Parent stress over permission slips goes off the charts

We’ve always known that permission slips are a constant bugbear for both parents and schools – after all, that’s why we created a business directly addressing that problem. But even we were amazed when satirical page Cottesloe Barbie decided to roast parent permission forms and received a reaction that went through the roof.

As the anonymous Editor in Chief of Cottesloe Barbie tells us, “That particular post has just risen in the last day (14th September 2017) to be the number one post we’ve ever had, with a reach of 112K, 1.8K reactions, 462 shares and over 500 comments.”

So what’s all the fuss about? Read below and you’ll see why Cottesloe Barbie hit the nail on the head with their hilarious depiction of parental permission grievances. And, if you’re laughing because it’s so true, tell your school about ParentPaperwork as soon as possible so we can make such frustrations a thing of your past.

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MEDIA RELEASE: ParentPaperwork at CommunicAsia 2017

Leading Australian education technology company ParentPaperwork is excited to be exhibiting at CommunicAsia 2017, the 28th International Communications and Information Technology Exhibition Conference in Singapore 23 to 25 May.

Every parent, teacher and administrator in every school in the world knows the pain of paper forms. Permission slips, lunch orders, surveys, consents, detention notices – K-12 schools, kinders and ELC’s use paper forms for hundreds of activities and tasks every year – the average school sends 30 or more paper forms home for each student in a year.

Paper forms are an enormous cost and labour drain for schools whose budgets are already stretched to breaking, plus a huge cost to the environment. Paper, copying, distribution, the endless inevitable chasing of non-returned forms and the collating and reporting of thousands upon thousands of pieces of information are all a waste of staff time and money.

ParentPaperwork is easily the most comprehensive, fully featured, administration data capture, management and reporting platform for K-12 schools, kinders and ELC’s in the world. ParentPaperwork replaces all the paper forms and moves them to a secure cloud-based online platform, with every form for every student available at the click of your mouse.

Hundreds of schools in eight countries now use ParentPaperwork to send online forms to their parents, and capture and report the responses – and see huge savings in time and money and improvements in liability management as a result.

The ParentPaperwork suite includes:

  • Broadcasts – One way messages and alerts to parents via SMS and Email
  • Parent Slips – Replace paper forms between existing parents and your school
  • Student Slips – Empower students within the administrative process
  • Absentee Slips – The new generation of student absentee notifications
  • Admin and Enrolment Slips – Free up your staff’s administrative time whilst better ensuring compliance

Recently ParentPaperwork announced the launch of its most important new feature in twelve months – sending online forms to Students. Sports registrations, subject electives selection, school council elections, student surveys; and prefect voting – all can now be handled via ParentPaperwork.

ParentPaperwork integrates with a wide range of other education technology products and is especially proud to partner with leading K-12 software company Schoolbox. The partnership sees ParentPaperwork fully integrated into the Schoolbox parent portal to provide one destination for all of a parent’s interaction with their school. The seamless integration between the two platforms enables parents to view and complete school forms and slips online.

ParentPaperwork’s CEO Ms Fiona Boyd says:

“Traditional paper-based processes are quite simply broken and no longer workable in today’s world, where accountability, risk management and statutory compliance are critical issues for school leaders globally. ParentPaperwork provides your school with a robust, secure system to replace all your paper forms.

ParentPaperwork integrates with a school’s existing software such as their student information database and learning management system to provide a seamless experience for parents.

With the launch of our new forms to Students functionality I can confidently say ParentPaperwork is easily the most comprehensive, fully featured administration data capture, management and reporting platform for K-12 schools in the world.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss digitisation with schools in Singapore at CommunicAsia, with the Singapore Government recently embarking on a significant program to make public services more accessible and productive through better use of technology, such as through the digitisation of government records.”

ParentPaperwork will be exhibiting as part of the Victorian Government’s Trade Delegation to CommunicAsia at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore 23 – 25 May 2017.

