people on the Autism Spectrum down but their needs as people are also not catered for (86% students on the Autism Spectrum find school difficult).

I CAN Network was established to not only encourage optimism and skills development in young people on the Autism Spectrum but also to change the perceptions of society to view Autism through a strengths-based lens rather than a deficits-based lens.

What does I CAN do, what is its purpose?

I CAN Network runs mentoring programs in six primary schools, nine secondary schools, two communities and one workplace. Our mentoring programs are aimed to have mentees see their Autism in a more positive light and to develop skills that will allow them to function better in school and society.

We also run a Speakers Agency where people on the Autism Spectrum talk about the strengths and insights of Autism to schools, workplaces, clubs and governments. These presentations are aimed at shifting the perceptions of the public and moving them towards a more positive view of Autism. We also run camps for teens and young adults to give them a positive camp experience as well as to make new friends.

I CAN network has been with ParentPaperwork for a while, how does using the ParentPaperwork platform benefit the work you’re able to do?

We have been using Parent Paperwork to create and send forms for the camps we run. Previously we received paper forms from parents whose children were attending camp.

This was tedious and took ages to compile as I had to physically check that all the fields had been completed and to chase parents to properly fill out the forms.

It was also inconvenient for parents as they had to scan and re-scan paper forms to send to us. We also had to chase up parents who didn’t send the forms back.

With Parent Paperwork, it is way easier for us to create a form online and send it through to parents to complete. As well as that we can track to see who has not completed a form and send out a reminder email in a timely way. It is also so much easier to gather information from Parent Paperwork in an electronic format.

As a new-ish social enterprise, what are the goals you’ve set?

Our vision is “a world that benefits from embracing Autism” and our purpose is “to prove what people with Autism can do”. We aim to change the mindsets of people on the Autism Spectrum and to see their strengths rather than focus too much on their deficits through our school and camp programs. Through our Speakers Agency, we also aim to change the perception of people on the Autism Spectrum in the public mind more generally. And in terms of working in the I CAN Network, we aim to have 50% of people on the Autism Spectrum working on our team .

What do you think are the most noteworthy achievements of I CAN so far?

From the evaluations collected recently, satisfaction towards the mentoring programs has been very strong. 95% of 41 primary school mentees and 81% of 59 secondary school mentees were really happy to be part of an I CAN Network mentoring program.

Interestingly we also found  that there was a strong sense of belonging in both the primary and secondary school mentoring programs, where those on the program were able to be themselves and to talk freely about their interests and problems without being intimidated or ostracised.

What are the things that make your job harder? What are the things that make it easier?

I am currently the Evaluations and Social Impact Manager of the I CAN Network, in addition I am also a PhD student who works in a lab. It is a challenge balancing the two roles but there are also benefits to working this way.  I get the unique advantage of being able to develop skills and knowledge from both areas that I can transfer between my roles.

Fortunately, I have a lot of friends who look out for me and help with the effort required in the I CAN Network, hence lifting a load off my shoulders when needed which helps keep me focussed on my PhD at the key times I need to be.

‘I Can’t’ used to be such a common default phrase in Australian culture when I was growing up (and I’m 50!). I used to really get annoyed at it and at people telling me what I could or could not do. How important do you think it is for young people with ASD (is that the right terminology?) that the words we choose to use, and phrases etc are empowering and not instantly limiting?

I use “young people on the Autism Spectrum” when describing the people we work with. For young people on the Autism Spectrum, it is very important that we empower them and put aside any prejudices of what people on the Autism Spectrum can and cannot do. Young people on the Autism Spectrum can be weighed down by negative comments from the public to the point where it can affect their belief systems and actions.

However, if they receive encouragement and empowered language from people close to them, they start to believe in themselves and defy the stereotypes that they usually have to deal with. Here at the I CAN Network, we give young people on the Autism Spectrum the belief that they can do whatever it is they’re seeking to do and we can then see the positive results that come from the change in their beliefs about themselves.

What can we look forward to from I CAN over the next 12 months?

