Compare Systems as a School


The biggest issue to consider, is the scheduling method, not the technology used to support it. Interview timetabling or interview booking? Or both!

Multi-date load balancing
EdvalPTN provides advanced multi-date features which allow significant load balancing across days. For an event spanning two or three days, the schedule can balance parents across all days to make a far better schedule. Over 60% of parents on average specify their availability for multiple days at these events, which allows the school to greatly reduce event duration, and reduce event finish times (late slots). Parents are far more likely to get a schedule very close to their preferred starting time due to the flexibility of the algorithms to schedule across multiple days. They can even change their bookings manually, to span 'across' multiple dates.


Schools can also consider running a WHOLE SCHOOL event across a few days, instead of events with one or two years per day. The system allows teachers to be specified available for three days of a four day event, if they only have three classes etc. Multi-day batch scheduling provides an extremely cost efficient and beneficial solution to all participants, and far better than book to specific time systems. 

Training certification
EdvalPTN provides extensive online exams on PTN events. Four levels of exams are provided, certifying users through the following levels: Basic, Advanced, Expert and Consultant. These exams cover almost 200 individual questions with detailed feedback online. Schools can now be confident in knowing users at their site who are qualified, have a good understanding of the issues faced, and how to get the best result. Many of these exam questions are product agnostic, so cover general knowledge about PTN event management in a broad sense.

Event congestion
Not all systems provide highly compact parent schedules. EdvalPTN provides significantly reduced congestion, so much so that it is common for staff at the school to wonder where all the parents are, or for schools to adopt smaller and more suitable venue’s for the event solely as a result of the massive reduction in parent congestion. EdvalPTN’s schedules have on average two slots time waste per parent, which is much less than systems which require manual parent booking to specific times.

Phone congestion
PTN Systems where parents have to ring in if they have problems, (or if they want to place bookings) cause significant phone congestion as this process requires schedule negotiation. EdvalPTN does not require such negotiation and either captures preferences or issues times fully automatically. This ensures each such call is only a few minutes long.

Number of interview bookings
EdvalPTN routinely generates far more interview bookings that any other system, and schools often report double or more the number of interviews books that they generally have.

This is a massive increase in parental attendance, as well as parental interview bookings. Teachers often report they are seeing many parents they never saw before, or more parents they actually wanted to see, which is directly related to the interview priority and batch processing system employed by EdvalPTN.

Education focussed
Removal of the student from the scheduling process provides a big benefit in the educational quality, as poorly focussed students never organise interviews well.

More importantly however, parent preference based interview allocation means demand for busy teachers is fairly allocated to all parents, regardless of submission time. This ensures all parents get their ‘most important’ interviews allocated. Under more traditional systems where parents are forced to only book specific times, the early bird parents always end up booking busy teachers in cases where they may not necessarily feel this subject interview is so important. Removal of this bias ensures that parents who ‘do’ really want an interview with this teacher more than others will be prioritised, as opposed to being penalised for booking ‘later’ than other parents.

Global coverage
Edval is Australian based, with support teams located NSW, VIC and SA. International support is provided by consultants physically located in Ireland, and on-site Edval training is also conducted in London, UK several times per year. Responsive 'online' support is also provided around the clock, regardless of where your school is located.

Event Support
Some PTN’s systems provide sufficient technology support, but EdvalPTN has extensive experience in supporting Parent Teacher Interview events in many non-technical ways, including extensive statistics, research, written templates and advice in many areas to ensure a great and educationally optimum event – quite apart from the ‘booking process’ itself.

There is a lot of trust in a system which exposes ‘the school’ to parents, as anything that goes wrong will have an impact with parent opinions of the school. Not all systems provide testimonials, or only provide very few, or are not easily verifiable (E.g. “Tom, a teacher says..”

EdvalPTN has a very large list of verifiable testimonials from Australian schools in various states. These positive reports attest to the quality of the EdvalPTN system, and that the parent opinion of schools using the system is always very high.

Case Studies & Research
Not all PTN systems are so actively involved in industry research, or who have published case studies with specific event data. EdvalPTN is actively involved in event research and has a detailed website containing a range of published case study on scheduling methods and event advice. 

Commercially brand agnostic
Not all PTN systems are designed largely commercially agnostic. The EdvalPTN site follows the Google model of scant / simple logos and limits other branding such as company names, so that the site is very simple and clear, but also so that it does not interfere or competes with the school’s own branding. Schools may even wrap the site in an iframe and deliver the full functionality directly from the school’s own website, providing an implied feeling to parents that the site is part of the schools own technology. A PTN site is often the only external one which parents use for school business, so it is important that their perception of the site is positive and in keeping with the image of the school. The brand agnostic design assists in this aspect.

Interview quality
Both research and anecdotal evidence have identified that the average preferred slot duration is between five and ten minutes long. This is preferred by the majority of parents and also teacher’s surveyed. Schools often adopt five minute slot durations due to interview demand, or the desire to align to a five minute graduation for ease of administration and manual booking to specific time slots. This means the interview slot duration selected by schools has less relevance to educational need than administrative, and more to ‘numbers’ of interviews to be scheduled than to quality. EdvalPTN uses a parent priority batch process to scheduling, which also allows the event parameters including the slot duration to be determined after the parents have requested interviews. There are numerous ways using EdvalPTN to ensure that the interview slot duration meets the educationally ideal duration, while also increasing the level of parent satisfaction overall, even if this means an increase in the slot duration (quality) at the expense of the number of slots offered for booking.

It is far more important and relevant to ensure the educationally ideal slot duration than to cater solely to raw demand for interviews, and batch scheduled systems offer the best possible and most flexible way to match slot duration with the school’s educational aims.

Prevent illegal multiple bookings
Some PTN systems do not include protection from parents who double or even triple book a teacher, as there is no active blocking of 'more than one interview booking' per teacher. This is largely due to the user interface in these systems.

The design of EdvalPTN specifically excludes parents from making more than one booking per teacher, unless explicitly permitted for a long interview or where there are multiple linked children being taught by this teacher. Prevention of illegal multiple bookings ensures all parents are fairly occupying the valuable teacher time and not biasing schedules in their favour at the expense of other parents.

Slot graduation
PTN Events have been traditionally scheduled to slots with graduations of five minutes, such as 5 or 10 minute interview durations. This is because it is easier to manage times when booking manually, as it is clear where the graduations start and finish, as opposed to 7:26pm and 8:34pm etc. Paper forms and even “book to specific times” systems tend to align more with fixed times.

EdvalPTN does not deal with fixed times in the first stage, as it works directly with parent preferences. As such, there is less confusion and concern about specific times and their graduations. It helps administrators work to educationally efficient interview slot durations, as opposed to more common, and administratively simpler interview durations like 5 or 10 minutes.

Union work issues
Parent teacher interviews are often unpaid work, conducted outside normal work hours. This causes some conflict at times, and has resulted in several cases of union involvement to restrict the duration or frequency of interview events. This makes it difficult to manage the need to provide parents with interviews where there is a union restriction on the number of opportunities that can be provided.

EdvalPTN manages parent priorities and does batch scheduling, which is an excellent way to manage these restrictions, and largely negates the issues of union enforced work hours for PTN events causing problems with "over-subscribed teachers" (see this as a separate section in compare as event administrator). Furthermore, the batch process makes it far easier to move the entire event to an earlier start time, thus moving it more into the business day and normal work hours, and less into staff personal time. The ability to reduce the event duration is also another issue which placates and supports the union ideals of protecting the valuable staff personal time - especially if unpaid.