Canadian schools seek out ParentPaperwork at Connect 2016

Canada’s largest education technology conference and trade show Connect 2016 was held the last week of April in Niagara Falls – a spectacular backdrop to a terrific conference featuring a memorable keynote speech from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

A large group of EdTech companies exhibited at the accompanying trade show, and ParentPaperwork was proud to be one of the firms selected for the Start Up Alley, a collection of up and coming EdTech startups from Canada and beyond.

The conference included many great sessions, ranging from integrating coding into the classroom to the many ways technology can enhance learning in the classroom.

Looking to the stars

Guest of honour Chris Hadfield took the audience from his childhood dreaming of space, through to his five months as Commander of the International Space Station, including his now legendary rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

Music has been a lifelong passion for Chris and he recounted what he considers the most remarkable moment in his life, playing guitar in a live simulcast in which 700,000 schools students participated.

He reflected on the powerful way music and technology combined to inspire the next generation of dreamers, explorers and innovators.

Excited about the future

ParentPaperwork in Canada
Setting up for a huge couple of days

The group of companies exhibiting in Start Up Alley along with ParentPaperwork were varied, all with a new twist or take on how technology can be applied in education.

My Effect, founded by a remarkable young woman, helps connect students with volunteering opportunities; 5-A-Day-Fitness (also at BETT in London in January) were showing their innovative fitness programs; while Riipen has a fantastic platform for linking tertiary students with businesses looking for new talent.

There was no shortage of school staff wanting to talk about ParentPaperwork, highlighting yet again how paper forms and manual administration processes are a bugbear in every school, no matter which country.

Representatives from several school boards, ranging from 5,000 to 60,000 students, also sought us out to discuss how implementing an online forms solution could have a major impact across an entire network of schools.

Niagara Falls
The spectacular Niagara Falls

Attendees made sure they walked down to Niagara Falls just a few minutes from the convention venue. Truly spectacular, the iconic sight was worth braving the chill, and a wonderful setting for an inspiring gathering of Canadian educators ready to reframe their future.

The Schools Technology Roadshow kicks off on Jersey

The Schools Technology Roadshow kicked off yesterday on the island of Jersey, with a group of local schools attending to learn more about opportunities to use digital technologies in the administration of their schools.

ParentPaperwork’s co-founder David Eedle (pictured) presented a session on using the ParentPaperwork platform to replace paper forms, along with Will McKenzie from Parents Evening Booking Systems, to the group gathered at the Jersey College for Girls.

While some of the schools present do already use various communication tools, the idea of an integrated suite, founded around Groupcall’s Messenger platform, is highly attractive, as it means dispensing with disparate software and instead enjoying best of breed technology accessed via a single sign on and easy integration to student and parent databases.

The next Roadshow is at Chulmleigh Community College in Devon on Wednesday 25 November – you can register now, it’s a free event. Or download a brochure.

ParentPaperwork announces new partnership with leading UK education technology company Groupcall Limited

New partnership sees ParentPaperwork available to more than 5,000 UK schools via Groupcall’s Messenger platform.

Melbourne-based start-up ParentPaperwork’s online forms platform will soon be available to more than 5,000 schools in the United Kingdom via a partnership with leading UK education technology company Groupcall Limited.

Groupcall Messenger is the system of choice for over 5,000 Primary and Secondary schools within the UK and Europe. Messenger is an on-line system that allows schools to send personalised text, voice or email messages, printed letter, via the Groupcall Xpressions app and even tweet instantly to parents, staff, students or other contacts in a variety of languages for a low annual subscription fee.

Now for the first time Messenger schools will also be able to distribute online forms to parents and capture data and responses using ParentPaperwork’s user-defined form templates. ParentPaperwork’s sophisticated platform is deeply integrated into Messenger, meaning a single login gives access to all of the features of both Messenger and ParentPaperwork within one seamless interface.

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Using ParentPaperwork school staff can create and send online forms to 50 or 5,000 parents in a matter of minutes; with analysis showing close to 60% of parents return their online forms within 24 hours. Information is stored in a secure data centre and any form can be retrieved in seconds, no matter how long ago it was submitted.

