Common Questions

These are some of the questions we often get asked by school staff (with our answers!).

If you don’t see your question below then please .

What kinds of schools is Studybugs for? In short – any. If you take attendance registers, Studybugs is for you. Studybugs is used by primaries, secondaries, colleges, special schools, LA-maintained schools, free schools and academies across the UK, ranging in size from 40 to 3,000 pupils. Will parents actually use it? We pride ourselves on our excellent parental take-up. Take-up typically builds up over the first term and then averages around 70% of families, and this is increasing all the time. One large secondary school reported 50% of absence reports coming via Studybugs on the day after it was announced to parents. To roll out Studybugs to parents, just direct them to the Studybugs website or Studybugs app. We take care of the rest. We even provide template announcements for you and a widget you can put on your school website to direct parents to Studybugs. There are no user IDs to issue – it couldn’t be simpler. Will we miss out on personal contact with parents? No, quite the opposite. Schools are finding that Studybugs frees up staff time for more personal, quality contact with parents where it’s actually needed. Meanwhile the parent ‘chat’ feature opens up another channel for engaging with parents one-to-one. If you need more information about a child’s absence you can directly message the parent back with a question (particularly useful for persistent attendance challenges). All messages sent via Studybugs are automatically logged against the pupil’s record for future reference. Is it a good idea to make it easy for parents to report absence? Yes.
We’ve found if you make it difficult for parents to report absence they tend not to do it – creating bigger headaches for the school. We make it convenient for parents to report absence, prompt them for as much information as possible and record it word-for-word. The live features of the Studybugs system mean you spot any possible rising issues straight away and can take action where needed. This means less ‘chasing time’ for schools and more time to engage with parents on attendance issues.
How do you verify the identity of parents? When parents register with Studybugs we verify their email address and provide you with the details so you can quickly check them against your own records. This only needs to be done once and Studybugs remembers for next time. If you have our Attendance add-on, it automates this matching process for you. Either way, it’s a significant security improvement over reports coming in via phone, voicemail, email or SMS, all of which are more open to abuse (we recommend watching ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ for an illustration of the potential consequences). How do you prevent children from reporting absence pretending to be a parent? In addition to verifying the identity of parents (described above) we also provide the option for you to have Studybugs send automatic email confirmations of absence reports to parents. This means that if a child was to get hold of their parent’s smartphone, the phone was unlocked and the parent had not signed out of the Studybugs app, and they reported their own absence their parent would be notified straight away by email. To our knowledge this has not happened yet. We have it covered in case it does. Will Studybugs work with our other systems? Many schools already use Studybugs successfully alongside other systems, including Management Information Systems such as SIMS, and messaging and payment systems such as Teachers2Parents, eSchools, Schoolcomms, Groupcall, ParentMail and ParentPay. Is it secure? Yes, highly. Actually it’s far more secure than using the telephone, email or SMS. In addition to the measures described above all our apps and our website communicate exclusively over encrypted channels and our server infrastructure is secured like Fort Knox. If you’re interested in the details you can read more here. What about safeguarding? Studybugs ensures you know as soon as possible if any children are missing. Unlike sick notes delivered via phone, voicemail and email, with Studybugs you can easily verify that absence reports have come from an authorised parent or guardian of the child. Will this really make life in the office easier? That’s what people using it keep telling us! However if you’re concerned about Studybugs being yet another system to check, you can have Studybugs automatically email absence reports to a school email address you specify, so you can process them in your usual way. How does it save money? Studybugs replaces old-school communication via email, SMS and post with an immediate, secure and reliable system that’s a doddle to use. There are no per-message costs whatsoever for the school or parents. Even if you keep your existing systems in place alongside Studybugs, it can still save you a small fortune in SMS, postage and staff time. Schools using our Attendance add-on estimate that it’s saving them up to three hours each day, allowing staff time to be spent elsewhere on maximising attendance. My school doesn’t have an ‘attendance problem’ so why do we need Studybugs? Many schools using Studybugs have outstanding attendance. You certainly do not need to have poor attendance to reap major benefits. Our experience has been that schools with outstanding attendance are more likely to recognise the importance of continuous improvement and efficiency – which is what we are all about. You will save hours of repetitive admin time every week and be able to redirect the savings to improving your school and the experience for all your pupils. How does Studybugs Attendance actually help us improve attendance? We understand staff are the central asset in achieving high attendance. Studybugs’s efficiency gives you back valuable staff time, which can be invested in working with parents to improve attendance. It’s not just about time though. The live dashboard and activity feed give you all you need, right there on screen, in a way you’ve never had so conveniently before. Staff also receive live alerts about pupil attendance triggered by customisable criteria. All this makes identifying and improving the challenging aspects of attendance far easier. What’s involved with setting up the Attendance add-on? We can activate Studybugs Attendance for you within 24 hours. All you need to do is have your IT person install Studybugs Sync on your SIMS server, which takes 10 minutes. The rest we take care of for you.