New school, new friends
Former class rep Marion Frostick has seen her children transition to a new school. So she knows how difficult it can be to navigate a new system and meet other parents.
And that’s one of the reasons she volunteered as a class rep at The Dragon School. It was “self-nomination, because no one else did it. Genuinely, people were enormously pleased. The new parents in particular”, she says over coffee.
Marion is a special needs teacher and a mother of two. She is also one of the early pioneers of Classlist, a secure social network designed to make life easier for parents, class reps and PTAs.
She says the role of a class rep “requires time, networking and organisational skills”. Class reps bring parents together and help organise events. It’s essential for them to have up-to-date contact details of all the parents in their class. Even before they’ve organised anything.
Less Excel hassle
This task can be daunting. Marion still remembers the long hours it took her to create class spreadsheets before Classlist came around. UK privacy laws make this more difficult than you would imagine. Schools can’t provide parent contact information to third parties -even class reps!
So she had to contact parents individually to get their emails. “I asked the school, could I have the emails of parents? And they said, ‘you can’t because of data protection’. But with the help of other parents, we assembled most people’s emails”.
Luckily, all of this was made easier with Classlist. “You have somebody else adding in the contact information and keeping it up to date. It’s less hassle and it benefits everybody”.
Private portal for parents at your school
The Dragon rapidly adopted Classlist with lots of parents joining up. It was a simple and effective answer to a real problem. And it also gave parents an easy way to communicate with each other privately.
Asked what drove her to become a class rep, Marion says “it’s all about being connected. It’s important for parents to be able to contact each other, particularly when new pupils arrive”.
But Classlist does more than simply removing the burden of spreadsheets. Once children hit secondary school, teenage parties can become a worry. “Classlist can help you get in touch with the parent who is holding the party”, says Marion. “Parents may also like to know their alcohol policy and check expectations around what time you really want your children to come home. And Classlist can be a great way to arrange lifts.”
Organising events and coffee dates with parents also became easier once her whole school year adopted Classlist. “You can send out an invitation for coffee to everyone in a few seconds on Classlist. It saves a great deal of time”, she says.
Would she and her team ever go back to spreadsheets? “No. No-one preferred the spreadsheets. They are difficult to update”, says Marion.