ParentPaperwork CEO Fiona Boyd says this is a significant opportunity for her start-up:

“A key element of our growth strategy is to form strong relationships with key players in a range of markets around the world. We’re extremely pleased to have secured this partnership with Groupcall, and bring the ParentPaperwork platform to such a large captive market of school customers. It’s an exciting opportunity, the Groupcall team have been terrific to work with, and we’re looking forward to a continuing close relationship as we work together to welcome thousands of UK schools to ParentPaperwork.”

An marketing road show kicks off in late November to commence introducing ParentPaperwork to schools in a number of locations around the UK.

About Groupcall

Launched in 2002, Groupcall provides communication and data solutions to the education, public and private sectors. Groupcall is one of the education sector market leaders with its parental communication system, Groupcall Messenger, which is currently used in more than 5,000 schools throughout the UK and Europe. Co-founded by Sir Bob Geldof, Groupcall’s product portfolio comprises of Messenger, Emerge, Xporter and Alert. Groupcall was initially created to improve general and emergency communication between a school and its parents. Since then, Messenger has proven to successfully reduce unauthorised absences in schools, as well as improve parental engagement and lower costs. It is their communication solution which provides the technology behind the enhanced Child Rescue Alert system in the UK.

About ParentPaperwork

ParentPaperwork is an Australian software-as-a-service online forms platform for schools. ParentPaperwork’s mission is to replace paper forms in schools around the world by providing an online solution that enables schools to capture, manage and report data from across their enterprise. Schools in half a dozen countries use ParentPaperwork to improve productivity and efficiency and enhance parental engagement. For more information, and a free trial please go to www.ParentPaperwork.com.

More information:

David Eedle    +61 (0) 419 876 942
david@parentpaperwork.com

ParentPaperwork announces the launch of new School Forms module

ParentPaperwork is pleased to announce the launch of our new School Forms module, expanding the ParentPaperwork platform to a wide range of online forms scenarios in schools.

Since its launch in 2014 ParentPaperwork has been enthusiastically embraced by schools in Australia and internationally to replace the paper forms exchanged between schools and parents, realising significant time and cost savings, and improving productivity and efficiency.

Over the past few months, as schools utilised ParentPaperwork more, and for a wider range of activities, they started to ask “so if it’s this easy for parents to fill out a form, is it possible for staff to complete forms as well?”. ParentPaperwork took onboard this feedback, and consulted widely both with existing school customers and others, and has created a completely new module that embraces many of the paper form scenarios raised by schools.

The current system used by schools for convenience is now known as ‘Parent Slips’, and remains the initial product purchased by schools, with the School Forms module available as an add-on at your request.

The forms can be created by staff, parents and even prospective parents; they can relate to a student, or be purely administrative. Forms can move through approval workflows, and notifications to relevant staff and parents can be automatically triggered during the workflow process.

Staff can initiate a form for one or more students, enter information and then optionally send to parents for additional information or acknowledgement. Perfect for incident reports; disciplinary reports; and many more.

Parents can create new forms to send to school, for their current students or a new child. Great examples are Leave of Absence requests; and advising of issues for discussion during forthcoming parent/teacher meetings.

Parents can create new forms to send to school, for their current students or a new child. Great examples are Leave of Absence requests; and advising of issues for discussion during forthcoming parent/teacher meetings.

All the School Forms templates have unique URLs you can pass onto people outside the school. When clicked the visitor can create a new parent log in, a student record and complete and submit the form. Ideal for registrations of interest for a place; enrolment information and more.

In another major development existing parents can sign in and view a complete history of all forms for their children; be alerted to outstanding forms; and start new forms.

Plus data from School Forms can be exported to PDF files and downloaded after uploading a PDF template and mapping the form fields. This is a great feature if your governing body or authority requires some forms to be provided on their official templates, yet you want the convenience of online data capture.

