What is this Parent Portal?
Put simply, Parent Portal is where you can access information about your child/ren from your computer, laptop or mobile device.
So what information can I actually see?
Lots. You will have access to simple biographical data (e.g. year group, form, date of birth) but, more importantly, you will have access to daily attendance data, timetable data and assessment reports
Can you tell me more about Attendance data?
Each morning, your child's form tutor or class teacher takes a register of attendance. As soon as this is saved on our management information system, it will become visible to you. Like this:
In this example, you can see that Thursday's attendance has not been taken yet. This child has been marked as present for Sunday through to Wednesday.
If, in the Attendance area, the slash (/) is present, what other symbols might I see?
There are a variety of codes that we use. Once you have logged into your account and have found this section (it's very easy), simply hover over a symbol. Having done this, a small pop will tell you what it stands for.
And what about Timetable data?
You can see when and where your child will be during the week.
The red border represents 'now', which is your child's current lesson.
I get Assessment reports already. How does it help having access to them in Parent Portal?
Some parents might misplace them, or they might get lost in transit on the way home. You will have access to these online. Better still? The history of your child's formal school reports will build up over the years.
Use the various ticks and filters in this area to find what you are lookng for.
Some assessment reports have (Locked) at the end of the name. Is that a problem?
No, not at all. Click the link and the report will still open.
I like it. Is that everything Parent Portal has to offer?
No, not at all. There's much more. We are also able to provide you with much better quality information. To do this, we intend to improve which notices and events are provided for you.
What do you mean when you say Notices?
Once you have logged in, you will see a Notices widget. With this Parent Portal, we can choose, with much more precision, which parents receive various notices, reminders and letters.
This parent has a child in Year 2 (see how the title starts with Y2? This is how we will prefix Notices for Year 2). If a Year 3 notice was also sent - and this parent does not have a child in Year 3 - the notice would not be delivered to this account.
Is that how I will know which year group or which part of the school it is intended for?
Yes. We know that many families have more than one child at St Chris. As a result, this naming convention will help you identify the relevance of each notice more easily.
In general, we will use the following conventions as the prefix to each notice:
- N (for Nursery), R, Y1, Y2, ... , Y12, Y13
In some cases, you might see the prefix:
- Y7/8/9 (for Years 7, 8 and 9)
- Sen (for Senior School)
OK, got it. So what do you mean when you say Events?
It is a calendar, really. Again, we can deliver notification of events more precisely. Events and Notices often work hand-in-hand. We might send you a Notice (as a parent of a child in Nursery) of the Teddy Bear's Picnic that is coming up in two weeks. The notice will get delivered to you today and we will also post the event in your calendar on the day for which it is scheduled.
In this example, the prefix N/R means that this Event was posted to families with a child in either Nursery or Reception.
Tell me more about the My Account tab that some accounts have access to
The account holder that is invoiced has access to the tab called My Account. In this tab, the account holder can see the balance of account, current and previous invoices. It is not a portal for online payment.
There are reasons why only one account holder has access to the My Account tab and it boils down to who is actually invoiced. For years, the school has (can) only ever raised invoices against one contact; in our case, we almost always invoice the father in the family. Naturally, there are exceptions and, as far as we are aware, we have accommodated all special arrangements (and will continue to do so).
It has only been since the arrival of Parent Portal (and the addition of My Account to Parent Portal) that this practice has become apparent.
Do I still need to go to the school website to get letters home?
No. Each week, we will post letters home to your Parent Portal account. And the best thing about that? We will post only the letters that affect you. If you do not have a child in Year 7, we will not send you a letter that affects solely Year 7 families.
However, during this transition period, we will publish letters home on the website, as well as in your Parent Portal Notices widget. We will not post any letters home on the website from the start of Term 3 (April 2012).
Great. So what about the weekly newsletters?
The same. The newsletters that are relevant to you will be delivered to your Notices. Similarly, these will be posted in parallel until the end of Term 2. We will not post any newsletters on the website from the start of Term 3 (April 2012).
Even better. And what about the Notices & Reminders section on the website home page?
Same again. We will deliver notices and reminders that are relevant to you. We do not expect to post many Notices & Reminders on the website from the start of Term 3 (April 2012).
So what if I receive something that does not particularly interest me?
Next to each Notice or Event, there is a rubbish bin (trash can). Clicking the bin removes the item.
If you send me all these Notices, won't my inbox just get bigger and bigger (unless I delete the old ones)?
No. We can - and will - send Notices that have a limited lifespan. For example, we might send a reminder (to relevant families) that the Year 11 Parents' Afternoon is coming up in two weeks. We will also put the item in your calendar. We will ensure the notice removes itself after the event has taken place. The event does not automatically delete but will be out of sight once the week has passed. Of course, you are also free to delete items.
So what about the @community email programme? Is that being discontinued?
Yes. In our efforts to improve home:school communications, it has been a great tool for us. However, Parent Portal is far better. From 27 February 2012, there will be no more @community emails.
What about your Facebook and Twitter accounts? Are they going, too?
Not at all. We still place great value on these as a supplement to our communication channels. Our Facebook and Twitter accounts will still feature in how we publish information and notices.
And is SMS staying?
Definitely. What we have described above deals with either planned communications or what we might call slow-burning messages (i.e. messages that do not need an urgent response or action). SMS will continue to feature when broadcasting emergency, or speedy-action, messages.
Can I check my child's homework from the Parent Portal?
That depends on the age of your child. Currently, each Sunday, parents of Junior School students have secure access to published homework. However, we are anticipating the release of a Pupil Portal in the near future. Among other things, this could be used to publish homework (to both parents and students).
Do I use Parent Portal to contact the school or a teacher?
We are keeping it simple, so we are making sure your normal channels remain open. These existing channels should still be used.
Is there a Portal for my child/ren?
As the flagship school in the Middle East for our management information system, we work very closely with some of the developments. An area of development (in progress) is, in fact, the Pupil Portal. We expect to see this being used soon. It will be similar to the Parent Portal and can also include access to timetable data and assignments.
All this is great, but how do I actually log in?
First of all, you should have received either a personalised email, or letter, informing you of your login details. If you have not received these, or you need some support in logging on, please contact our ever-supportive Tasneem. You can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can call her on (+973) 17 598 497. If you want the extra personal touch, you can come up to the Admissions' Office in Saar and see her in person.
If you have your details to hand, but have forgotten where to go to log in, the address is: https://portal.st-chris.net.