We aim to expand our mentoring programs to more schools and communities in metropolitan and rural Victoria. We’re also taking up speaking opportunities in other states and we’re also looking at establishing mentoring programs in the other states. You can find more information on how we are progressing at the I CAN Network at

We’ve updated our tutorial videos!

ParentPaperwork is a constantly evolving product, as new exciting features are continually added in response to all the feedback from our schools.

That also means that we have to make sure that we keep all of our support and help information up to date.

We have recently finished a big update of all of our tutorial videos, which now reflect ParentPaperwork’s current interface. New videos have been added for more recent features, in order to help our schools use ParentPaperwork as seamlessly as possible.

There are now more than a dozen videos up on the support page which will help you with some of the most common features in ParentPaperwork. These videos are simple, basic and understandable.

Here are some examples of the help videos we have compiled:

Often it’s much easier to learn how to do something by watching someone else complete a task, so we hope you find the tutorial videos a great aid to using ParentPaperwork.

If you have any requests for help videos or have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact our support team at



Display charts and graphs of parent online form submissions

The online form submissions from parents using ParentPaperwork can now be analysed with charts and graphs. We have reorganised the Parent Slip page and added three tabs – Slip, Responses and Analysis.


Slip Tab

This displays the Slip preview/overview as before.

Responses Tab

The list of Responses for a Slip that previously hid at the bottom of the page now has its own tab, making it much easier to access, you don’t need to scroll all the way down the page anymore – something a number of people had commented on as being a little annoying.

Analysis/Charts Tab

The Analysis tab will display a chart for each ‘closed response’ question on the Slip. So select lists and checkboxes which have a closed list of answers will automatically have bar graphs created. There is a Print button that will open a new page wiht the charts formatted for printing, one chart per page. You could also screen shot a chart if you need to include it in another document in Microsoft Word or Powerpoint as part of a presentation.

The top chart will always be the ‘Contact Response’ – the mauve field in the Form Template Designer, the main question that must be on all Slips. The rest of the charts will then display in order below.

You might be using ParentPaperwork to survey parents, or capture their orders for fundraising products – but we know that most people respond positively to visual representations of data. It’s fine giving you Excel exports and lists of numbers and values, but a chart offers a simple and effective way of quickly analysing the results of your parent’s online form submissions – whatever the questions you asked.

We’re looking at further opportunities to utlise the data you are capturing and reporting in ParentPaperwork, we believe there’s much more that can we can do to help you understand and interpret the data, and we think everyone will agree this new analysis feature is a great step forward.



Archive ParentPaperwork Student Lists

Student Lists are a great way to organise groups of Students to whom you will be sending Parent Slips. The Lists could be the students’ home rooms, the swimming team, the brass band – whatever you like. A Student can be assigned to any one or more of the Student Lists, and you can maintain as many Lists as you like. If we have a live connection to your student management database then ParentPaperwork can be reading any student groupings you might have in the database as well.

We have introduced the ability to archive Student Lists that you are not actively using, but which you wish to maintain for future reference or use.

When viewing the list of Student Lists select one or more by clicking the corresponding checkbox, then click the Action drop and select Move Selected to Archive. The Lists will no longer display by default in the ‘Current’ view, but you see them anytime by selecting Archive from the dropdown in the search bar and clicking the Search button.


Customise your school branding on the ParentPaperwork Parent Slip form page

Recently we introduced the ability for your school to select the header and footer colours in the notification emails sent to parents advising them of new Slips they need to complete. The school logo is already displayed in the emails and this change meant the email branding could be completely consistent with the school’s style guide.

We’ve had a great reaction to this update so we’ve taken it a step further, and you can now select the header banner colour at the top of the online form page where the parents complete and submit their Slip.

Click on your user name at the top right, click Settings from the menu, the from the Settings page select Customise Parent Slip Response Page.

By default, if you do not select any colours, the banners will be in the ParentPaperwork corporate purple shade – you can click the Reset button to return to the purple.


ParentPaperwork Case Study – Macarthur Anglican School

Tim Cartwright from Macarthur Christian School writes about the benefits of ParentPaperwork's online forms.
Tim Cartwright from Macarthur Anglican School writes about the benefits of ParentPaperwork’s online forms.

