As part of our managed and monitored social media service for schools (Blippit Social) we recently ran a fast turnaround ‘end of term’ survey for Lammack Primary School’s Head Teacher, Mrs Paula Duckworth.
We asked Paula to comment on the experience of using Facebook to survey parents as part of the school’s ongoing Blippit Social service.
We are so busy but we didn’t need to worry about sorting the survey – it just happened!
Surveying parents is no small task and with time being so short the challenge was how to do it in a way that may also get a wider range of parents responding.
Lammack agreed to our suggestions that they could
do it in Facebook – familiar environment, save some trees
include a random prize draw
With the survey built we then put measures in place to sanity check the Facebook community responses to ensure that
participants were actually parents/family
it was easy for parents to accurately and quickly respond
Questions were a mix of 1-5 range type (examples below) and free comment areas.
Once signed off by school we looked back at previous months’ parental engagement data (included in Blippit Social) to see when parents would be most likely to respond. We then scheduled a Facebook Update to go on to the school Page at a specific time on a specific day when we knew, based upon our historic data, that parents would be more likely to engage.
On average each participant spent 4mins 14secs completing this Parental Questionnaire – which is quite quick when you see the mobile/desktop split of respondents (above)
We’ve a strong feeling that it’s because the survey was actually within Facebook that parents commented more freely and naturally than they might otherwise do. The comments were only seen by school. We need to do many more surveys to establish this for sure but the signs were there based on responses.
Only the school could see the responses coming in as they happened. We got the results in Microsoft Excel as well as ‘pretty’ PDF documents to share with SLT and Governors which will save me time.
We’ll do more surveys for Heads through the Blippit Social service because we know just how hard it is to fit in doing them efficiently and effectively.
We’ll be doing hashtag surveys next which are really lightweight, fast and dare we say ‘exciting’?
Fancy trying this approach like Lammack Primary? Just get in touch with us at Blippit.
Some things are meant for sharing and some things aren’t. When your audience is parents it’s not unnatural to think once or twice about what you might share. However, an Alpaca in the Head’s Office? No brainer. It makes “dog in the playground” seem very pedestrian.
This Alpaca went on tour around the classes with the wonderfully Doolittle-esque Head Teacher Dave McPartlin and in terms of memories for the children you can only imagine them re-telling the day’s events when they saw their families later that day.
Isn’t it refreshing that in the prevailing climate of risk avoidance and health & safety we have an ‘Ofsedicially’ Outstanding school prepared to take in large South American mountain dwelling creatures in the name of enrichment & probably a few other things too…including fun?
On the face of it it’s slightly bonkers.
Conventional wisdom might say
do it, but don’t make too big a fuss as parents might not ‘get it’
do it and feature the visit in the next school newsletter at the end of the month
do it and pop a photo on the school website
Unconventional wisdom might say, do it then share it on Facebook the same day so that mums and dads might actually believe their children when they get home! Today that’s exactly what happened. Unconventional wisdom won and the response from parents at Heysham St Peter’s CE Primary was very good.
By coincidence in the news two days ago another large furry mammal was spotted in London – specifically a Polar Bear. Wait. A massive polar bear in London down in the Tube (and later other places too) with small children? What could possibly go wrong?
For me, social media engagement is about stories and in my talks round and about the place with groups of Heads that’s what I delve in to in more detail. Whether it’s stories about an Alpaca in the Head Teacher’s office or Polar Bears on the London Underground it doesn’t matter too much. Every person and place has a story to tell so why not share it? You’ll might be surprised at the reaction.
If you couldn’t make it to our event (20-11-14) where Head Teachers of schools we work with shared their stories, then you can catch up with these full length videos of their talks at your convenience.
We’ll be releasing executive summaries of each video soon but until they’re ready you’re very welcome to watch the full length talks below.
This week I went on to BBC Breakfast’s famous red couch for Blippit Social. I was lucky enough to be invited on to the programme to comment and advise on the use of social media by schools and attitudes of parents to the subject more widely.
The Inflame Game
The context for the piece was the question of whether or not a primary head teacher of a school had done the right thing by sending home a letter essentially telling them not to let their children go on Facebook, they were too young etc.
When Bill Turnbull (my mum’s favourite presenter second only to Michael Palin) asked whether the school had done the right thing I essentially said yes – for that school it was the right thing. Saying anything else would have been wrong and only inflamed the story. Not knowing or understanding the school’s context and history only the Head himself could say, on reflection, anything else. Every school is different and that includes it’s community; having worked with as many schools as we have over the years there’s no doubt about that. We do know now that done right, even Ofsted inspectors see huge value in our parental engagement approach.
Viewers’ comments on the BBC Breakfast programme Facebook thread on the day show that there is no one single view when it comes down to it. Parents do share the same essential views on safety but not necessarily the same view on what should be done and how to ensure it. Check the comments out to see what I mean.
It’s pointless to make it into a blame game
It’s a fruitless route to play the blame game in my opinion. We’re all old and wise enough to know
It’s not Mark Zuckerberg’s fault
it’s not the parent’s fault
it’s not the children’s fault
it’s certainly not the Head Teachers’ fault
It’s just where we’re at in our evolution; ‘learning’ how to use tools for which there are no real rules; only arbitrary age limits and everyone’s common sense.
The End Game?
What options are there then for young people, parents, teachers and companies on the best use of social media platforms linked to education?
raise age limits for access?
increase reporting tools to expedite action?
boycott social platforms?
boycott technology like phones, tablets etc?
enforce tough technology filters for home access?
enforce and introduce new legislation?
or support, educate and make users part of the solution?
And finally. Of course being a very British thing to do I landed lots of stick for being spotted on the TV so if you can’t beat them, join them.
Going live since September have been a great mix of schools who are each harnessing Facebook for their own reasons. You’d be forgiven for thinking that to use the world’s biggest social media platform your school would have to be at the frontier for innovation or at the very least have maverick-like leadership. Not true. Far from it.
The Heads I’ve worked with all know the value of parental engagement. From new-to-the-school through to very well established Heads it really doesn’t matter and for them it’s just a matter of how to get traction.
Where a school ‘is’ in Ofsted’s eyes is proving not to be a factor in whether a Head chooses to use engage with parents or not using social media. For example you might think that a school with a notice to improve has better things to be doing? Surely it’s inviting trouble from disgruntled parents but in our experience it appears not.
Safeguarding: key features of outstanding practice
In speaking with Children Safeguarding Boards about their priorities it feels like safeguarding has begun to usurp e-safety in many people’s minds. The tide is turning on the ‘everything social is bad’ camp and that’s why we say ‘harnessing Facebook for good’. Experience shows that parents want to be active participants in safeguarding and actively be included and party to the school’s success having invested their most precious things into the school – their children. This video (made by year 3) was a direct result of children and parents being together in a joint ‘talk’ about how to keep safe.
(Firefox may not show the video below – switch to any other browser to view)
“Ofsted does not require schools to build walls around play areas; it does not expect schools to seek Criminal Records Bureau checks on casual visitors to schools, including parents; it does not judge a school to be inadequate because of minor administrative errors, or because an inspector’s ID was not checked.”
“a curriculum that is flexible, relevant and engages pupils’ interest; that is used to promote safeguarding, not least through teaching pupils how to stay safe, how to protect themselves from harm and how to take responsibility for their own and others’ safety”
Keeping children safe is everyone’s job and we believe that for children to be safer social citizens they need better equipped parents who can actively & passively learn via school as an excellent role model.