The School Forms module is available now, and we’d love to show you how it can help your school’s administration – please contact support@parentpaperwork.com to arrange a demo and to have the module enabled. Pricing for the School Forms module is the same as for the current Parent Slips – so you will be charged an additional amount equal to your current subscription. Current customers can ask for a proportional price so the subscription expiry date is the same for both modules.

ParentPaperwork’s mission is to replace paper forms in schools around the world, and we’re achieving this by creating a fantastic online platform that enables schools to capture, manage and report data from across their enterprise to improve productivity and efficiency, and deliver a better experience for parents and staff. The School Forms module is another step in our journey, and we are excited to continue to help teachers and school administrators everywhere.

There is a detailed explanation of the key features of the School Forms module on our web site, click here to read more.

ParentPaperwork’s mission to change the world

When we founded ParentPaperwork a little over year ago we had one simple idea, to tackle the problem of paper permission forms sent home by schools to parents. Every parent of a school-age child understands this problem, we live with it every day of term. Of course we understand the reason for the forms, but the practical reality is each piece of paper emerging from our kids’ school bags is just another task to be dealt with.

Our goal with ParentPaperwork was to significantly improve this process both for schools and parents. The heart of the idea was straightforward, create an online tool that automated the paper-based process, and through the use of online forms and a database make life easier for all concerned.

Over the past year we have spoken with literally hundreds of schools in Australia and around the world. We’ve never passed up an opportunity to have a conversation with a school wherever in the world they might be located. Last Friday I had a 2am call with a US school, then another at 6.30am – the joys of time difference notwithstanding, and putting aside any need for me to sleep, both calls, which involved demonstrating our software, yielded nuggets of information we could add to our understanding of customer needs.

Our sales team calls probably 20 or 30 schools every day and we receive a stream of enquiries via email, phone and Twitter, and each and every contact also adds to that understanding.

Our objective of addressing a relatively straightforward problem has evolved into an increasingly sophisticated comprehension of school operations, needs and problems, and we have adjusted our goal and mission accordingly.

Schools are traditionally conservative environments from a business management perspective. The innovation that often occurs in their academic operations is not usually mirrored in the school office. In this aspect schools are not alone – a significant proportion of businesses large and small adhere to traditional management approaches.

The winners in business are the ones who can break away from legacy concepts. Often they are referred to as ‘disruptors’, they attack a market from a completely different direction from the incumbents – think SalesForce in customer relationship tools; Uber in taxi cabs; Xero in accounting software; AirBnB in accommodation bookings. These companies have become what’s known as ‘unicorns’, new businesses that have attained $1b valuations in relatively short periods of time. The key reason for that growth and success is the way they have upended traditional thinking and processes in markets with long term deeply embedded incumbents.

There is now a raft of companies tackling disruption of traditional methodologies in teaching and learning, and this is reflected in a significant growth in the quantity of venture capital flowing to the companies in this space. The realisation we have come to is that there is a dearth of businesses targeting the administrative side of a school.

What most people ignore is that schools are businesses, by which I mean, if you forget for a moment that they are educating our children, schools have all the attributes of a business, albeit generally a not-for-profit. They provide a service, they have staff, they have expenses, manage assets and generate revenue. A government-funded school might receive a significant part of its revenue via a subsidy or payment, but there is still a profit and loss statement, and money coming in and going out. There are still staff and all the accompanying human resource management issues. Yet schools for the most part lag behind commercial enterprise in adopting new methods and processes in their administration.

We believe our company and its technology can disrupt a part of that school administration function in way that will have a profound impact on not just the school’s day to day operations, but in the education of our children, and the preservation of our planet.

ParentPaperwork’s Mission

All of our learning accumulated over the past year, combined with our deep diving on the operations of schools around the world has led us to codify conclusions about our mission and goals as a business. They are simply expressed:

ParentPaperwork’s mission is to
replace paper forms in schools around the world.
 

ParentPaperwork’s goal is to
save schools a billion pieces of paper a year.

