Initial Set-Up, Pre-Live Checklist, Data Integration, Orientation & Go Live
SchoolsBuddy Setup Process Summary:
- Complete Setup Form
- Data Integration
- Payment Partner Application (if applicable) see further down this article
- Receive Activation Email and set your password
- Watch pre-training videos and complete setup tasks
- Schedule onboarding session with SchoolsBuddy
- Complete outstanding tasks
- Complete training and create your first signup
- Setup Test Parent account and carry out a test
- Go Live
This support article is to help guide you through the process of getting you live with SchoolsBuddy, containing information for each stage with more detail throughout the document.
Important: Data - Integration or Import?
We will need your SIS/MIS data integrated with SchoolsBuddy before we can train any of your staff. If your school does not use an SIS/MIS then we can do a manual CSV import. See further on in this guide for more information.
Online Payments - only applicable if you are having the payments module so that parents can use SchoolsBuddy to make payments for activities, clubs, school purchases such as uniforms etc. See further on in this guide for details.
Complete New Customer Onboarding Form
Complete the Form by clicking here.
The form contains all the vital information we need to create your SchoolsBuddy site. Please complete this form as soon as you can and submit it to us. You will need to attach to the form a good quality, transparent version of your School logo.
For any queries regarding the form please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Single Sign-On (SSO) allows for seamless access and authentication from one account to all key services.
We currently offer SSO access to SchoolsBuddy via ManageBac, Google, Microsoft Office 365, AzureAD, Firefly, iSAMS and any SSO option with Open ID Connect.
If you would like this added to your SchoolsBuddy account please specify this on the onboarding form in the field provided. See our help article for more information.
Understanding & Sharing Data in SchoolsBuddy
SchoolsBuddy works with a variety of SIS/MIS programs and you will be given guidance on anything you need to know about importing and syncing information from your own system separately. Data is synced every 24 hours, on a nightly basis - our support team can trigger an extra sync if need to update your data urgently.
Here are the basics:
- All staff accounts created by your data feed have access to student data including contact details and medical information as available (if medical data is synced)
- External staff can be added to SchoolsBuddy manually and configured with lesser permissions. These permissions can control access for the external user (i.e coach) to take attendance, view guardian information, view medical data, send communications or edit and cancel events
- We create staff accounts in SchoolsBuddy based on your email domain. Let us know if you have more than one. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- If a staff member has a personal email address in your MIS they will not be imported into SchoolsBuddy. We can allow them to be imported if your staff do not use their work email addresses.
- If a staff member uses their staff email address in your MIS as a parent contact they will automatically be able to switch between parent and staff modes on the web and mobile apps. If you would like to prohibit staff from using the same account, we can block all emails with the school domain from being used for parent accounts and they can be manually added to SchoolsBuddy as a parent with their personal email address.
- We designate “Superusers” for your school who can give elevated permissions to other staff members for functions such as administration, absence monitoring or financial processes.
- Staff accounts must be manually deleted when no longer required unless you are using ManageBac or some Wonde-facilitated integrations
- Both parents see all activities booked and charges for their child, but they will have their own login, credit wallet and voucher wallet to keep their individual finances separate from each other. A parent cannot use their partner's balance to pay for bookings or charges on the student's account.
- Primary School students are initially set up with dummy email addresses. We can import real email addresses if you would like students to access SchoolsBuddy when these exist in your MIS/SIS.
We will work with your onboarding contact/implementation manager to ensure your data is imported successfully into SchoolsBuddy. This must be completed before you can receive your activation email. Please follow the link to our Help Centre Data & Integrations section and select the instructions for your School's MIS.
If you don’t see your MIS listed, or have any questions let us know by sending an email to: email@example.com
SchoolsBuddy Online Payments / Fees Module
If you have purchased this module as part of your package you will need to apply for an account with one of our approved payment provider partners. The provider available depends on your location.
As part of the implementation process, you should automatically receive an email to either introduce you to our payment partner or inviting you directly to sign up/create an account. If you do not receive this email within five days please contact us - firstname.lastname@example.org
Once your account is created we will complete the final integration process and carry out a test payment - after this, you can check that payment has been received in your payment provider’s portal and you will be able to start taking payments from your parents.
The Fees tab is only visible in SchoolsBuddy if you have purchased the module.
