I don’t about you, but I get a lot of letters from school.
They are always on different coloured paper, and they usually have at least one, if not two, tear off strips. I now file them under various headings.
First, there are the instruction letters: where the children must be and by when, who with, why and what they should have with them. The need for lunches (in disposable packaging only) and waterproofs (with hoods please, but no hoodies); with spending money (more than a pound, but not over £3) and permissions slips at hand.
Then there are the rule letters. No jewellery; no skateboards; no mobiles or other electronic devices. And no cars anywhere near school. Oh, and don’t even think about taking your children out of school in term time – the consequences are too severe for me to even mention on an open webpage.
And the event letters: swimming festival tomorrow (did we not mention?), and valentine’s day special craft project (really, is it that time of year already? But there are no Easter eggs in the shops yet). So I frantically search round the house for some appropriate red card and ribbon to donate cursing myself for obviously missing a memo somewhere
Then there is the raft of money letters. Money for trips. Money for swimming. Money for residentials. Money for music lessons. Money for the PTA.
Now I am pretty lucky, my girls’ teachers have all been extremely good at keeping us up to date and the school tries hard to keep parents informed without over burdening us. So surely as a communications professional (stop giggling at the back) I should welcome this barrage of information?
Well, yes, the motivation is clearly right. But this is the 21st century. Aren’t there better ways of communicating? Headteachers’ blogs? Email cascades? Twitter feeds for each year group? Class specific noticeboards? On line Q&A sessions? Skype parents evenings? Facebook pages with events functionality? Tying notes to the legs of pigeons? OK, we may need our children to help us actually do some of these things, but they taught me how to use my smartphone…
Drowning in paper, colour coordinated or not, is so last year.
But it is better than being kept in the dark I guess. I just need a decent PA to help me do the filing and perhaps a new hobby: origami or papier mache anyone?
Mark Wall is an Associate of The Campaign Company. You can read more about our communications strategies here.