Headlines for Release 35
- Bold new look for enhanced usability
- Booking Cancellation for Parents or Students
- Account balance visibility improvements
- Transport route view in Parent/Student diary
- ‘Leavers’ with current balances show in balances
1. NEW LOOK!
We have launched a new look and styling around the SchoolsBuddy platform to create clearer views, particularly for parents using mobile devices. This is a significant usability upgrade, reflecting changes and developments in the way our platform is used.
Where you will see the most changes
Login screen - all SSO login methods will be shown alongside our usual login window. Only the SSO platforms available to your school will be displayed.
Parent dashboard -
Diary view -
General changes -
Some details have been put into ‘cards’ so that they stand out and it’s easy to differentiate which details belong together
2. BOOKING CANCELLATION FOR PARENTS/STUDENTS
Parents (or students who can book an event, can now cancel a single event from the booking page. This removes the need to contact the school and associated manual process to remove them.
This is an optional feature, which can be set at the container level. If applied, the cancellation feature will only be available for a set length of time, which can be set at the time of creation, eg. cancellation not available from 5hrs prior to the event.
3. PARENT PAYMENT ACCOUNT VISIBILITY IMPROVEMENTS
The view of the parent account screen has been improved to present a clearer display of their balances and outstanding fees, enabling quick access to the features they will need the most.
4. TRANSPORT ROUTE IN STUDENT/PERSONAL DIARY
Parents and students with a transport event can now see visual details of their route and stop within their diary.
5. SCHOOL LEAVERS SHOW IN BALANCES
On the occasion that a student leaves the school with an outstanding balance, this student will continue to show on the accounts screens (rather than being hidden from view as before). You can also filter by 'leavers' to easily see where account adjustments are needed.
The leaver will remain visible until their balance is cleared, at which point they will disappear from view.
Headlines for Release 34
- Transport - even more features which empower schools to manage their student transport and dismissal.
- Attendance Registers Improvements, including PDF downloads.
- Navigation and Search Improvements.
1. TRANSPORT MODULE UPDATES
Following the successful launch of our Transport Module in Release 33, we have added even more features and functionality.
- Change Requests
- Allow parents to apply online for transport 'exceptions' for a particular day, saving admin time. School administrators can approve or reject requests and also make changes on behalf of a parent if necessary.
- Route Stop Times
- You can now add time between stops on a route to automatically generate approximate route stop times, to show on Attendance Registers and Parent Diary/Calendar.
- Preference Reports
- Generate an easy output of all students' transport method including route and times each day.
- Bus Route Capacity
- It is now possible to enter the capacity of a transport timetable route. SchoolsBuddy will automatically calculate available spaces to help administrators see when additional transport is required and to avoid over-filling a bus.
- Other, smaller updates
- Automatic event generation will take place when transport student preferences are set at the start of the year, and will also update when mid-term changes are made. Events created each night will be for the next 21 days. Also, when students are signed up to after school activities, their preference will be updated if there is a 'Late' transport option.
- A default time slot can be set for each direction so when transport events are generated, students are assigned to their preferred slot by default. Where there is a change to this default either from a Change Request or after-school event booking, they will still show in their default list but marked as 'Not Expected'.
- There is a new role within SchoolsBuddy specifically for Bus Monitors that can be assigned to an External User (staff). These Bus Monitors, along with any other member of staff, can be nominated to take attendance registers for a particular route ensuring details are only viewed by the nominated monitor.
- A second new role is for Transport Alerts. A nominated person can be given the Transport Alerts role to ensure they receive all communications for transport issues such as change requests and absentee alerts.
2. ATTENDANCE REGISTERS UPDATES
The attendance registers in SchoolsBuddy have been updated to provide a better user experience, particularly for mobile devices.
- The 'quick view' is available on desktop and mobile and shows clear information including coloured attendance mark buttons. Having marked one student, the next student's attendance status options will appear.
- The 'mark all' option can be used for both Present and Absent marks and will only apply to those without an attendance mark already.
- The 'notify' button for absentees will now show how many students this includes and will be visible on both views.
- We have added the ability to download and print selected registers together as a single PDF or CSV. The PDF download offers the optional inclusion of extra information such as next/previous events or attendance notes. This will enable staff to have access to these registers if they are offline at the time of the event.
The Exit Mode tab (if switched on for an organisation) will show any student with a Present or Late attendance mark, to help when dismissing students at the end of the activity or event.
Visible in all views, a student search field will react to the text entered returning any student with the typed letters in their first or last name.
3. NAVIGATION & SEARCH IMPROVEMENTS
Search filters have been upgraded across various locations to include a new 'Event Type' filter, a more comprehensive date range search and the option for parents to filter their diary/calendar by student if they have more than one child at the school.
- Look out for the new cog setting for types of events to include or hide e.g. PTC/Parents Evenings
- Within a preference-based sign up, the Student Selections search will now return results as you type, where the first and last name are included in the text.
- There are new status counts which can also be used as filters.
- A new handy 'back to' option within a container will take the user back to the page of the same-type containers.
If you need help with any of the new features from Release 34 please contact email@example.com
Headlines for Release 33
- NEW! Transport Module - this is a major new feature to organise student transport options including bus lists. This module can also enable enhanced student dismissal management (without transport element).
- Admin access to use Parent Wallet or Vouchers for recording payments and making manual bookings.
- New search panel options within Attendance Registers including improvements to the Next and Previous Events detail.
1. TRANSPORT MODULE
This major new feature has its own tab on the main menu bar.
