PayOurSchool

School Facing Information

PayOurSchool is an income collection system for schools. It is ideal for increasing the cash flow schools whilst reducing parent debt. PayOurSchool enables schools to set up custom activities for payment and then allows parents to pay for these activities by text with their smartphone in a few clicks.

Free of any additional subscription charge or lengthy set up process, PayOurSchool allows schools to implement a parental payment system in a straightforward and commitment free manner. The system can be used for regular, recurring activities allowing a school to move to a cashless environment or it can be used occasionally for smaller schools or where activities requiring payment are few and far between, where a traditional subscription model would make little financial sense.

There are two user roles in the PayOurSchool application, each with a different level of access to the system:

  • School Users and Parents.
  • Each user role interacts with a different User Interface of the system.
  • The Scope of this document is to provide assistance to School Users in using the application to manage payments.

A full school facing user guide in PDF format is available here. Many questions are dealt with in the FAQs below.

Getting Started

If you are a brand new user to PayOurSchool, we recommend you begin by familiarising yourself with the topics immediately below prior to looking at FAQs as some prior knowledge is inferred. Please see individual topics below, or alternatively expand all.

Access and Navigation
School users must log into the Groupcall Messenger application to access PayOurSchool
School users must log into the Groupcall Messenger application to access PayOurSchool. The PayOurSchool tile should be visible on the Messenger home page.

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The main features of PayOurSchool can be accessed by clicking either ‘View Activities’, Create Activity’ or ‘Reports’ on the PayOurSchool Tile.

Additional features such as ‘Pay Bills by Cash’, ‘View Students’, ‘View Groups’, ‘View Parents’ and ‘Edit School Profile’ can subsequently be accessed via the Menu, which is located in the top right corner of every page within the PayOurSchool interface.

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The PayOurSchool Tile on The Messenger Home Page
The PayOurSchool Tile provides access to the following features; View Activities, Create Activity, Reports.

The PayOurSchool Tile provides access to the following features;

  • View Activities
  • Create Activity
  • Reports
View Activities Create Activities Reports
View and search all existing activities and their details.

Add students/classes/groups to an existing activity.

Send an ad-hoc text to the parents of all students associated with an activity.

Send a reminder/notification text to the parents of all or individual students associated with an activity.

Print a receipt of payment.

Refund payment of a bill.

Disable reminders for individual students.

View/Attach a file associated with an activity.

Delete students from an activity.

Delete a draft activity.

Create a new activity.

Add students/classes/groups to a new activity.

Attach a file associated with an activity.

Send a text to the parents of all students associated with the new activity.

View 3 report types:

Payments detailed

Outstanding by activity

Payments by students

Filter report criteria by date/activity/student name.

Export/download a report.

 

 

PayOurSchool FAQs

What is Pay Our School?

PayOurSchool is an electronic parental payment system administered securely with the Groupcall Messenger system with additional secure parent access to allow payments to be made by parents/guardians.

Way2Pay Limited are a company based in Ireland who produce the PayOurSchool service. Groupcall Ltd have partnered to deliver a electronic payment system within the Groupcall Messenger EcoSystem. The Way2Pay Limited Privacy Statement can be viewed at way2pay.org/Privacy

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Does PayOurSchool integrate with any other Groupcall systems?

Yes!

PayOurSchool is fully integrated with Messenger and Xpressions. Your school users will be able to use the system in a familiar interface using the same username and password as they use for Messenger. Your parents will benefit from unified communications on all school related matters and if they use the Xpressions they will can the messages and have the ability to pay for activities from the app simply and quickly. There are no parental usernames and passwords, yet the system remains secure, so it's a breeze to setup and use for everybody.

Plus, just like Messenger, your MIS data will sync automatically giving you streamlined and accurate contact and student data.

How much does PayOurSchool cost?

Nothing! It is free*

*PayOurSchool has no setup, maintenance or other ongoing fee to use. There is simply an industry-leading 1.5% charge per transaction. To support schools further in ever more financially difficult times, PayOurSchool allows you to specify whether to pass that charge onto parents, on a per-activity basis. There is also no additional fee for parents using credit cards.

How are disbursements made to the school bank account?

When parents make a payment, the money they have paid goes to a central account for processing. The money is then 'disbursed' into your bank account on a weekly basis.

You can access disbursement information (e.g. to compare total amounts to broken down individual payments against Ledger Codes) from the 'School Reports' panel of PayOurSchool.

Disbursements take place at 2pm on a Friday, however in line with standard processing times in the banking system the funds could take up 2 working days to reach the school's nominated bank account(s).

 

Is the PayOurSchool service liable for VAT?

Yes, because this is a service being provided to you by PayOurSchool; a service provided to accept money conveniently from your parents to your school accounts is liable for VAT in the UK. Most educational establishments can claim this VAT back via tax declarations.

As you are aware, there is no licence fee, maintenance fee or other recurring charge to use the PayOurSchool module. The only fee to pay is a per-transaction charge of 1.5% of each non-cash transaction. VAT is applied at the standard rate (currently set by the government at 20%), and is applied to the transaction fee ONLY - so this is 20% on the 1.5%.  On cash transactions there is no per-transaction charge and hence no VAT to be applied.