We’re going to achieve this by providing an online solution that enables schools to capture, manage and report data from across their enterprise to improve productivity and efficiency, and deliver a better experience for parents and staff.

The outcomes from this are tangible. If we achieve our goal:

  1. We’ll save a dramatic amount of staff time, and staff time saved is time that can be redirected to teaching students. By replacing paper systems we improve education outcomes for children.
  1. We’ll save significant costs from the school budget in areas including printing and copying, paper consumption, and insurances – money that can be redirected also to improving the education of our children.
  1. We’ll be making a valuable contribution to creating a sustainable environment for our children, and their children.

Where now for ParentPaperwork?

We’re excited and enthused by the mission we have set ourselves. It has taken time and money to reach what at first glance might seem face-palmingly obvious, but it underlines the importance of taking time to properly consider the true needs of a market, especially one that offers a truly global opportunity like school education. Not matter where in the world the schools we have spoken to are located, they all share a common problem – antiquated paper-based processes that take up time, take up staff resource, and inhibit the modernisation of their administrative operations.

Take the example of a large independent school here in Melbourne. Some of their internal paper forms have a distribution list of ten people – when the paper form is completed, ten photocopies are made and dropped to the in-trays on the desks of ten people in the management team. It’s a crazy system, especially when we’re told it’s because “they like to all have a copy ‘just in case’”.

Shortly we’ll be officially announcing the availability of our new School Forms module. This substantially expands our platform’s functionality across a whole range of paper form scenarios in schools, and has come about as a direct result of working with our existing customers and many prospective users.

Indeed, our original idea for the School Forms module was kicked off by an email from an existing customer asking “would it be possible for staff to fill out an online form as well as a parent”. We gestated on that for a while, and then a few months ago other schools started to pose similar questions to us about various processes and functions in their school – registrations of interest for a place completed by prospective parents; incident reports filled out by school nurses; professional development requests submitted by teachers. Three months ago we sat down and seriously scoped out a response, and the resulting Schools Forms modules caters for all these use cases and more.

The new module is not a perfect response. We know it will generally answer many of the demands made by schools to us, but it will be a work in progress, like the entirety of our product platform. I know our learning will simply begin all over again as we roll out the new module to schools in Australia and overseas. However, I also know the feedback, ideas, criticisms and (hopefully) praise will only serve to further deepen our understanding so we can continue to innovate and disrupt traditional mindsets and methods in schools, and thus fulfil our mission and achieve our goal.

David Eedle
Co-Founder and CTO

Education technology startup ParentPaperwork announces Indian distribution deal

Education technology startup ParentPaperwork today has announced it has signed an exclusive distribution deal for India with smartData Enterprises (India) Limited.

smartData will distribute and support ParentPaperwork’s online forms platform into the vast Indian schools marketplace. smartData Enterprises, a subsidiary of smartData Enterprises Inc, a California based incorporation has a excellent track record of developing high end software solutions with strong expertise in healthcare, business automation, web and mobile applications. One of the known names in the areas in which it operates, smartData ranks globally no 1 on oDesk and amongst top 5 provider on Elance. smartData has its HQ in Mohali Chandigarh with branches in Nagpur and Dehradun.

ParentPaperwork’s CEO and Co-Founder Fiona Boyd says she is excited by the opportunity:

“There are more than one million schools in India, it’s one of the largest education markets in the world, in comparison there are maybe 160,000 or so schools in the USA, it made complete sense to us to look to India when deciding on our growth strategy.

We met with Mr Ajay Tewari, Director and CEO of smartData in Melbourne last year, he was kind enough to express great enthusiasm not just for our current ParentPaperwork product, but for our overall strategy and product development plans.

