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Managing school and parent communications for Somerset Schools

About the Somerset SIMS Support Service

The Somerset SIMS Support Service, established in 1993 and part of Somerset County Council, is a well-respected team of experts who specialise in supporting all aspects of MIS software for schools and academies across the county.

The Challenge

Somerset schools have a duty of care to keep parents well informed about any critical information which affects their children. This information ranges from notifying the parent that their child has not arrived at school, to information about after school clubs, to letting them know of unforeseen school closures.

The Somerset SIMS Support Service were looking for an easy to integrate, resource-efficient and reliable method of communicating, which maximized engagement with parents even while they’re on the move.

What were the Somerset SIMS Support Service looking for?

An SMS facility was required by the team which integrated directly with schools’ existing Management Information Systems (MIS). This system would have to allow schools to send a variety of messages (both to groups and individuals) using their existing database of parent information.

It was also vitally important that a backup system for contacting parents be in place in the case of an emergency – for example, if fire prevented school staff from physically accessing their MIS.

The solution

After speaking with Esendex about their requirements, the Somerset SIMS Support Service decided to develop a solution using the Esendex SMS API.

The SMS API allowed the integration of SMS functionality directly within the existing MIS. This allowed schools to send SMS messages to selected parents at the click of a button, all from within a system with which they were already familiar.

By using the MIS software and the Esendex SMS API, Somerset schools were able to pull the delivery status of each message into a spreadsheet so they could check which messages arrived or failed.

Schools were also able to use the Esendex SMS portal as the offsite backup system that they were looking for. This portal, called Echo, can be accessed from any location meaning that in the case of an emergency (where they could not access their MIS) they could still contact parents.

What are the benefits to Somerset Schools?

With the solution provided by the SIMS Support Service, utilising the Esendex API, Somerset schools have noted significant time and cost savings.

Another benefit of using the system has been for the children themselves. With the prospect of an SMS to their parents looming large if they are reported absent, fewer children are reporting late.

“The support and advice we received from Esendex has always been first rate and usually extremely quick.”


More from Somerset County Council

“Our account manager was helpful and approachable and the level of service has been excellent. The online chat is brilliant for rapid response to support questions, an excellent addition to the first line support”.

Sue Chaplin, Somerset County Council

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