Technology has certainly helped organisations such as schools to stay in closer contact with parents, pupils and teachers. The new apps are flexible, low cost and deliver a number of strategic benefits, not least satisfying the requirements of Ofsted for better school communication.
He we take a closer look at school communication apps and how they can make a difference to your school in 2020.
The Benefits of Good Communication
Communication has always been important for organisations like schools. Research has found that parents that are able to communicate quickly and effectively feel more involved in the school and their child’s education.
Of course, regular communication costs. In the past, getting information out to parents and pupils involved printing out hardcopies and using admin staff to man the phones or send out texts. Nowadays, this kind of school communication can almost completely be fulfilled through dedicated apps.
For example, it’s not just about providing updated information about what the school is up to or whether there’s a problem such as an early closing because of bad weather. You can use it to help parents find different ways to support their children and give them the confidence to get engaged at home and take an interest in what their children are doing.
That better parental involvement undoubtedly benefits students and is likely to increase their motivation and their own engagement. For teachers and admin staff, effective communication creates not only a sense of community but a framework for delivering education that everyone buys into.
The Benefits of School Communication Apps
So, why should your school be investing in a dedicated communication app?
The first reason is that we are now so wedded to our technology. Most of us carry around a smartphone or tablet nowadays and we tend to have it on us all the time. That means there is an effective and immediate communication tool that is practically always in use.
Apps can be quickly downloaded onto a smartphone and used to send messages without the need of admin staff trying to find phone numbers and get in touch with parents. In short, apps are brilliant for keeping everyone updated, whether it’s a change in class times, updates on school policies or telling people about an upcoming event.
Parents also use the app as a reference point. If they need information, all they have to do is click on the app, open it up and search for what they are looking for. Pupils can quickly check timetables, parents can even update sickness and absence and it is all controlled from one central point.
We’re a lot busier at work nowadays than ever before. In many families, both parents work and finding time can be a real challenge. Parents don’t have to worry about looking up the school website if they need something because they have the app there on their phone. It makes things much less complicated and far more flexible for busy parents.
You can use your dedicated school app to help promote a sense of community. Parents also benefit from engaging with other parents and you could do this through a variety of ways such as creating message boards that help with handy tips and hints.
For schools, while apps are a great communication tool they also save a lot of time and money. They are inexpensive to use and can be tailored to the specific needs of your school. They mean that admin staff are spending less time doing mundane tasks like trying to get information out to parents and more time doing other important things.
School communication apps are a lot greener than old fashioned admin. You aren’t wasting money on paper or printing, sending out messages and other communications to parents. In short, a push notification is much cheaper, more direct and greener way of sending out a note to a parent. Plus, you’re always sure that they get your message!
What to Include With Your School App
If you have decided that you want a school communication app, the next step is to work out what you want it to do. There are a number of different options and you can generally add in facilities and tailor the app to your needs. These options could include:
- Sending targeted messages: One of the key benefits of a school app is that you can send messages to parents directly to their phone. These show up as notifications which means there’s less likelihood a communication is missed.
- Send text and SMS: For those parents that don’t have your app downloaded, the text and SMS facility can makes sure they still get your message.
- Get reports: You can produce data and reports on app so that you know how well it’s working, including monitoring message delivery.
- Communicating with more than one family member: The app allows you to reach out to any family member who is registered on your database.
- MIS integration: You can integrate with your school system to improve flexibility and efficiency.
- Newsletters and parent letters: You may want to use your app to deliver engaging newsletters or send individual communications to parents.
- Surveys and consent forms: You can use it do research or get parents to sign a consent form for a particular activity.
- Booking systems and online payments: If you have events that people need to book onto or pay for, the school app is the perfect communication tool.
- Sickness and absence reporting: You can use it provide an easy way for parents to advise of absence.
- Share photos and videos: You can create a real community with photo sharing and videos as well as help forums.
How Parentapps Can Help
Finding the right company to work with is important when you are developing a school communication app. At Parentapps, we have a lot of experience in tailoring our cutting edge apps to individual needs.
Not only are our apps intuitive to use, they provide you with a whole range of tools to improve communication between parents, pupils and teachers.
If you would like to find out more, contact us today for a 30-day free app trail that is guaranteed to change you school communication strategy.