From here you can easily see charges and payments in the Summary, see recent payments in Monies Received, and navigate to other Finance areas such as Reports, Quick Charge and Mass Adjustments. You can find out more about Fees when you have your first training session.
Visit our help centre article - Billings & Payments - for an overview and detailed resources assistance. You can also always contact our Support Team - details at the end of this article.
Receive activation email and set your password
If you are using Single Sign-On (SSO) then simply click the URL for your SchoolsBuddy site and log in through your designated SSO method, there is no need to receive an activation email.
If you are not using SSO then you will receive an activation email and using the link within this email, you will be able to sign in and complete the orientation and tasks as described in the Pre-Training Videos and Tasks document.
Learn/Save your Subdomain
Please learn your school subdomain to ensure you have no issues signing in. Once you receive your activation email you will have your subdomain which will be in the format:
Your subdomain page shows your logo and SSO (Single Sign-On) option if you have chosen to use this. The subdomain can be published on your school website so parents and staff can link through if needed.
Watch pre-training videos and complete setup tasks
Before your initial onboarding call, please watch the two short 'Discover' videos and complete the Pre-Live setup tasks within your SchoolsBuddy portal described below:
- Block Dates – set holiday dates to make creating repeating events easy
- Staff Roles – assign different roles to staff members, with different levels of access
- Welcome Message – set welcome messages on the landing page for staff, parents and students
- Locations – create specific locations to use when creating your events
- Portal Links - create static content or links to information for parents, staff and students
Onboarding Introduction session with SchoolsBuddy
Once you receive you receive your activation email and completed the tasks you need to book your initial Onboarding call with one of our Training & Implementation Specialists.
The purpose of this call will be to discuss how you would like to use the system so we can show you how SchoolsBuddy can best work for you and then tailor your training accordingly. We will also do some basic data checks and show you how to navigate the system.
This first call is not for all users at your school, just the key user(s)/Super Admin(s). We will discuss who you might need to include in the later training sessions.
This onboarding session should last approximately 30 minutes.
Complete setup tasks & create your first signup
Complete any outstanding setup tasks e.g. finish adding all locations.
To get started you can either book a training session with our team or have a go yourself using our Support guides and videos. These can be found by clicking on the Support icon in the top right corner when logged into your account.
We recommend that you use our Help Centre Guides and book in for a review session or training to discuss more customised requirements.
Training call with SchoolsBuddy
Booking your Training session will give you the opportunity to see how to use the system in detail and ask questions.
These sessions are held via a Zoom video call so that we can share the screen for demonstrations.
Think about the key people from your school who need to be on this call, e.g. Activities Coordinator (this will be discussed during your onboarding call).
Training sessions are 45 minutes long and we recommend 1 - 2 sessions per module.
The Admin Screen
As an Admin user you will have access to the Admin screen. This is where you can see an overview of all users and send them activation emails. To access this, click on your initials in the top right corner and then on ‘Admin’.
To send activation emails simply click the dropdown next to ‘Welcome email not sent’ and select the users you want to activate. Then click ‘Send’ in the top right-hand corner. This is the same process for staff and parents. Click the dropdown by "Welcome email not sent" and select everyone by toggling all or simply select the specific staff you want to send activation emails to:-
Once sent, if there are any issues with the activation email they will be displayed in red text next to the user’s email. For further help visit the help centre article Sending Staff, Pupils, and Parents an Activation Email
Top tip: You can also activate users by grades or groups if you want to introduce SchoolsBuddy in stages. See this guide for more details. Sending Activation emails to filtered recipients
Set up a Test Parent account and carry out a test
We recommend that you create a Test Parent account so you can experience SchoolsBuddy as your parents will.
NB: The email address for this test parent will need to be different from existing staff and parent emails within your MIS.
You may have done this as part of the initial setup tasks but if not, do it now so that you can see the parent’s experience and check you are happy with the information you’ve provided before opening your first signup. You can use this account to check the setup is correct for any future signups you create, or to help parents that come to you with queries.
Follow this link to the help centre article Setting up your Test Parent Accounts (linking to our test students)
There are numerous email templates used within SchoolsBuddy that can be amended with your chosen wording.
Before going live, you should check the most important templates and let us know of any changes needed. These are the Activation and Welcome emails - these can differ for Parents and Staff and the Email Footer.
