Parent / Carer Technical Support Page

Welcome to our Technical Support Page

As technology becomes ever more embedded in the life of a school child, we know it can be difficult as a parent / carer to keep up. If you experience any problems relating to the use of the systems below please email support@stjosephsredhill.co.uk and someone will try and assist where possible. 

This page contains some useful information regarding online safety and computing advice. We hope you find it useful. 

Systems used by St Joseph's

At St Joseph's we use several forms of communication, depending on user. Please see below for details.

Our Primary form of communication with Parents is via ParentMail, which is accessible via email or via their app. Newsletters and information aimed solely at Parents such as open mornings, events are sent this way. 

In Reception / EYFS the school uses an app called Tapestry Journal as it involves more visual representation of work and play captured during lessons. Parents can register to access this via our school office.

From Year 1 to Year 6 we currently use Google Classroom. Your child will have their own individual login to their classroom and homework is sent this way. 

Parents can receive a summary of work set on Google Classroom by clicking the button below and completing the form. This does not include any links but is a digest of messages your child receives so you know if there is work they can logon and complete. You may need a Google Account for this summary.

Please can all parents remember that their child's Google login is used in school for all computing activities and as such we request that you do not attempt to change their passwords when not in school. Pupil passwords are provided to their staff to assist with their logins and if changed causes disruption to their lessons. We thank you for your support in this matter. If, for any reason their given password does not work please contact Kevin using the details at the top of the page.

Computing Advice

Parental Controls

Now more than ever, Children have access to new technology and ways of interaction, however, technology can be disruptive and without monitoring can lead to issues. National Online Safety is a great resource used by the school and the poster here shows a few ways to setup parental controls so that you, the adult, remains in control of your childs devices. We hope you find it useful. Please also visit and register for their site for more detailed guides on many types of technology your child may experience. 

Free Anti-Virus Software

Sophos Home is a version of the software we use at school to keep our community safe and we recommend its use to all.

Keeping Your Device Up to Date (and why it is more important than ever!)

Nowadays, more than ever, it is vital to keep your devices as up to date as possible. Please Click on the image to find out more.

Purchasing Advice

Which device should I buy for my child to use at home?

When purchasing a device, we are always aware of the need to provide the best possible experience at the best possible price point. When it comes to choosing a device there are many options. Our general advice is to pick a device that can be used with any service, so that when your child goes to their secondary school they can continue to use it. 

Tablets

A lot of parents choose tablets for their child but we are conscious that typing on a screen offers a poor experience when using them for a long period of time. Although more portable, they can also break more easily. We view tablets more as a consumption device, meaning they are great for games and watching videos etc, but not the best experience for doing work. There is also a major variance between the quality of tablets and cheaper tablets do not always offer a great experience for anyone. The most widely available and currently the most compatible are devices such as Apples iPad range or an Android tablet using Android 12 or later. We do not recommend most Amazon Fire devices in general as their apps are limited for doing school work, however there is an Amazon Fire 10 Device available with a keyboard and an Office subscription.  

Windows / Mac Laptops

Windows Laptops can be great, but contrary to belief, Office does not come installed for free, meaning there is an additional cost in most circumstances (please be conscious that if a device comes with a subscription it may be a low end device and may not last a very long time or may offer a poor experience).  You also require Anti-virus and different controls which add to the price. Again, as with tablets, the experience you get depends on the price you pay. Cheap laptops provide a very slow experience which can be distressing or demoralising when trying to complete work. If you were looking to purchase a Windows laptop at a low price we suggest looking at the refurbished market as many ex-corporate laptops offer fantastic value. Please do look for a device that supports Windows 11 so it will receive updates for the next few years. Mac laptops are a fantastic device but very expensive and with many of the issues as their windows counterparts. They are hard to recommend for Primary age due to their fragility and lack of certain apps going forwards.

Chromebooks

Chromebooks can be a useful option for your primary child. Although there are some issues with them, we believe they do currently offer the best price / performance ratio and the great thing with them is that you do not need to buy an expensive device to get a good experience.  With devices starting from £199 in major retailers they are affordable and because they work with your childs school email address, once signed in, they receive software and items we feel would be useful and they do not need Anti-Virus solutions. Google software is free to use and works with most Microsoft Office Documents and if your child moves onto a school where they use Microsoft Office, these items can be used on a Chromebook and more apps are being added all the time. By reducing the on-costs to you as a parent, it means you can keep to a budget for the device, without having to worry about finding more money just to make the device usable. However, when buying a chromebook now, please do look for their AUE (Auto Update Expiration) date, especially if buying second hand. Many Chromebooks from 2017 to 2021 are now no longer supported so not secure which make them a poor choice sadly. Newer chromebooks are getting better and faster, but the pricing on them is usually much higher. 

Conclusion

There is no perfect device for most people, it is more about finding the best for the money you have. As our current Google services work on most devices the choice does come down to you. As a guide we have provided some examples. Whichever device you get, ensure your child signs into their school account for the best possible experience of the schools systems.

Price Guide and recommended type of device

0 - £150 - Refurbished Windows Device (8th Generation Processor or higher, 8GB Ram) - Budget extra cost for Anti-virus and Office if required

£150 - 300 - Google Chromebook (New and with AUE of 2028 or above)

£300 - £400 - Apple iPad or Android Tablet - Budget extra for Office if required.

£400 - £800 - Windows Laptop (New, 11th Generation Processor or above, 8gb Ram and SSD) - Budget extra for Anti-Virus and Office where required

£800+ - High end Windows Laptop or Apple Macbook device - Budget extra for Anti-virus and Office where required.


We hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions please do contact our IT support.