To ensure robust VAT compliance, the VAT will be collected on your behalf at the time of the transaction and deducted from your disbursement of funds, the same point as when the 1.5% transaction fee is collected. This means no additional VAT will need to be paid or accounted for at the end of the financial year or in your tax returns. The money disbursed to your school account each week will be the value of the payments, minus both the transaction fees and the VAT on the transaction fees. This is no different to paying the VAT for the Messenger system or other software.

Examples;

Activity Cost Fee Amount Total Amount Paid by Parent VAT Amount Amount requisitioned to school bank account in weekly transfer Net Amount after VAT reclaim
£10.00 £0.15 £10.00 £0.03 £10.00 - £0.15 - £0.03 = £9.82 £9.85

To aid in VAT reclaim, reports will be available from within the PayOurSchool interface so that you will have all the information to hand on how much VAT has been collected on your behalf for these transactions fees. How much you can claim back is worked out for you in an easy to use report, saving your school a great deal of time that would usually be required to calculate such a figure.

You will need the VAT number for PayOurSchool (not Groupcall) which you can request from us or see in the VAT reports.

What is an ‘Activity’ in PayOurSchool?

Simply put, an 'Activity' is something you wish to collect payment for. Usually a school trip or similar event, but could be anything that requires payment.

How do parents make payments?

posch_paymentrequestsThe parental payment process for PayOurSchool is very simple, requiring no distribution or management of parental usernames or passwords, nor do parents require a special dedicated app to make a payment.

They simply need access to the internet and a credit or debit card*.

Full details are available on the parent facing user guide available on parents.groupcall.com/payments.

 

 

 

*PayOurSchool does support offline payments made via cash for those parents that do not have internet access or a suitable payment card. This does carry an additional overhead for your school staff however so parents should be encouraged to use online methods, perhaps at a library, with a friend or relative or even on a school computer, and to try using a pre-payment card such as those provided by MasterCard, Visa etc (available at many high street retailers).

Where does PayOurSchool get its data?

PayOurSchool has a copy of your Messenger data (such as students and their linked parents/contacts) as well as its own data that school users have input directly into the system. Only authorised Messenger users can input data to PayOurSchool.

The Messenger data is synchronised nightly after it is updated from your MIS. All data is kept and transmitted securely in line with our data privacy policies.

I can text/email from PayOurSchool – is this separate to sending a message from the main Messenger Menus?

Yes.

We'd recommend you use Messenger as normal to send messages about activities etc, such as letters introducing the trip to parents, or reminders that an activity is taking place. However, if your message is about the payments themselves we'd recommend you use PayOurSchool's inbuilt notifications (such as the creation of a new activity) or ad-hoc messaging functionality.

Examples;

Scenario Messaging system
"I have a letter about a ski trip that I want to send. It tells parents that a ski trip is taking place, when it is happening and asks parents to register their interest in the students taking part." Send this using Messenger as 'normal'.

You would most likely send this letter as an email to all eligible students, such as a year group or registration classes.

From the responses you could then setup a Messenger Saved Group or an MIS group of students that are taking part allowing you more streamlined communication in future as well as the ability to add only those students to the activities in PayOurSchool ensuring only relevant students are invited to pay.

"I've added a new activity and I need to ask parents to make a payment." PayOurSchool's inbuilt notifications will take care of this for you.

When you have set up the activity, simply select  'Save & Bill now' and the messages will be sent.

"I need to remind parents to make a payment" PayOurSchool's reminder service will message only the parents of those students who do not have a payment completed.
"It's the day before a school trip and I need to advise parents to send certain items (such as a raincoat due to a change in the weather) on the trip with their children." Send this using Messenger as 'normal' using the groups you setup for the trip either in Messenger or in your MIS.

 

Can I issue a refund to a parent?

Yes. This is all done from the Invoices Panel by opening the student's record for an Activity in PayOurSchool.

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What is a Ledger Code / Cost Centre?

In PayOurSchool, each activity is associated with a Ledger Code or Cost Centre. This is used by the disbursement mechanism and reporting to identify the destination of money received from parents.

It's essentially a way of identifying the type of activity. It could be simply that you have a 'General' code and all money goes here, or you may wish to have granular control and send money for school trips to one bank account and money for school uniform to another.

We will add 1 or 2 for you at your instruction when setting up your account, however you can add more or edit these via the School Profile Actions Menu > View Ledger Codes.

 

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What is an IBAN/BIC?

Simply put, an IBAN is a longer version of your Bank Account Number and a BIC is a longer version of  the associated Sort Code.

Example;

  • A United Kingdom bank account with account number "98765432" would have an IBAN of "GB82 WEST 1234 5698 7654 32"
  • The same Bank account with sort code "12-34-56" would have a BIC of "NWBKGB2L".

We request this information from you during setup of you PayOurSchool account so that we can make settlements to a bank account of the money your parents have paid. They have to be in a standardised format accepted and used across all systems that send (your parents) and receive (your school) money.

Your Bank will be able to provide the correct details if you do not have them to hand although most banks make this information accessible via internet banking and some provide online help as to how to find this. NatWest for example have this page available.