Transport is a critical part of any school’s infrastructure, but when lesson time does not always mark the start and end of the school day, it’s not necessarily straightforward to manage.
Running a complex extra-curricular activity (ECA) programme can have a major impact on the daily organisation and communication required of your transport system, with students needing drop-off and pick-up at different times around the school day depending on what activities they are involved in. However, with the right technology, this challenge is easily addressed.
Why it’s critical that transport systems and ECAs work together
ECAs are an important part of the school day for both schools and parents, boosting students’ wellbeing and development and providing additional childcare around many parents’ working commitments. However, they are often subject to change, both from the school and from the parent or student side. This can hit your schedules with time-consuming logistical issues for your team to deal with, such as:
- How do you ensure that students in ECA programmes are enrolled on the correct transport?
- How do you know who is absent?
- How do you keep track of and communicate live changes that impact transport schedules?
This last point brings us to a vital component of any school transport system: good communication.
With school transport, communication is key
As with most areas of school life, communication is the glue that holds everything together, ensuring events run smoothly and issues are avoided. This is particularly true of transport, where it is often the final link between school and home. Among the considerations for ensuring effective communication around your transport system are:
- How are parents and students able to receive communications and request changes?
- Do you and your parents know when your transport is running late?
- Do your drivers know who’s allowed to leave the bus unaccompanied?
When the situation is often changing, you need to keep communications dynamic. It is also important to send and receive them using the channel parents find most easily accessible and use most frequently. This will also help your teams avoid delays and errors in your day-to-day transport management, providing a better experience for all involved – whether they are involved in ECAs or not.
Using tech to manage transport systems
As with most aspects of organising school activities, tech can be used to streamline and manage these processes more effectively. If your teams are still working on paper-based systems, online solutions can most definitely offer a more secure way of generating transport lists, as well as reducing human error and admin time.
The problem is that the number of technology platforms now needed to run school infrastructure has increased dramatically over recent years. While these undoubtedly provide many benefits in terms of saving time and improving efficiency, there are often downsides to factor in, such as:
- The additional burden of knowledge and training needed to be able to use different systems
- The integration of multiple systems to ensure correct and real-time information
- Parents having multiple systems to understand, monitor and use for their children
The solution to these issues lies in selecting the best platform for the needs of your school community.
An integrated experience for your team and parents
With numerous systems to manage, integration is the name of the game when it comes to choosing the right transport platform for both your team and parents. Combined with the facilities for effective communication, the right tech should fully integrate into your school’s ecosystem to keep things running smoothly for everyone.
Remember to think about:
- How to simplify communication with your team and parents
- How to ensure changes are actioned and communicated fast and easily
- How to save your team time in managing transport and ECAs
- How to provide your parents with a better experience
When overhauling your school transport system, addressing these main points will help you run an efficient and well-communicated programme that integrates effectively with your ECA programme and better serves your team, students and parents.