Parental Engagement features in Arbor

We have a wide range of features in Arbor that you can use to promote positive engagement between your school and parents. Once you've introduced these features, you can track parental engagement using your Usage statistics.

Why is parental engagement important?

Parental engagement not only supports parents but it also allows teachers, admin and SLT to include parents in the school's community. 'In the last few decades, there has been a growing recognition across the world of the importance of engaging parents' - University of Winchester (Centre for Real World Learning)

Studies have shown that improved engagement leads to:

  • Improved attendance
  • Improved behaviour
  • Increased attainment
  • Better communication and understanding around their child

For more information, read our blog post on 5 ways to boost parental engagement at your school


What features are included in my package?

We have loads of different features that you can use to improve parental engagement as part of your MIS. Take a look at the table to see the main features that are included in each basic package.





Other requirements

Desktop Parent Portal


You must have switched on this feature

The Arbor App


You must have already switched on Parent Portal

In-App messaging with parents


You must have already switched on Parent Portal

Send Emails, SMS and Letters to parents


Communications Log


Report Cards (standard, long and External



Custom Report Cards


Our newest Comms package only


Schedule and allow parents to book Guardian Consultations



Organise Clubs and Trips


Organise Meals



Rotating Meal Menus and parents can choose meals



Our newest Perform package only

You must have set up Rotating meal Menus in your site

School Shop



Our newest Perform package only

You must have set up Card Payments in your site

Parents can sign their child up for clubs and trips



Parents can make card payments and you can log payments and refunds


You must have set up Card Payments in your site

Pay via Apple Pay or Google Pay


Our newest Perform package only

You must have set up Card Payments in your site





What can we do with each feature?

Parent Portal and The Arbor App

The Parent Portal lets Primary Guardians log in to their school and see all the information on their child that your school has allowed them to see. Using the Parent Portal, guardians can book parent/guardian consultation slots, register their child for a club or trip, make payments and update information about their child, removing the need for sign-up sheets and data collection forms. They can also use it to check in on their child’s attendance, behaviour and academic progress.



The Arbor App brings all the functionality of our desktop Parent Portal to guardian’s phones. It is available from the App Store or Google Play Store for Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0 and upwards.



In-app messaging

In-app messages are an easy way to communicate with guardians for schools on the Comms or Perform Packages who have enabled the Parent Portal. If they have downloaded the App and have enabled Push Notifications, they will also be able to receive the messages as Push Notifications on their mobile devices.



Why should you use In-app messages?

  • They are free! - there is no fee for using In-app messages to communicate with guardians.
  • Instant notifications and follow-ups - guardians can be notified when they receive an In-app message via email or Push Notification and followed up with an SMS (Please be aware this uses SMS credits).
  • Read status - check whether the message has been read by each guardian (not just sent or delivered like for SMS and email).
  • Response notifications - Choose which staff members are notified when guardians reply to In-app messages.




Once your guardians have an email address, mobile number and address logged on their Guardian Profile, you can fully utilise Communications. You can quickly check and fill in any blanks by going to Students > Parent & Guardians > Bulk Update > Guardian Contact Details.



Send emails and SMS directly from Arbor, or download Letters with Guardian’s addresses in bulk from the Communications Centre.



Send communications to individual Guardians, and see an individual communications log from their Guardian Profile or their child’s Student Profile.



Report Cards

Create report cards for Guardians including data on Attendance, Behaviour and Academic Attainment, and share them via email or on the Parent Portal or Arbor App.



Guardian Consultations

You can schedule Guardian Consultations (sometimes referred to as Parents Evenings) and allow parents to book slots with teachers on the Parent Portal and Arbor App.



Payments: Clubs, Trips, Meals and School Shop

  • Meals - As well as having parents top up their children's meal accounts through the Parent Portal or Arbor App, with Rotating Meal Menus, parents can select what their child will have for lunch themselves!
  • School shop and Payments - Parents can top up their accounts and purchase School Shop items.
  • Clubs and Trips - Set up free or paid Clubs and Trips for guardians to sign up for on the Parent Portal or Arbor App. Depending on your settings, guardians can pay a variable contribution or not, pay the cost of a trip in instalments or select the membership periods to sign up for clubs.

Top Tip: Arbor will not allow a parent to remove their child from a club as there are registers and attendance attached to a club. Your school will have to do this if the parent requests it.




You can send work home using Assignments.

Although guardians can't submit assignments through the Parent Portal or Arbor App (this is only possible through the Student Portal), guardians can see what homework has been given and when it's due.



What's next?

If you're already on Comms or Perform but have not yet begun using the Parent Portal and Arbor App, you’re almost ready to go!

You’ll just need to set up the Parent Portal in Arbor first. Find out how by reading our help article.

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Please note that the link below cannot be used:

  • for requesting functionality changes as it is not monitored by our Product Team.
  • for contacting us for support, as it is not monitored by our Support Team.
  • by parents and guardians - please contact your school instead.

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