ParentComms app for Android V1.0.35 released

A wide selection of changes including but not limited to

  • Integration with AutoText including sending of text messages
  • Support site announcements now pushed to NC’s
  • Default message icon added for unknown format messages
  • Acknowledge control on message delivery for service desk announcements
  • Additions to the help pages

ParentComms app for Android V1.0.33 released

A wide selection of changes including but not limited to

  • error testing for mobile number
  • improved user friendly error warnings
  • added handling for html content messages
  • do not disturb time controls added
  • bug fix to stop app crashing on silent default ring tone
  • auth control for 3rd party support companies
  • multiple NC status control
  • additional help page overlays


Online Security, Child Safeguarding, and the Data Protection Act

Atomwide and its core service delivery partners, Virgin Media Business and Fronter, take security extremely seriously with regard to all aspects of the services provided in the format of broadband education service.

In order to operate the most robust, sustainable, and scalable hierarchy of user security and identity management across schools, Atomwide has operated for many years within a wider organisational structure assisted by key LA officers and senior Local Authority Advisors (or their commercial sector partner equivalents where LA services have been outsourced), all typically holding the status of Super User or Power User within the USO that underpins all LA services. To obtain this position, LA officers will have been appointed by the Local Authority’s  key contractual contact.

Within schools and similar individual establishments, this status is replaced with the local role of Nominated Contact, authorised for appointment, without exception, by the school’s Head Teacher (or equivalent for non-school establishments).

Nominated Contacts are the vital, recognised and authorised ‘conduit’ for communication, support and action between Atomwide and the school. They can be nominated by any in-post Head Teacher whose role can itself be verified by a combination of the school’s up to date DfE EduBase entry, Local Authority officer-sourced information, or in some cases, practical supporting evidence from the school.

The validation of the Head Teacher’s identity is taken very seriously by Atomwide, since we recognise their role as the school’s Data Controller in the eyes of the law, and also the person on whom responsibility ultimately rests should any breach of security result in the unauthorised release of sensitive, perhaps child-specific, personal, geographical, or status-related data pertaining to USO account holders.

Accordingly, no facility is offered for any person not previously authorised to communicate with the Atomwide USO Help Desk on any school or user-specific matter. The only exception to this is reserved for communications with law enforcement officers acting with appropriate authority.

Schools not wishing to have their service provision in any way governed or influenced by LA officers or policy, can arrange this by issuing an instruction by the Head Teacher via a support case on the support site, at which point appropriate changes to the governance process will be made for that school.  Due to the significance of Head Teacher’s responsibility in a number of key areas relating to data protection and service management, no opportunity is provided for the Head Teacher’s role and responsibility to be over-ridden or otherwise bypassed by another party.

Atomwide greatly appreciate the ongoing support for this strategy by Local Authority ‘leads’, support staff, school Head Teachers, education-associated establishment Managers, and school staff in general, as well as third-party commercial partners employed under the direction of schools and Councils. We appreciate that urgency can spawn frustration, and so are all the more grateful to those users that respect the structures put in place to ensure the safety of information, user identities, and ultimately the children, students and staff that Atomwide exists to serve.


Couple of new features on the texting service.

You can now select AM or PM attendance marks, or a combination of them, from within the attendance part of the texting service.

Pre-defined staff lists now have a tick box to allow senders to remove individual recipients from the list along with the same functionality on the pupil contacts page.

Warning messages which are now configurable when the number of message credits for a school fall below an LA limit have been added to the send sms & email page

Additions to the AutoText Service

We have added a number of accounting functions to allow LA’s to set various limit’s with regard to numbers of text messages in schools.

You can set a point at which a red message is displayed warning that the school is running out of message credit’s, by default this is set to 150, once the school run’s out of message credits a negative number is displayed and the LA can control how far into an over-draft the school is allowed to go before the system really does stop sending messages ! By default this is set to -100

Details of this feature can be found here

When a schools sends a text message and their account is over-drawn an email is sent to the LA sms admin and an option is provided to email the Head Teacher of the school at the same time.

Details of this feature can be found here

All of these messages and default settings can be configured on an LA by LA basis – to change a message please raise a support case.

We have also added to the staff Pre-defined lists so it’s now possible to de-select any number of users in the lists before sending the text.

Details of this feature can be found here

More additions to OpenCheck

We now have a profile bit that can be allocated to any USO account that will allow the person to modify the state of Open Check for their school.

This profile bit can be allocated by any person from ITcontact and above and takes immediate effect.

Further details of the options available can be found in the help manual here.

Changes to OpenCheck

Over the past 10 days we have made a number of changes to the OpenCheck system. It’s now possible for users with the profile bit ‘Site Managers’ to update the status of OpenCheck for schools.

The front end of the web site has been changed to encouridge users to select from two drop down lists for the LA and the school which then tells the user the state of the school. After this the user may click to draw the map usign Google technology.

We have made this change to reduce the overall load on the systems so as to ensure consisitant delivery of the service in times of great demand.

USO-AutoText additions

Couple of small additions to the AutoText service for Power and SuperUsers who can now see the overall status of the texting service using the ‘View Settings Summary’ now located on this page.

It’s also now possible to set the default for a school for pupil years that are accepted in the attendance reporting – this allows schools to by default remove any pupil in a selected year from the attendance report sms system.

Finally, an opt out option now exists for parents configured by adding extra details to the mobile contact number in the MIS system, details of this can be found in the help pages here.

New Data Export controls for USO-AutoUpdate

An additional page has been added to the support site which allows staff at schools it identify data being exported from the schools MIS system into USO using AutoUpdate.

The page showing details can be found here.

All users can view the state of the exports and can see which fields are being exported by the various reports that are available to the school but only Head Teachers can authorise the release of data from their school into USO.

Installed copies of USO-AutoUpdate will NOT allow for the export of data unless the desired report has been authorised by the Head Teacher in the school.

It is also possible to view the log files relating to the AutoUpdate reports being run on the same page.

Further details of this page can be found in the online help pages here.

USO-AutoText gets email …

We have now added an email function to the service allowing you to send bulk emails to parent contacts in a very similar way to the way SMS texts are dispatched – see the new page here.

We have also changed the name of the TAB in the support site from SMS to AutoText to reflect the product name and to allow for the addition of the email options to the product.

Help pages will arrive in a few days time.