Streamlining emergency weather updates and school closure alerts with SMS

Overview

Ballyclare High School pride themselves on the strength and quality of their relationships with pupils, parents and staff. The School recently celebrated its centenary, with the doors first opening in the 1890’s. Today Ballyclare High School is one of the largest grammar schools in County Antrim with over twelve hundred pupils and over 80 teaching staff.

Challenge

During the storms caused by hurricane Ophelia, schools across the Northern Ireland were forced to close for safety. An announcement was made by the Department of Education on Sunday, leaving staff and parents unsure of what action needed to be taken. The school needed a fast and simple way to convey the closure message to their contacts before school started on the Monday morning.

Solution

Textlocal were on hand to help solve the communication issues. Due to circumstances, Ballyclare IT Teacher Mark Farley had to call Textlocal from his home phone and despite not having access to their normal financial software, account manager Mike was able organise the credits needed to fulfil their sending needs.

Results

In Northern Ireland, all schools are linked up to Textlocal via the MIS system (SIMS in this case). The announcement by the Department of Education that schools were to close on Monday was made late on Sunday evening.

Even so, the system worked perfectly, and Ballyclare School was able to efficiently send messages to all parents and staff. There were very few issues. Out of over 1500 parents, only two rang into school the following morning such was the efficiency of the communication.

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“We had pre-purchased texting credits in order to be ready for weather events. However, Northern Ireland schools were closed centrally for two days and we were starting to worry that we may not have purchased enough in advance. Textlocal quickly dispelled these problems by helping immediately and with courtesy. They were very willing to help straight away.”

Mark Farley, Ballyclare IT Teacher

—Ballyclare High School

  • Ballyclare High School- quickly dispelled any problems