EdSmart, The Hutchins School and School EasyPay are a match made in administration heaven.
Established in 1846, The Hutchins School in Hobart is an Anglican day and boarding school, which has a long and esteemed history of educating boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12. Beyond achieving academic excellence locally and nationally, students learn lifelong skills and knowledge that allow them to grow into informed citizens in the global community.
The school has also been using EdSmart’s School Organisation System since 2017 to help streamline administrative processes and maintain effective communication between staff and parents. EdSmart’s digitised solutions for handling parent permission slips and notifications has become an integral part of the daily operations of the school, and have made printed notices and consent forms a thing of the past.
Katie Richardson, Communications and Records Officer at The Hutchins School, says, "When rolling out EdSmart, Hutchins dove straight in and took an all or nothing approach."
Hutchins now owe much of their success with EdSmart to getting their community to quickly adopt the new platform. Katie explains that EdSmart soon became a part of their official onboarding for new families joining the school, sending clear and concise communications from the beginning of their relationship.
"Our parents receive a 'Welcome to EdSmart' notice upon enrolment at the school, which explains what we use it for, what they need to do to make it work for them, which includes, if they are concerned about managing emails in their inbox, to set up a rule that sends the email to a folder, allowing them to view notices via our app (Digistorm) or through Schoolbox."
At Hutchins, consistency and clarity are key when communicating with their school community. Katie owes the school's high response rates and successful adoption by parents to this very consistency in messaging, tone and method: "Our success rate is incredibly high. We have a 95, sometimes 100%, response rate."
EdSmart and School EasyPay
With the introduction of School EasyPay, which simply sits inside EdSmart forms, The Hutchins School was able to streamline communications even further.
Katie says, prior to utilising the integration, the school was sending ad hoc accounts that required significant debt collection follow-up. This meant that deadlines could be easily missed by the parents with no clear tracking of whether they had read the information.
"[Parents] would still sign up their children for the trip through EdSmart, and they'd give permission, but then you'd be waiting for the deposit payment to come in and you'd have to issue accounts. Then you'd have to wait for them to come in. There were lots of boxes to tick!’"
After reading about the new integration via the EdSmart Tips and Tricks newsletter, Katie approached the accounts department with the idea to start using School EasyPay with EdSmart to process payments.
Since then, the school has been using the integration for all kinds of use cases including organising school trips, tours and excursions. General consents, photo permissions and payments are all in one place thanks to the EdSmart and School EasyPay integration. This helps the school reduce the administrative work for all staff, particularly teachers, as "all information is sitting in one spot and they can look at it at any time."
With Synergetic as their Student Management System, Katie believes the harmony between all systems is a key benefit, with everything working seamlessly to deliver accurate data and ease of use. One of the reasons the school has started to move payments through the integration is the set amounts asked for in School EasyPay.
"Our parents and carers are now required to pay set amounts, which allow us to manage deposits and instalments easily, with set deadlines. This means that if a payment is missed, we can send out a charge for the total balance while allowing the instalments to continue for others as per the payment guide we send them. School EasyPay and EdSmart help to manage that instalment system which in return, makes reconciling the payments easier for both communications and accounts staff."
By using the integration between EdSmart and School EasyPay, The Hutchins School has been able to streamline payments and administrative tasks in a way that was previously unachievable.
For Katie, it has been a huge success: "It has made the communications process much easier as I can see both the payment and permission simultaneously. That’s where integrations like this work so well. Seeing both the permission and payment on EdSmart means that I do not need to log into School EasyPay or ask accounts to check that a payment has been made. That takes an entire step away!"