We’re grateful to Ajay and his team for making the negotiations a positive experience, and coming to an arrangement that will benefit everyone involved.”

smartData CEO Mr. Ajay Tewari says:

“The solution caught my eye due to its good UI and ease of navigation and its customizable functionalities help in catering to all strata of schools. With Indians taking liking to web and mobility, the timing for such productive application is a blessing in disguise for the much in demand “education” – we Indians are known for across the globe. I am very optimistic and excited about this partnership which will open doors for many such future alliances between the 2 organizations”

ParentPaperwork closed a seed round of just over $350,000 late in December 2014, and has spent the first few weeks of 2015 progressing a number of international deals such as the one announced today. Since Christmas ParentPaperwork has also appointed its first sales representative in the USA, and started an online marketing campaign into the UK.

Fiona Boyd says whilst it is early days, the level of enquiries from around the world has been excellent:

“In the last month alone we’ve fielded enquiries from the USA, UK, Middle East, South America and Europe as well as our home base of Australia. ParentPaperwork solves a problem experienced by virtually every school in the world, and we do it in a way that is simple and easy to implement and operate. Our cloud-based software as a service solution for online forms in schools has struck a chord with teachers and school administrators everywhere. At the end of the day our mission is to save them time and cost in an efficient and effective way, and that’s a proposition that resonates no matter where a school is located.”

If Indian schools are interested in ParentPaperwork they should contact smartData on +91 172 406 0000 or email info@smartdatainc.net.

About ParentPaperwork

ParentPaperwork is an online platform to automate paper forms in schools. The system manages excursion forms, field trip forms, permission slips and many other forms parents need to complete for their children and send back to school. By moving their paper forms online schools can achieve significant time and cost savings, reduce the hours needed for school staff to manually manage the process and improve liability management. For more information, and a free trial please go to www.ParentPaperwork.com.

About SmartData

smartData is a software business consulting organization with experience in building high end database driven applications for global customers which includes start ups, growth oriented organization (SME) and enterprises. smartData, is a CMMI 3 company with strong competencies in Open Source & Microsoft platform, Mobile Apps. In today fast paced world, its not just about being delivering value for money, its also about being simple, better, cheaper and faster – business approach smartData follows. A well-defined CMMI processes armed by band of young enthusiastic smartians donning the culture of work hard play harder, makes smartData an experience to work with and work for. Team smartData by following right mindset (customer centricity, commitment and credibility), right attitude (zero defect products) and right techniques (optimizing effort than otherwise) is on its path to success demonstrating that its vision of Scaling has a meaning in real sense.

www.smartdatainc.com.

More information:

David Eedle
+61 (0) 419 876 942
david@parentpaperwork.com

Vivek Sehgal (India)
+91-9988400666
sehgalv@smartdatainc.net

Education Technology Startup ParentPaperwork Announces Funding Round

Australian education technology startup ParentPaperwork has announced today that it has closed a seed round of funding.

ParentPaperwork is an online platform to automate paper forms in schools, dramatically reducing cost and improving liability management.  The system manages excursion forms, field trip forms, permission slips and many other forms parents need to complete for their children and send back to school.

The amount of the round is not being disclosed, but was contributed by a small group led by Melbourne investor Mr David Broughton, who will also join the company’s board of directors.

ParentPaperwork’s CEO Fiona Boyd says the funding round will be used to substantially ramp up marketing and business development efforts in Australia and overseas:

“ Since launching into schools a few months ago we’ve been extremely pleased at the positive response to ParentPaperwork’s product offering. We now have a great range of customers across the spectrum including independent, state and Catholic schools in Australia plus international schools in almost a dozen countries.

The funding round is perfectly timed. We’ve successfully validated our product and model and shown schools that moving their paper forms online does lead to a significant improvement in productivity and efficiency – and the feedback from parents has also been similarly positive.

With this investment we’ll be able to launch a much enhanced marketing strategy, and continue to develop the ParentPaperwork platform. The product roadmap includes several exciting initiatives we plan to roll out in 2015 which we firmly believe will be very attractive to existing and new customers, and add significant value to the business.”

Schools can sign up for a free 30 day trial at www.ParentPaperwork.com

More information:
Fiona Boyd     fiona@parentpaperwork.com              +61 418 576 409