- To set up this module the staff member must have the Transport Advanced Admin role or be an Organisation Super Admin (next release there will be Transport Admin role for new day-to-day features e.g. Change Requests).
- An organisation Admin will have visibility of this tab but need the required role to access it.
- There is a dedicated ‘Config Settings’ panel where you can set up and administer different Transport Methods, Operating Days, Stops, Time Slots, Routes and Timetables.
- Students can be assigned to Timetables en masse.
- Different stops on the assigned route can be set for each student per day.
- Parents can choose transport preferences for their child/ren when booking an activity.
- Event registers are generated for each transport journey.
For more detailed information, please read our related support docs:
If you are interested in adding the transport module to your account or would like to discuss the module in more detail please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or email your usual SchoolsBuddy contact directly.
2. PARENT BALANCE
We have added the ability for Admin users (and Fees Admin users) to access and use parents’ wallet and voucher balances within SchoolsBuddy to record a payment against a fee, or to make a manual booking on behalf of the parent. This will be useful for staff that need to switch bookings on the parent’s behalf.
Please read our related support documentfor more information.
3. ATTENDANCE REGISTERS
We have added a number of new search panel options within the Attendance Register screen including:
- Filter options by ‘Year’
- Sort options for ‘Next/Previous Events’
- ‘Next/Previous Events’ This replaces ‘Detailed View’
- This now includes attendance mark, attendance notes, end time (previously only displayed start time), and ‘year’ end events displayed as the ‘Event Name’
For more information read our related support document
- Cloning Containers - Admins are now able to clone previous instant book and parents evening containers [ Watch Video 1 below ]
- Sign Up Types - now appear as separate tabs so selection is not required within set up [ Watch Video 1 below ]
- New! Quick Charge Tab - Within your fees admin page there is now a Quick Charge tab to allow more than one charge to be applied at the same time, filtered by group/year. [ Watch Video 2 below ]
Video 1: Container Cloning & Sign Up Types
Video 2: Quick Charge Tab
Other smaller changes:
- Reception > Registers/Events search now has tick boxes to include/exclude Parents Evening and Fee Only events
- Parent Wallet now has a new column showing Group making transfers from an adjustment easier to identify.
- Parent Wallet and voucher account overviews now include an icon for student profile to popup to check student name
- Event Location is now included in the register print version and .csv export.
- Mass Adjustments - multiple event charges can now be adjusted - read in detail below
- New Payment Provider - we have now added Braintree as a payment provider, this includes PayPal
1. NEW Mass Adjustments
We have been asked to provide a mass adjustment feature within our payments module by a number of schools - it is now live! This feature allows multiple event charges to be adjusted at once, whether it is for a particular student, or all students for one event. It also enables the admin team to enter different amounts manually, or use the quick adjust option if the same value should be adjusted for all.
This will help particularly when the charge for an event is reduced or an individual student is offered amendments to existing charges.
It is important to note, in the event a payment has already been made against a charge which is then adjusted, if the adjustment is lower then the difference will be transferred automatically to the parent wallet.
We have new support documents for this feature including a video tutorial:
2. New Payment Provider Added - Braintree (PayPal) - Selected regions only
We have now added Braintree to our payment providers. Braintree offers PayPal as an option alongside regular card payments, or just PayPal if preferred. Contact email@example.com if you would like more information about this provider.
- We have made a number of improvements to taking attendance registers - read in detail below
- There is a new feature called "What's Next" for ease of viewing a group of students' event schedule - read in detail below
- The parents evening module has been enhanced and improved - read in detail below
- Some new reports have been added to the system plus enhancements to others - read in detail below
Other smaller, but helpful changes
- Single Sign On has been made easier [read more]
- New option to send an email to parents when raising a charge from the fees tab [read more]
- Option to hide parents evening appointments from staff diary to keep the view clearer
- Extra option to select event types when setting up a preference based container
- Changes to the default diary view - this now shows from today (not yesterday) for added clarity
- Added ability to delete unused groups from an active instant book & pay container to keep it tidier
- List of attendees within existing events in an instant book & pay container can now be downloaded
WATCH our video demonstrating our key updates (see text explanations below):
Release 30 Product Update
KEY UPDATE: 'What's Next' Feature
'What's Next' is a new feature which replaces and vastly improves the current tab 'Reg Groups' under Reception.
From the Groups tab you will be able to see what events those students have upcoming, as well as in the past, including attendance status.
Creating new groups of students you may wish to monitor is also a great benefit of this feature.
There is also the ability to download or print this page.
KEY UPDATE: Attendance Registers
There is now no need to click to save a register, it will auto-save and show a timestamp of the last update.
It is also easier for more than one person to be taking the attendance register at the same time as we have introduced conflict management. An on-screen warning will alert a staff member taking a register if another member of staff has already marked the same child with a conflicting status, and allow it to be resolved by overriding if required.
There is a new 'Previous Event' button, which works the same as the existing 'Next Event', so a staff member can quickly see where students may be arriving from to their event.
Extra sorting options are now available on the register view including Year/Grade, Class and Date of Birth.
The 'Add' button is now only visible to Admin users by default, to avoid staff mistakenly adding students to groups without charging them. You can opt to have this button turned on for 'All Staff' (or off for Admin), which is requested via SchoolsBuddy Support.
KEY UPDATE: Parent Teacher Conferences / Parents Evenings
Groups are now labelled as 'Teachers' for clarity.
When creating 'Teachers' using the bulk add button there are now extra filtering options, and a new step to allow you to review and amend if required.
A warning message will now show at the top of the Teachers page if more than one group has been created for the same teacher.