When it came to Parents Evening the booking system involved students speaking to each of their teachers and booking 5 minute appointments with them. They wrote this down on a pink sheet of paper which they handed to their parents for the evening (if they did not lose it before the evening). Parents had limited control over who they saw (this was down to students) and as a school we had a register of those who attended – but no real idea of who they actually met with. Following feedback from previous evenings we decided to see if this could be moved online. We investigated building this ourselves in Frog (possible – but we wanted one quickly) or purchasing a ready-made system (expensive).
At the same time we were introducing Google Apps for Education which came with Google Calendar. We then discovered YouCanBookMe – a free online booking system – that links a Google Calendar to a web-based form. By using the two systems we were able to develop an online parents evening booking system.
1. First we established a dedicated Google account (in our case called Parents Evening) with its own calendar.
2. This account was then used to register for a free account with YouCanBookMe.
3. We then contacted SoftySoftware – the team behind YouCanBookMe to change our account to “non-profit” status. This gave us access to unlimited team members.
4. Back in Google Calendar (logged in as Parents Evening) we then created a separate calendar for each teacher (by going to My Calendars – Create New Calendar). We shared this calendar with the member of staff.
5. Then back in YouCanBookMe we used teams – to set up a separate booking page for each member of staff – which YouCanBookMe displays as a list on the first page:
6. We also edited the Booking Form – to collect the parents and childs name, form and e-mail address:
7. Finally we linked the homepage of YouCanBookMe to our VLE – placing the link in the student, parents and staff area – so that all could make bookings.
Now each time a booking is made an e-mail is sent to the member of staff and the time slot is booked in their Google Calendar. If parents provide an e-mail address they also receive a confirmation e-mail (and could cancel at a later date). We are able to monitor all bookings and download them as an Excel Spreadsheet. It also enables us to contact students who have made no bookings before the start of the evening to a make sure parents are aware of the evening.