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College texts its way to improved communication with students

Leicester’s Gateway Sixth Form College has announced a revolutionary take-up of texting services to help staff quickly and efficiently communicate with its students.

Through its partnership with PageOne, the UK’s leading mobile messaging company, the college has set up its entire administration department, which serves over 1,200 students, and five academic divisions with their own texting accounts.

PageOne revealed on Monday that its JANET txt service and MoodleMobile module would be incorporated into the college system. The JANET txt service will enable instant communication with learners on a number of important issues, such as student timetabling and financial payments. The college’s Moodle VLE users will now also have access via PageOne’s MoodleMobile module.

JANET txt recently proved its use during a minor emergency at the college. Paul Taylor, Network and Corporate Data Manager at Gateway Sixth Form College, explains: "On one occasion, the college had to close when our water supply was cut off, and we sent texts early the next morning when the supply was restored to tell students that the college was re-opening.

"This prompted many students to correct their mobile numbers with Student Services and reinforced the message that subscribing to a text service was the correct decision. I have no hesitation in recommending JANET txt as a cost-effective additional communication tool for colleges."

The decision to use the service across the board at Gateway Sixth Form College was taken as an innovative approach to get closer to the student, and communicate with them in a ‘language’ that has been more or less universally utilised in increasingly technologically-savvy generations.

Staff, however, differ slightly in the way they use the system, with academic staff using JANET txt primarily to inform students about changes to timetables, and the finance department which texts the status of their EMA payments every week. Student Services also use the tool to send informal reminders to students as part of the application process.

Clair Cawley, Marketing Director of PageOne Communications, commented: "I’m delighted to see Gateway Sixth Form College benefiting from our service. Effective communication between teachers, administrators and students is crucial and it is great to see the college communicating with its students so successfully.

"I look forward to continuing our work with Gateway Sixth Form College for the benefit of both parties."

Pictured: Nick Goffin, Principal of Gateway Sixth Form College, Leicester

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