Boost - Make the most out of Parental Engagement in Arbor

Begin, Build, Boost

You're at Boost, the third step in your school's journey to getting the most out of parental engagement in Arbor by using the Parent Portal and Arbor App!



Customise the way you report to parents

Use Communications effectively

When communicating with parents and guardians, we recommend carefully considering which format is most appropriate. You may wish to take a look at our Begin Build Boost journey for Communications for best practise tips: Getting started with Communications

  • As there is a cost to using SMS (you can see further details here), you'll want to ensure you're only using SMS messages when necessary.
  • Emails are free and can include attachments. However because parents may not have notifications set up for their emails, we recommend using this channel for non-urgent messages.
  • In-app messages are also free and can be seen in Arbor, and replied to. You can't add attachments, but you can add links

You can pull in data available in the Custom Report Writer as a merge field into your communications! Take a look at the video below on how to use merge fields, and this article on how to create them from your Custom Report Writer reports: Creating a Mail Merge using data from a Custom Report Writer report


Report Cards

The best way to share point-in-time reporting with parents and guardians is through Report Cards. We have three types of report cards available depending on your needs and how much you want to customise their format:

  • Arbor Report Card - Our default option, preconfigured and quickest to set up.
  • External Report Cards - Import bespoke Report Cards you've set up externally in another system.
  • Custom Report Cards - Use a Custom Report Writer report to customise to your school's terminology and required layout.

You can share manually after downloading them, via email, or through the Parent and Student Portals or the Arbor App.


You can then schedule meetings with guardians to discuss progress and attainment easily: Setting up Parents Evenings (Guardian Consultations)


  • 00:00 - Key information
  • 02:20 - Setting up the Guardian Consultation
  • 05:00 - Scheduling the meetings
  • 09:20 - Set staff availability
  • 13:00 - Booking meetings manually
  • 19:00 - Having parents book their own meetings
  • 22:30 - Cancel meetings or send reminders to parents to book
  • 24:40 - Changing staff
  • 25:10 - Timetables
  • 27:00 - Cancelling the whole Guardian Consultation
  • 31:00 - Q&A


Take Meals and Payments to the next level

You'll already be using our basic meals features to take payments for meals through the Parent Portal and Arbor App. But you can make things even easier to manage by enabling parents to select what meals their students will have and quickly top up using their phone.

Please note that there are package requirements for these features:

  • Apple Pay and Google Pay - included in our newest Perform package only.
  • Rotating Meal Menus - included in our newest Perform package only.
  • Cashless Catering - included in All Perform packages, and our newest Comms package.

Want to upgrade or find out what package you’re on? Just get in contact with your Account Manager.

Apple Pay and Google Pay

As well as topping up an account by card, parents can make payments on their devices using Apple Pay or Google Pay. You can see how to get set up here: Making payments with Apple Pay and Google Pay

Have parents select student meals

Once parents have topped up their account, they can choose what meal their child will have in advance if you set up Rotating Meal Menus.

Rotating Meal Menus enable you to have changing meal choices that parents can book in advance through the parent Portal and Arbor App: Set up, edit or delete Rotating Meal Menus

meal menu choice.png


Cashless Catering

Alternatively to Meal menus, using one of our two-way Cashless Catering integrations means payment information for meals is up-to-date in both systems with no need for double entry.

For parents, the Parent Portal and Arbor app can become their single point of access for making top ups and checking balances, without needing to jump into a different system.

  • Save time - no need to update, top up and log in and out of multiple systems.
  • Easy reconciliation - balances are automatically copied between systems in almost real time.
  • Automate account balance updates - when a child pays for their meal, the price is automatically deducted from their account balance in Arbor.

Arbor can integrate with CRB Cunninghams, Live Register or Civica - see how to set up the integration here: Cashless Catering


Track your Parental Engagement

There's a page which will show you how parents and guardians are logging in and engaging with the Parent Portal and Arbor App. You can also take further actions from this page such as sending reminder communications.

Take a look: Track and report on Parental Engagement for the Parent Portal and Arbor App



What's next?

You're at the finish line of your Begin, Build, Boost journey, but that doesn't mean things have to stop here! This is just the start of using the Parent Portal and Arbor App at your school!

Want more?

Our Customer Education specialists can offer in-depth support on how to use the areas covered in Begin Build Boost, and beyond for other areas of Arbor. Depending on the area, there are Foundation sessions, more in-depth consultations or a bespoke session.

To discuss what would best suit your school's needs, please contact your Account Manager.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful
I'm still stuck!



Article is closed for comments.