Follow this link to the help centre article - “Email Templates, Email Footer & Web Footer”
- Activation email – you will have received this as a Staff member and can check the Parent version when setting up a test parent.
- Welcome email – you will have received this as a Staff member and can check the Parent version once your test parent account is activated.
All templates can be viewed from the Reception > Reports section within SchoolsBuddy in ‘Email Templates HTML Viewer’ and we can provide you with a full guide of the standard templates for you to submit revisions if you would like this.
As you work through setting up further signups and events within SchoolsBuddy (and always Testing as a Parent) check for any email where you would like to amend the wording - these can be sent to the support desk (details at the end of this article).
You should have now completed all the Pre-Live tasks and had a further training session with our Training & Implementation team. If you are uncertain about any of the topics you can visit our Help Centre by clicking the Support icon at the top of your screen as indicated previously. You can find lots of resources to help you including some video tutorials.
You are now nearly ready to introduce your School Community to SchoolsBuddy!
Remaining tasks/items to check:-
Prepare a Letter/Notification to announce upcoming new system
Send Activation/Welcome emails to Staff, Parents and Students
Check Parent uptake
Check initial parent use
Preparing for Go-Live
Prepare and write Letter/Notification to announce upcoming new system
When you are nearly ready to go live to your school, parents and staff you will need to be informed.
Below is an example parent template that you can use and adjust as required, depending on the modules you are using and when you plan to send activation emails to parents.
We are very pleased to advise that very soon we will be starting to use online bookings for many of our activities, clubs and trips with a system called SchoolsBuddy.
This includes tools to allow you to:
Make bookings for your child/children online and view these in your own diary
Provide consent for school trips and view confirmed events in your own diary
Pay fees and view your balance
Receive various communications from us
Importantly you will be able to do this on the move using the IoS and Android apps
We will be launching this in the next two weeks when you will receive an activation email that will include a link for you to create a password for your own login.
Please look out for this and check your junk email folder just in case.
Our School Name
Send Activation/Welcome emails to Staff and Parents (Students - if applicable) - See above
Once logged in they will be taken to your Dashboard and see the welcome message.
The welcome message can be different for staff, parents and pupils. Click here for a refresher on the welcome message options and how to create them for your SchoolsBuddy site.
Check Parent uptake
Once you have sent activation emails to Parents and are up and running, you can view who has and hasn’t logged in, including:
- Parents who have never logged in
- Students with Inactive Parent accounts
For an overview, click on your initials in the top right corner and click on Admin.
Here you will see a breakdown of staff, students and parents and you can resend activation emails if required. If there are any issues then these will be displayed in red text next to the user, e.g. if their mailbox is full.
In the above example - Sam Allan has never been sent an activation email and John Adams has an error in his email address.
If you wish to look at a user in more detail, you can go to the Reception tab and then click Users. Search for the user in the search bar or use the filters to narrow down the search and toggling types of user.
In the example below you can see that Ethan Adams is an active user and has logged in but Kenneth Andrews has not been sent his activation email.
For more help visit our help centre article - Understanding the Users tab in SchoolsBuddy
If required you can run a data check to see which Students have inactive parent accounts. Under the Reception tab choose users and click data checks and select Students with inactive parent accounts.
Visit our help centre article for other checks you can make to ensure parents are engaging - Checking data to ensure parents are linked to students
Accounts/Finance department training (ignore if no Fees module)
SchoolsBuddy Customer Support
Accounts/Finance further help
From The Billing & Payments section of the help centre you can find help with:
- Managing Finances
- Raising and Removing Charges
Within SchoolsBuddy there are various standard reports you can use, and bespoke reports may also be available (*at an extra cost). You can access the reports function from the Reception Tab:
Once Signups are open, we advise that you take a look at the reports that are available. If you are looking for something specific please let us know and we will point you in the right direction. Please see the guides for more information - Reports and Using the Reports interface
Please note: Fees Reports are only available to staff who have either the Fees role and/or the advanced Admin Fees role or Super Admin role. If you require further assistance please let your implementation manager know so we can arrange training.
SCHOOLSBUDDY CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Once your site is live our Support Team will be on-hand to help with any queries. Our Help Centre is full of support documents and videos for a wide variety of tasks.
Support resources can also be accessed from within your SchoolsBuddy site when you are logged in:-