What to look for in a school app

The way schools have had to adjust their approach to, well, almost everything during COVID restrictions has been beyond commendable.

If you’re considering a school app and are researching options on the market, it’s essential to understand the features that would benefit your school and its parents the most.

You need an app that facilitates the building of meaningful relationships with parents, and for that to happen, you need the school communication app you choose to have intuitive features.

In this blog, we’re discussing school apps must-haves — hopefully, this list will help you weed out the apps that aren’t the best fit for your school and hone in on those who make the shortlist.

 

A user-friendly interface

 

A school app needs to be easy to navigate — remember, you want to encourage parents to use the app and ensure staff can get the most out of all its features, and the best way to do that is by removing all obstacles. You need to make sure it’s simplistic and easy to use; otherwise, parents (and school staff) will get confused and subsequently won’t use it.

So what does a user-friendly interface look like? It looks like clear signage and easy to understand language. You need an interface that’s obvious and gently guides the user through each section.

An app that’s difficult to navigate won’t be used; it’s as simple as that.

 

Access to support guides

 

When onboarding your school staff to a new school app, you need to be able to access support guides to help answer basic questions. A resource centre can help staff learn more about the different features within the app and ensure they’re getting the most out of it without having to contact support and await an answer.

Support guides can include general troubleshooting and walkthrough guides for specific features, to video tutorials and helpful letter or email templates, helping making communicating with parents effortless.

 

In-house school app team training

 

When you introduce a new piece of software, it’s understandable that some staff members might feel a little overwhelmed and worried about navigating it correctly. But look for a school app provider that can offer in-house training to make sure all staff members feel comfortable and fully informed with the new tech.

In-house training offers the opportunity for staff members to ask questions to help them understand the benefits the app presents and how to use each feature effectively.

A school app is built specifically to help your school better engage parents and deliver an unrivalled communication strategy; you need to know how to use it to exploit its full potential.

 

Friendly and helpful customer support

 

You need to make sure the school app you choose comes with friendly and helpful customer support teams. Remember, it’s not just school staff who can make contact with the app support team, it’s your parents as well, and you want your parents to have a positive experience.

Take time to read through the school app provider’s reviews; they’re a great indicator of the experience you can expect if you sign up.

At Parentapps, we’re proud of our customer service team; they’re always on hand to answer any questions about the school app or any of our other services; no matter how small the query. In addition, our support team is filled with education experts, who understand the challenges facing schools, so we can assure you we’re here to help.

Read our customer testimonials.

 

SMS and in-app push notifications

 

As we’ve already mentioned, the purpose of a school app is to build better relationships with parents, and that’s why SMS and in-app push notifications are crucial to nurturing these relationships.

You need to be able to communicate with all parents, regardless of whether they’ve downloaded your school app. Find a school app that provides these push notifications to make sure no parent is left out of the loop.

With Parentapps Connect, you can send messages directly through the app to each parent and instantly recognise the parents who are yet to open the message and effortlessly resend so your messages aren’t missed.

 

Social media integrations

 

Social media is an integral part of any online marketing strategy, not only to shout about school achievements, to attract prospective parents but also to engage current parents. Social media can be used to inform current parents about important school events and updates and give them insight into their child’s school day.

Integrating your social media channels into your school app means parents don’t have to log in to multiple social media accounts to access your posts. Instead, they can remain logged into your app on their phone; this means they can access all vital school information at their fingertips in the same dashboard.

Integrate your private class Twitter profiles and closed Facebook groups easily to make every parents’ life easier.

Suggested reading: How to make social media work for your school.

 

A secure photo gallery

 

Giving parents access to a secure photo gallery means they can feel even more included in their child’s school day. The secure nature of a school app platform means parents don’t have to worry about data privacy as it’s 100% GDPR compliant.

Teachers can upload photos into the gallery and notify parents of the uploads. Photos build a more personable connection with your parents. They allow all parents to see what their child has been up to throughout the day without using words, which can be useful for parents who are apprehensive about talking with class teachers about their child’s progress or for parents who are non-English speakers.

 

The ability to log in safely anywhere

 

The secure nature of our school app means school staff can access the dashboard remotely — which has come in really handy over the pandemic period. It’s cloud-based, which means you can log in from home or the school office via mobile, tablet, or desktop to send out important school updates quickly or remind parents of inset days, own clothes days or World Book Day, for example.

This means school staff aren’t restricted to sending these updates to all parents within school hours or school premises, making school-parent communication that little bit easier.

 

A school app that’s constantly evolving

 

In the tech industry, companies must stay on top of their game, which means constantly developing new features and experimenting with new ways of working.

Innovation pushes the sector forward into an exciting place, and that’s why at Parentapps, our product development team works tirelessly to provide exciting new features to aid parental communication further. We want your school to be the best it possibly can be, which means we need to listen intently to school and parent feedback.

We openly encourage feedback; it’s what helps us learn even more about what’s important to your school.

Please send any app feedback to support@parentapps.co.uk.

 

What’s new with Parentapps?

 

We’re excited to announce our next-generation app is coming soon in October! The new app is packed full of useful features, and, as always, our product development team have included customer and parent feedback as standard.

We’re always looking for ways to enhance the school and parent communication experience through our app; after all, if it doesn’t help you solve problems and improve parental engagement, our app would be useless!

So, what are the new features?

Two-way messaging

This feature is so parents can respond to messages in the app, increasing school-parent communication.

Attendance reporting

Through this new feature, parents will be able to see which days their child has authorised and unauthorised absences, along with an attendance percentage.

Behaviours

If a child has been given detention, parents will be notified within the app, all helping enhance the communication between the parents and your school.

 

We’ll be sharing more updates about our next-generation school app in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.

Wondering how much a school communication app could save you? Use our FREE savings calculator tool now.

 

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