Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Thousands of SMS text messages have been sent by schools in flood-stricken communities throughout Queensland, Victoria and NSW in the past week, keeping parents and students informed and alert.

However, Mark Fortunatow, Executive Chairman of Adelaide company MGM Wireless, which provided its school SMS services free of charge during the disaster, says many schools are hopelessly unprepared and cannot quickly reach their school community.

Mr Fortunatow has discussed with State Education Ministers the lack of funding in public schools to implement SMS systems, which have become the most accepted way for parents to find out about their children’s safety and activities.

“It’s all about preparedness,” says Mr Fortunatow. “Trying to put in place a crisis communication plan when a crisis is already unfolding is often too late.”

Here is just a handful of some 32,000 messages sent in flooded regions over the past few days:
  • Due to overnight flooding the Carlton Rd access to the school is closed to all motor vehicles. Buses are able to get through.
  • Please be aware that the police were called re a very undesirable man in the wetlands today. Please do not let your children walk thru there
  • All Canberra campers arrived happy and safe. No issues with floods. Camp going as planned. Will advise if any changes. Principal.
  • For safety reasons, Sports Day is postponed until Friday 16th March. There are large sections of oval that are muddy or wet.
  • Due to floods ALL parents are invited to collect their children from school. Buses will shortly be transporting student as close to home as possible.

“Schools are ideally placed to communicate with their entire community as they have parents’ contact details on hand,” Mr Fortunatow said.

“We now have over 750 schools using our messageyou and Outreach systems but demand from parents in schools not using SMS is very strong.”

This demand has been evidenced by the launch of School News Channel, a new MGM Wireless service that allows parents, caregivers and extended families to subscribe to SMS updates from their schools

Currently, the service is receiving over 300 enquiries daily, the majority to receive SMS for late breaking news and school event reminders.

“From the school’s point of view, it makes sending SMS to parents totally free and parents who want to be kept informed are happy to pay for the texts,” Mr Fortunatow explained. “Parents, caregivers and grandparents benefit, as for the first time they are in the driver’s seat. They can request the SMS service at

“Text messaging is the dark horse of school-to-home communication – when we introduced this innovation nine years ago, texting was very novel and used mainly by teenagers as a fun way to communicate with each other. Today’s parents much prefer a text to a phone conversation.”

Mr Fortunatow highlights that floods and bushfires are not the only emergencies that impact on schools and necessitate an instant response to keep parents informed.

“In one recent school incident, an escaped prisoner entered the grounds of a high fee-paying college in Perth, resulting in a lockdown,” Mr Fortunatow said.

“Schools today simply have to be able to contact parents quickly for all kinds of reasons.”

Contact Profile

MGM Wireless Ltd (ASX:MWR)

MGM Wireless uses patented School Attendance Management solutions to empower schools to effectively communicate with parents and caregivers using SMS text messaging in combination with culturally sensitive communication to improve attendance, student welfare and safety. MGM Wireless is recognized in Australia and internationally as pioneers and market leaders. MGM’s professional services team delivers an integrated suite of software and communications using its own infrastructure. The solutions enable schools to reduce costs, increase productivity, discharge their duty of care, engage parent involvement, and ultimately improve student learning and social outcomes. Schools in Australia, New Zealand and America use Messageyou software in their day to day operations.

For further information contact:
MGM Wireless Ltd. - (ASX:MWR, MWRO)
Mark Fortunatow, Executive Chairman
Phone: 0421 328 984 +61 8 8104 9555
Mark Fortunatow, Executive Chairman, MGM Wireless
P: 0421 328 984


school texts, sms service, emergency communication, school SMS



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