Tim Cartwright, Dean of Students K-12 at Macarthur Anglican School, writes about the benefits of ParentPaperwork’s online forms and how ParentPaperwork has assisted his school. Tim says parents are now receiving notes and returning slips almost immediately, and his staff appreciate the less stressful chase of slips – being able to see the correct students have all received slips; and which parent has responded



Tell us a little about your school – where you are located, how many students, what’s great about your school?

Macarthur Anglican School is located in Cobbitty NSW on 100 acres, 50 mins from Sydney. We have over 800 students from Transition to Year 12, offering excellent facilities and opportunities for students to develop their academic, musical, sporting, community responsibility and leadership skills in a safe and caring environment.

Introduce yourself, your role at the school, what you particularly enjoy!

Tim Cartwright – Dean of Students K-12.  Part of my role at the School is to manage all excursions, and extra curricular activities of all students.  Included in this is  the collection of all necessary paper work involved with running excursions eg. Risk Assessments, bookings, staffing etc.  Despite the business of school life I love seeing systems and processes working together to ensure the efficient running of complex programs and associated activities.

Which aspect of ParentPaperwork most particularly prompted you to give the system a try?

To have a paperless system, for both the school and parents. Also to have a more efficient system to collect, approve and store paperwork required.

What are some of the best things that have happened from implementing Parent Paperwork at your school?

Parents are receiving all excursion notes as soon as they are sent, not waiting for children to give them to them, which has slips being returned quickly and at a much greater rate. Students joining late to an excursion are easily added.

Slips and school forms are now going through the proper channel, being processed quicker, with higher consistency, and automatically going to the many departments requiring the information.

What was the process of introducing Parent Paperwork with your current school management systems like?

Essentially, it was just a matter of systematically working through existing paper work and transferring the information into templates that would be easily accessed by staff.  The roll-out into the public sphere started with small groups of students and gradually increased into year groups after a few issues were identified and changes made.  I am still making small changes to templates to ensure that data collection is easiest for parents and for teachers to access as needed.

How have parents and staff reacted to Parent Paperwork?

Parents are now receiving notes and returning slips almost immediately, and being able to add the excursion as an event on their calendar to remind them is fantastic.

Staff appreciate the less stressful chase of slips, and to be able to see the correct students have all received slips; which parent has responded, opened the email or not opened the email, is great. Also to export the data to manipulate to see/have the relevant information for an excursion is excellent.

Administration staff appreciate having each slip available as the slips are sent, allowing them to answer or pass on information for students/parents with better efficiency.

What are the key benefits you have experienced? Have there been any unexpected benefits that you didn’t anticipate?

Slips returned so quickly.

Staff using correct notes, completing all school forms.

What sort of savings are you seeing as a result of using ParentPaperwork?

Time in issuing slips

Ease in re-sending slips

Cost in paper copies and time in processing

What would you say to other schools considering implementing ParentPaperwork into their school? Any handy tips?

Watch the Tutorial Videos and ask questions – they always get answered!

Play in the different areas to see all it can do, it is a wonderful system that can do so very much.

The staff at ParentPaperwork are excellent, will answer the silly questions and take all suggestions on board for either immediate change or future updates.

Important information about pricing changes for ParentPaperwork

ParentPaperwork CEO and Co-Founder Fiona Boyd reflects on the past two years and outlines changes to ParentPaperwork’s subscription pricing model.

Who would believe it’s been nearly two years since ParentPaperwork started in all earnestness after winning the first Startup Victoria Pitch Competition at the end of August 2014.

We had an early stage platform in beta from late May that year and a couple of trial customers helping us identify how to go about creating the most universal platform we could to replace paper forms in schools, but we really came out of the gate with some gusto after the pitch win.

What I loved most about this business from the beginning was that before one line of code was even written we were talking to our children’s teachers, principals and other school leadership about what issues most mattered to them in terms of compliance paperwork and all the issues of liability around that.

ParentPaperwork as a concept was born in a humble but practical way. Neither of the two co-founders, myself or David Eedle, loved the constant stream of excursion, incursion, rsvp, subject selection, music selection, etc forms that were coming home to us for signing for our three children. In a fit of pique after just one too many forms and a growing belief that schools just wanted to keep Mums busy signing things, I told David to take the form signing job on.

