With the pandemic and its complications waging on, the education sector across the UK and the world is struggling to juggle the challenges of remote teaching and learning, the digital divide, and student learning loss, to name just a few of the issues the sector is facing.
Daily processes have changed, potentially long-term, and institutes of every education level are striving to keep pace by being adaptable and maintaining community connection. With the ongoing crisis increasing levels of stress and anxiety at large, communication is key to keeping individuals present and engaged – especially when it comes to the education sector, where many stakeholders are involved.
It makes sense then, that in nurseries, schools and universities across the UK, communication with parents, guardians and students alike have been steadily on the rise in the last nine months, with new research from TextAnywhere revealing that more than half (52%) have education providers have increased communications since the outbreak began.
In a survey of more than 650 organisations across multiple UK industries, TextAnywhere asked a range of education providers about the ways they had used comms to maximise relations with both parents and students following the first national lockdown in March and the subsequent restrictions, which saw schools, colleges and universities fully or partially close and then reopen, often with virtually no notice.
Compared with pre-COVID data, more than 52% of education institutes said they’re sending more messages to their communities, while just over a third (38%) said they’re sending the same amount. Just one in 10 (10%) of public sector organisations said they are currently sending fewer messages than before.
According to the survey, most messages sent by education providers relate to delivery information (21%), appointment management (18%), and emergency information (18%). These messages could relate to campus safety updates, school closures or social distancing reminders.
The full breakdown of how educators have been messaging during the pandemic are as follows:
- Delivery information – 21%
- Appointment management – 18%
- Emergency information – 18%
- Customer service/process updates – 16%
- Marketing/promotional activity – 12%
- Account updates – 9%
- Customer satisfaction surveys – 6%
“It’s safe to say that schools, universities and nurseries have had a significant challenge on their hands over the past nine months, communicating updates to students, parents and guardians. With rules and regulations changing all the time, often at short notice, these organisations have had to implement more effective communication and energy processes, to ensure all relevant parties remain well informed about the restrictions that affect them,” said Demi Edmunds, communications specialist at TextAnywhere.
“With an average open rate of 95% and 90% of all text messages being read within three minutes, SMS is an effective way to deliver mass, time-sensitive messages to students and parents…Maintaining a great level of engagement has never been so pressing for education providers. Parents want to feel confident that their child’s school is on top of the ongoing situation, making the necessary changes to keep their child safe, students and staff safe. For universities, special care must be taken, especially for first year students, who are already trying to adjust and feel comfortable in what is a completely new situation.”