In the Southern Hemisphere, the end of the year is quickly approaching, which means it's time to start thinking about orienting new students into your community for the 2021 school year. One practice we've seen used by some schools is to send parents and students a digital orientation pack — that is, a page on your website that provides all of the information they will need to start the year off right.

Orientation is particularly helpful when the student or family is brand new to the school, but can also be a great tool to use for all students when they enter into a new grade. Digital orientation, executed well, can be a great way to ensure that all students and their families feel as confident as possible on Day 1. 

Here are a few of our suggestions we've put together for what to include in your Digital Orientation Pack.

Start with the basics

If nothing else, start by creating a webpage, per grade, with all of the basic information that parents need well in advance of Day 1. This would include things like:

  • a link to your school handbook
  • a link to your school's online uniform shop
  • a downloadable booklist
  • a map of your campus, outlining where their child's classroom and other important buildings are
  • a downloadable timetable of their child's classes.

Having all of the important information housed in one, accessible place will be a godsend for future parents and will also go a long way to preventing any mishaps or missed communication come Day 1.

Incorporate video

If you're looking to personalise the experience (and let's face it — who isn't?), then video can be a great tool that you have at your disposal. Many schools shy away from using video because of the perceived expense, but the truth is, you can accomplish a lot with a little bit of planning and some basic equipment.


Don't have a camera? You can even create quality videos on your smartphone. The best way to incorporate video into your strategy is by introducing the students to the key people at your school. Usually this will be their new teacher and the school principal, however you can get other staff and student ambassadors involved if you think it will provide value to the family. A great example of this is to ask student leaders to take future students on a virtual tour of your campus.

Facilitate community

Finally, a great use for your digital orientation is to get current and future families involved with your school community. This can be helpful, particularly if your school is still dealing with the after effects of COVID-19 and parents are feeling disconnected with other parents, as well as teachers and other staff members.

If you already facilitate online community — whether it be through a social media channel, a parent portal or another medium — provide them with clear and easy ways to access that community. If you don't already have any space for parents to communicate, consider implementing them! You could schedule in a parent meet and greet before Day 1, or host an online Q&A with different members of staff. You can also provide the email addresses of key contacts at your school.

Published 7 October 2021