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Important Concepts


The central concept in ParentEve is that of an event, which is a single parents evening, parent consultation or other function that you wish to schedule. Events are stored by the program in simple text files and when you use ParentEve you load and save these files just as you would any other document; you can alter your event as much as you like, and your changes are only made permanent once you save your file. The event file contains all the information needed to create the schedule for one parents evening:


A schedule is an event with appointment times filled in for each parent's requests. One of ParentEve's most powerful features is that it can optimise schedules to minimise waiting times - a schedule is optimised by moving the appointments around but keeping the rest of the event's details unchanged.

Schedule Scoring and Optimisation

An important ability of the program is its ability to score and optimise a schedule. Schedules are given a score, which indicates how good they are at removing waiting times. The default scoring method is as follows:

Consequently, the most a schedule can ever score is 1,000 which represents a "perfect" schedule in which nobody has to wait around for too long. A typical default schedule created initially from an empty file scores around 300, whereas a typical optimised schedule which is used for actual parents evenings may score as highly as 980 or 985, depending on the length of time the program is given to optimise the schedule. The scoring method can be changed if your school has different requirements. If you wish to change the acceptable wait times, select the "Edit Scoring..." menu option from the "Edit" menu and the following window will appear: This allows you to set the maximum acceptable waiting time for both teachers and parents. It also specifies whether the time before someone's first appointment counts as waiting time or not; if it does, the score will be reduced if there is a wait at the start, and the optimiser will attempt to minimise these waits. For teachers, you can choose whether their break times count as "waiting" or not. If a break is not considered waiting time it will not accrue penalty points, but it will also not stop a long wait being penalised. For example, a 5-minute break with two 15-minute waiting periods either side will count as one 30-minute wait and will be penalised as such (i.e. ParentEve treats the break as if it were simply not there at all). You can also direct the program to try to move twins appointments together. This is used in the case where both twins are seeing the same teacher; in such cases it is valid to have two separate appointments, but it is better if they can be adjacent (i.e. one double-length appointment). However, it is easier for the program to find good solutions where appointments can be separated, as it gives the schedule more flexibility. If a pupil has more than one appointment for the same teacher (for example, for two different subjects), the same functionality is used to try to bring the appointments together.


ParentEve knows that one set of parents may have two children in the same year and consequently it needs to know which children belong to which parents. In the case of twins (or other such situations) it is vital that ParentEve should know that both twins belong to the same parents, as that way it can ensure that appointments relating to individual twins are held at different times. Appointments are entered against pupils, but it is their parents which are scheduled to see teachers. An appointment made against a pupil represents the fact that the parent wishes to talk to a teacher about the pupil in question. It is quite possible for twins to have very different academic needs and ParentEve accomodates this. Consequently the parents of twins will nearly always have around twice the number of appointments than parents with only one child - this way there can never be a clash or overlapping appointment for parents of twins.

Multiple Subjects

A teacher can be marked as teaching more than one subject. When a pupil makes an appointment request, the subject they wish to discuss is held with the request. Therefore pupils may request multiple appointments with the same teacher as long as the subject is different each time. If a pupil wishes to discuss one subject for a longer time, the appointment's length can be increased. ParentEve can store a list of the teachers and subjects that each pupil is taught by. This is used to reduce the list of options visible to you when entering responses from parents, and also to reduce the options that parents see if they are responding online.


A presentation in ParentEve terms is something that has a fixed start and end time during your parents' evening. Any parents or teachers can be marked as attending it. While attending a presentation, the person in question is marked as busy (so they don't incur waiting penalties) and they are also not available to be booked on any appointments during this time. For example, during a parents' evening there may be a talk about choosing subjects for next year. To incorporate this, simply set up a presentation at the appropriate time, and then mark parents and teachers as attending it. The presentation will then appear on their schedules and be included in the event optimisation process automatically.

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