A Birmingham school is expecting to halve the number of telephone calls it receives from parents by texting them with vital information.

Teachers at Small Heath School and Sixth Form Centre also plan to use the system to chase up pupils who fail to turn up for lessons without a reason.

Richard Riley, senior tutor at the school, said the text messaging service would revolutionise communication between the school and parents and save money.

"One morning I was covering on reception for ten minutes and had 16 phone calls asking if the school was open.

"If you can just hit a button and tell them school is open as usual that becomes more efficient. It will also reduce the amount of letters we have to send in the post."

The service, which costs about 8p per message, is being tested by Redditchbased firm FASTSMS.

Mr Riley said: "We did some research with our parents and the majority of them have a mobile phone," he said.