What are the Parent Portal and Arbor App?

Far too often we’ve seen schools struggle with a mixture of asking parents to check letters, payment systems, booking systems, and report cards. We know that it’s not always possible for parents to access a computer, making it hard for them to keep up-to-date with all the information they need. This causes a lot of manual work for schools and makes it hard for parents to keep on top of everything.

Say goodbye to paper slips and emails - the Parent Portal and Arbor App let parents register their child for a club or trip, book parents evening slots, and manage payments all from their phone or computer. Parents can also check in on their child’s attendance, behaviour and progress.

Plus, your school can communicate with parents for free using our In-App Messaging feature. Take a look at this article to learn more about using In-app messages.

How can the Parent Portal and Arbor App help you?

  • Compile all your apps into one place
  • Stay in touch with parents easily
  • Share important updates
  • Have parents get in contact with you quickly
  • Manage payments

What is the Parent Portal?

The Parent Portal is our version of Arbor accessible to guardians on a laptop or computer.

What is the Arbor App?

The Arbor App is the mobile version of our Parent Portal, for use on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Parents can download the Arbor App for free from either the Play store for Android phones or the App Store for IOS.

If your school has switched on the Parent Portal, guardians can download the App and begin using it straight away. They will need to log in using the same username (email) and password.

To see how you can benefit from using the Arbor App, read our blog post.


What do parents have access to?

What Parents can see:

  • The student’s address and home phone number if they live with the student
  • Any student details they are marked down as a Primary Guardian for
  • Any features switched on in the Parent Portal Settings page

What Parents can’t see:

  • The student’s address and home phone number if they don’t live with the student
  • Another Guardian’s address or contact details - they can only see their name
  • Who logged a phone call or the call notes
  • Documents attached to the Student record
  • Notes pinned on the student profile
  • Who issued a Detention
  • Any Communications sent to them unless they are via In-App Messaging
  • School notices

What support does Arbor provide?

To safeguard student data in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), we only work directly with schools. Advise your parents that they should contact you if they have any questions about Arbor, the Arbor App or Parent Portal.

For more guidance on setting up and managing the parent portal from your side, take a look at the Admin section of our Help Centre here: Parent Portal and Arbor App for Admin

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:

Parents can also access this section of the Help Centre by clicking Help in their Parent Portal or Arbor App!



What should a guardian send you if there's an issue?

Please advise parents not to contact Arbor directly, as we won’t be able to make changes to their data. Please try to support guardians where possible, then if you need to contact the Arbor Support Team or your Support Partner on behalf of a guardian please gather as much information as possible. Try to get:

  • Screenshots of what the guardian is seeing
  • Find out if they are using the Arbor App or the Parent Portal
  • If they are using the Arbor App, what model of phone are they using (e.g. Iphone 6)
  • If they are using the Parent Portal, double-check that they are using Google Chrome or one of our other supported browsers
  • Check that they have completed the logging in for the first time steps
  • If they are seeing any error codes ask them to send you the error code


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
  • Advertising
  • 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!

  • Posters
  • Social media
  • Emails, letters
  • Drop-in sessions
  • Parents evening on the Parent Portal


What's next?

The Arbor App and Parent Portal are available as part of the Comms and Perform MIS packages, or as a stand-alone module. To find out how to upgrade your package, get in touch with your Account Manager.

If you're already on Comms or Perform but have not yet begun using Parent Portal, 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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