He did. And being an analytical, data driven kind of guy, within a few months he’d collected a stash of forms he’d signed, copied them, and then one Friday pizza night lined them up along the kitchen counter and said ‘I think we need to do this differently.’

David and I have a long history creating businesses together and our most successful venture to date, has been the online community Arts Hub, that we started in 2000 and sold to private investors in 2006. Arts Hub is going to celebrate its 16th birthday in October this year, something we’re very proud of.

Part of what made Arts Hub successful was that the systems David created really made sense to the people using them. The content management system was straight forward and easy-to-use and didn’t require special training. After checking out the limited CMS’s available at the time, most of them costing $2m a year or more to license, we realised we wouldn’t get Arts Hub away unless we built our own technology and in a way that was super easy for our writing team to use. Arts Hub is a jobs and news service for the arts industry worldwide and it was key to its success that content could be created, edited, displayed and published quickly and in a fuss free way.

So my point to David was, go talk to educators and find out what the forms issue is like from the schools side of the equation. We think as parents it’s cumbersome and annoying and easy to lose track of, but is it such a problem from the teacher or school administrator point-of-view? And please don’t develop a technology that is whizzy and cool but doesn’t really make lives easier for the people using it. After many meetings at our children’s schools and others who were willing to give us their insight, David sat down and created the ParentPaperwork platform.

With our first few sales we weren’t really clear what pricing model would work, so we deliberately pitched low and took a stab at pricing around student number tiers. As time moves on and the product has grown in sophistication, functional power and the uses by schools now numbers in the many hundreds, we realise that in order to grow the business and keep adding the new powerful functionality our current customers request from us, we need a better pricing model.

So, from 1 September 2016 we’ll be changing our pricing structure.

The current model is tiered to the number of students in a school and can be quite inequitable if you’re at the wrong end of the tier. Prices can range from $1.45 per student up to $5.00 per student within the current model.

With the new model we’ll be charging a flat per student price of $3.60 per year per module – so $3.60 per student for Parent Slips and $3.60 per student for School Forms.

After testing the new price with current customers and potential new schools we think the price is really attractive and the new model is much fairer.

But some of our current customers are probably thinking, ‘hey, we were at the good end of the pricing tier under the current model and the price works for us.’ Because we’ve had great input from our first few hundred schools that has helped us develop and grow ParentPaperwork in ways that really matter in schools, the team here has decided to grandfather the price of all schools signed before 1 September 2016 and that their price will only ever increase by CPI in the future.

For many of our schools that will mean that as long as you remain a subscriber to ParentPaperwork the price to your school can be as much as one third of the cost of a new school subscription post 1 September 2016.

If there are any schools in your network that you believe have been thinking about signing up to ParentPaperwork but have been sitting on the fence, please consider encouraging them to sign up before 1 September. We’re sure they’ll thank you for not only the cost and labour savings that flow naturally once ParentPaperwork is deployed but also the benefit of getting the best price possible.

I’m happy to take your referrals directly so please don’t hesitate to direct your colleagues to

New ‘Weekly Update’ to help ParentPaperwork Administrators monitor usage

This week we sent out our first ‘Weekly Update’ to all the main Administration Contacts for ParentPaperwork schools.

The Weekly Update is summary of activity for the past seven days on your ParentPaperwork account, including the the number of Slips sent, response rates, Broadcasts and SMS messages. It includes a measure of whether these statistics have increased or declined from the previous seven day period.

Also highlighted are the number of ‘spammed’ emails – emails that the recipients, or their email system, have flagged as spam. This is important because ParentPaperwork will cease delivering email to those addresses to avoid a degradation of our email delivery reputation.

You can check which email addresses are affected by logging into ParentPaperwork, clicking your user name at the top right, and selecting the Email Bounce Log option.

The Update also contains a list of the most recent ten Parent Slips you have sent and a count of all SMS texts including those sent via Broadcasts and those used to notify parents about new Slips.

The Weekly Update is a great way to monitor your ParentPaperwork activity, and we’ll continue to look at ideas to augment and improve the information it contains.