School Communications: SMS vs email


With the exception of the good old ‘school letter’ email has generally been considered the ‘go to’ form of communication between a school and parents / carers. A number of schools to this day still prefer to use email for the majority of their communications and will opt for this regardless of the alternatives. However it’s important to note that whilst emails are good for sending out detailed or long pieces of information, there are occasions when email is simply not the most effective communication method.

Consider these scenarios…

  • There is a last minute change to a school trip and as a result updates need to be quickly sent out and acknowledged by the parents.
  • The school is closed temporarily due to weather or in an emergency and parents need to be advised fast so that alternative childcare arrangements can be put in place.
  • There is an issue with the school bus and pupils who use the bus need to be notified quickly as to the alternatives put in place.

So what do you do? You could phone the parents concerned but that takes time. One simple and effective method would be to send an SMS. Text messages have a 98% read rate and, more importantly, 9 out of 10 text messages are opened within 3 seconds of being received (source: DMA). Text messages are also a discreet and convenient way of reach people on the move and allow for quick and easy replies to be returned back thus ensuring that the message has been received by the recipient concerned.

The HSL WebSMS solution is ideal for schools needing to contact parent and carers in an emergency. You simply log in to your dedicated portal and from there you can easily generate and send out messages using stored contact details, templates and distribution lists. This helps you to send out messages to a large group of contacts fast. You can also view and organise the replies you receive back which means you can easily track who has acknowledged or provided a response to your message.

Want to find out more about how we could help your school’s communications? Get in touch by calling us on +44 (0)1506 605 260 or emailing us at

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