What happens when someone replies to an email or SMS?


When someone receives an SMS from their school sent through Arbor, the text message appears as being sent from a randomly generated number (not the school's number). This number is specific to the recipient and does not change. SMS threads cannot be initiated, only responded to.

You may wish to send an initial text outlining something like 'This is your Arbor SMS contact number. Please reply to this text to get in contact with us. Please do not share this number.'

If a parent, staff member or student replies to an SMS, Arbor identifies the phone number and automatically redirects the SMS to the correct school. There is no time limit for when someone can reply to an SMS sent.

You can see replies in the Comms Center by going to School > Communications > All School Communications  > Inbound SMS.You can also choose to notify a member of staff when there is a reply to an SMS message.

In cases when Arbor can’t match the phone number and the school, the sender receives a notification that the SMS cannot be delivered.



When an email is sent, and a parent, staff member or student emails back, all replies will be sent to the inbox of the email address used when sending.

Sending on behalf of a staff member

If the email was sent on behalf of a staff member, the reply will be sent to the staff member's default email address.

Sending on behalf of the school

If the email was sent on behalf of the school, the reply will be sent to the inbox of the school's default email address.



You can see and edit this email address by going to School > School details.

You can also choose to import these replied into Arbor: Rerouting the school's emails into Arbor and using the import emails function



Click +Add to add a new email, or click the Work Email field in Contact details to update the email or to select it as the default email address used.



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I'm still stuck!


  • Is it possible to have more than one default email address for the school?  The reason I ask is because our teachers would like to be able to email from a "Phase group" email address which parents could then respond to.

    At the moment, any emails they are sending to parents in their class are all being responded to via the office email address which obviously means there is a time lapse before the teachers receive their response.  

    Is this possible or is it something Arbor could look at for the future please?


  • Hi Penny, there isn't a way to set more than one email as the default for a person, because the system won't then know which email address to use in which cases.

    I'd suggest perhaps looking into the possibility of teachers having their work email address set as the default and selecting to send communications from themselves - then they can manage the replies. If this wouldn't work for you, we'd love it if you could get in touch with us to discuss your options.

  • Can you please explain how we can we set up staff so that it defaults to their email address to receive replies as at the moment they are all coming to our school office email address.

    Thank you

  • Hi Rachel, all replies will be sent to the inbox of the email address used when sending. This means that your staff will need to make sure the email is coming from them rather than from the school. To be able to set this as the default for staff, you would need to remove the ability for them to send on behalf of the school, which you can see how to do here: https://support.arbor-education.com/hc/en-us/articles/360009768553-Permitted-Senders-of-Communications

    Do get in touch with our support team if you have any further questions!

  • Hello there. Is there a way to turn the ability to reply to SMS off? It's not something we've had before and prefer our parents to call us.

    Many thanks!

  • Hi Sarah, it isn't possible to stop replies, as shown here. You might want to add a note at the end of your communications reminding your guardians to give you a call.


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