Begin, Build, Boost
You're at Build, the second step in your school's journey to getting the most out of parental engagement in Arbor by using the Parent Portal and Parent App! In this step we'll be setting up and then switching on the Parent Portal and Parent App.
- You can find all three steps of your journey here: Getting started with the Parent Portal and Parent App
- More information on these journeys: Making the most out of Arbor with Begin, Build, Boost
Before you switch Parent Portal on for your school, there are a few steps that must be taken to ensure it functions for all users in the way you want. Follow along with our Parent Portal and Parent App Checklist
How long will it take?
- Set up missing profiles and link them - depends on the number to resolve, but we recommend leaving at at least 1 hour
- Resolve duplicate profiles - depends on the number to resolve, but we recommend leaving at at least 30 minutes
- Check email addresses - depends on the number to resolve, but we recommend leaving at at least 1 hour
- Set up consents (if required) and send them out - 15 minutes
- Set up card payments - see an estimate here
- Choose your Parent Portal settings - 10 minutes
- Switch on parent Portal - 1 minute
- Send out logins - 10 minutes
Things to consider before you get started
When are you going to be switching on the Parent Portal?
- Do you have a time that would be best to switch the Parent Portal on?
- Do you have lots of different apps at the moment that you need to
- Do your parents already have lots of things they need to sign up for?
- Do you have the time to roll this out now?
Are you going to need a task force? Is the work manageable for one person or do you need a team? Who will you need support from at the school to complete:
- Checking emails
- Contacting guardians
- Planning your switch on
How are you going to advertise the Parent Portal? Get parents on board by planning a good content strategy to make sure parents keep coming back and logging in! Run a social media campaign, display posters or send emails. Don’t forget to plan when you will be switching the Parent Portal on and which areas you want parents to see!
- Social media
- Emails, letters
- Drop-in sessions
- Parents evening on the Parent Portal
You can see some example communication templates and a poster here: Poster and communication templates for the Parent Portal and Parent App
Step 1 - Check your student and guardian details to prevent login issues
You'll need to make sure all guardians are recorded correctly, with no duplicate profiles. Each profile must also have a completely unique email address, or guardians and staff will have issues logging in.
Make sure that all students you want guardians to be able to view on their Parent Portal have been added to your Arbor site.
Then make sure all guardians you want to be able to access the Parent Portal have also been added and linked as a Primary Guardian to the right children. You can do this in the Family, Guardians and Contacts section of a student's profile. Once you have added a guardian to one student's profile, you can then click the guardian to go to their profile and link them to any other students.
Check for any guardians who are not linked to students - when they log in they won't be able to view any child's information. Go to Students > Parents & Guardians > Guardians with no linked students. Make sure these profiles are removed using the bulk actions, or link them to the correct student by clicking their name.
Check all Primary Guardians have an email address on their profile. This information can be found and any gaps filled in by going to Students > Parents & Guardians > Bulk Update > Guardian Contact Details.
This is particularly important, as the email address functions as the username guardians use to log into the Parent Portal.
You must make sure that the email address used on a guardian profile is not also used on a student or staff profile.
If, for example, a staff profile and guardian profile share the same email address, the system will not know whether they are trying to log in as a staff member or a guardian, and an error will show. Therefore, email addresses must be different on every profile.
You can check and resolve any duplicate email addresses using the instructions in this article: How to check for duplicate email addresses and stop users from being logged into the wrong account
If you do want the email address to be logged on a student and guardian profile, simply click into the student's User Details section and click the Disable Account button on the slide-bar so that the email username will only be active for the parent.
Please note: If your school uses the student portal, disabling the student's account will no longer allow the student to log in. You would instead require a separate email username to be added instead to the pupil's profile.
Step 2 - Decide on your Parent Portal settings
Once you have all your students and guardians set up properly, you must decide what features you want to display and what you want to allow guardians to do on the Parent Portal.
For example, do you want guardians to be able to make payments for Clubs and Trips, but not Meals, or do you want to show your positive Behaviour Points but not your Negative Incidents?
See below for how to implement these settings before you release your Parent Portal.
We have lots of out-of-the-box consents that you can choose to request from guardians. To set which consents should be collected through the Parent Portal, or to add new consents, click here.
You'll want to make sure parents are able to pay for all the different accounts you need.
Please note that guardians cannot top up Club and Trip accounts as these accounts are not used to keep a balance. Clubs and Trips are paid for when payment is required, you cannot top up an amount to be used at a later date. As such, you do not need to set these account types up.
We recommend taking a look at our Begin Build Boost journey for Card Payments if you have not yet set up card payments on your site: Getting started with Arbor payments
Decide what you want to show on the Parent Portal. Work through each section in this article choosing your settings. These settings are very important to get right, as they determine everything guardians can see: Parent Portal and Parent App Settings
Choose whether to use In-app messages, whether parents can reply to these and set SMS follow-up settings.
You can also choose whether information can be automatically updated by guardians, or if it needs to be reviewed by school staff first. Click here for what this means for your school.
Step 3 - Turn on your parent portal
Once you complete the steps below, you can then tell guardians that they can now set a password and log in.
Please note that the Parent Portal and the Parent App will be switched on for all Primary Guardians - you can't enable it for only some.
When you are ready to turn on your Parent Portal follow these instructions to switch on your Parent Portal (and enable the Parent App too): Enabling access to Parent Portal
Once you've switched on your Parent Portal, you can check all the settings are right by logging in as a guardian. Once you've been given permission, you can log in to check what the guardians will see and troubleshoot any issues. Take a look at this article to see how.
You might want to invite parents who are staff to log in to test your setup before sending out welcome emails to the whole school.
Before inviting guardians to log in in bulk, you'll need to decide where to direct them to log in. Take a look at this article to decide which link to send out when following step d: Which URL page should users log in from?
Guardians aren't automatically notified when your Parent Portal is switched on - you'll need to let them know and send them their login details. See how to do this here: Sending and resending login details to Guardians
At this point once your school has switched on the Parent Portal, guardians can download the App log in using the same username (email) and password as they would for the Parent Portal. Parents can also download the Parent App for free from either the Play store for Android phones or the App Store for IOS.
Troubleshooting and support for parents
Please note that only parents who have a guardian profile added to their school site as a Primary Guardian can use the Parent App. School staff and teachers cannot log in.
There's a number of reasons why parents may be struggling to log in to the Parent App or Parent Portal.
- You can share this article with parents so they can troubleshoot login issues they're experiencing, and to help you determine what the issue is: Why can't I log in to my school's Parent Portal or Parent App?
- You can also use this article to troubleshoot issues from your side: Why can’t parents log in?
Who should parents and guardians go to for help?
Please see our guidance here: Can Arbor Support help parents directly?
Guidance to share with parents
There’s loads of support available to guardians in our Help Centre that you can direct them towards. We have articles for parents on The Help Centre you can email out or show parents where to find, including:
- A quick introduction to Arbor for guardians and parents
- Getting started and logging in
- Payments, School Shop, Meals, Clubs and Trips
- Profiles, messages and meetings
Just scroll down on the Help Centre homepage to find the Parent Portal and App for parents section.
So you've decided on your settings, switched on the Parent Portal and Parent App, and now you're wondering how to increase parental engagement and logins?
Jump to the next part of your journey to Boost your school to the next level where you'll see how to:
- Utilise communications
- Customise the information you share
- Track parental engagement