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We think that SMS is a great way to make the day to day running of a busy school that bit easier. By using SMS, you can be sure that staff and parents are just one text away. Using SMS can also take the hassle out of student attendance. Parents can have peace of mind knowing that they can be alerted immediately if their child absent without permission. With no set up, pay as you go top up and €100 complimentary credit, there’s never been a better time to get connected.

New to SMS?

There is no set up involved so you can start sending texts today! You just need to make sure that the contact numbers for students, student’s parents and staff are saved and ready to go.

For students and parents, go to the household tab > edit the contact and ensure that the ‘include in SMS’ option is ticked. Make sure there are no spaces or hyphens in the number.

So how much does it cost?

  • Cost of one text: 5.5 cent
  • 160 characters per text – anything over this and you will be charged for a second text. Depending on the phone network, special characters such as fadas can take up more than one character. This can be hard for us to measure, but something you should be aware of.
  • New schools get €100 complimentary top up credit

Topping up

To top up, just go to the three lines > notifications > top up > select the amount and press the submit top up button. You will have access to this credit straight away and we will invoice you afterwards.

If you can’t see the top up button, it’s because we restrict this to only the principal’s account at the beginning. Should any of the admin staff need access to top up, all we need is for the principal to request this by emailing support@vsware.ie and the feature will be turned on for all secretary users.

Sending texts

Now you’re topped up, it’s time to get texting. The process of sending the text varies slightly depending on the type of recipient. Click into the guides below to find the one you need.

  • A class or group
  • Absent students
  • Unexplained absent students
  • An individual student/parent/teacher: Search the name > go to ‘household’ (or ‘address’ in the case of a teacher) > click on the SMS button
  • A person who doesn’t have a VSware account. Eg. Bus drivers: Three lines > notifications > groups > actions > add group > name and create > add new > here you can add the name, phone number and email. You can add as many people and create as many groups as you need to here.

Creating templates

An easy way to reduce the time spent sending messages is to set up some templates. This guide shows how to set up a template in just a few seconds. It includes useful variables so that you can automatically include the name of the student in all texts.

One of your templates might look something like this:

‘#FNAME is absent from school without explanation. Please contact the office on 011234567’

Sending log in details to parents via SMS

If you haven’t already given access to parents, this comprehensive guide shows step-by-step how to do this. It also describes how to send out new log in details to parents via SMS.

SMS reports

Keep track of all your sent messages by going to the three lines > Notifications > Prepaid Outbound Report.

You can also check the delivery status of messages in ‘Sent’. You will see ‘delivered or submitted’ if your message has gone through, or ‘failed’ if it hasn’t.

We started using SMS 18 months ago. It’s excellent, I am very happy with it.

We use it for almost everything, PT meeting, notes about behavior etc.

Ruaidhri Devitt

Principal, St Ailbes

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