St John Bosco
“It’s massively reduced costs through paper letters but also having term dates and links to the website, makes the information far more accessible and that’s reduced the number of things parents call in for.“
What challenges were you looking to address?
One of our biggest issues was spending a lot of money on postage, and we wanted to move with the times. We were able to send out text messages, but we were sending out too many and it was costing a lot of money. We needed a system where we could implement emails, and push notifications without having to use three different systems.
Parentapps was able to offer that to us alongside a lot of other information. The fact that it links with our website is really good, so I know if I update something on our website, most of the time it will automatically pull through to the app and I then don’t have to manually update different systems, which does save a lot of time.
What features where you looking for?
Text messages were the key feature that stood out for us. It was the fact that you could use email and push notifications alongside each other, and we could tailor the way that parents received messages, which made a massive difference. We could guarantee that, as long as you had a mobile number on the system, we could get important information to parents in a cost-effective way. It was ideal for us to be able to hit in one swoop the hard-to-reach parents whose only contact we have for are mobile numbers.
Why did you choose Parentapps?
The app was recommended to us by one of our governors, who is a business manager in another primary school, but is on our board of governors as her daughter was one of our pupils. She had used Parentapps at her school and was extolling the virtues of it. The fact that Parentapps were a local company and could meet our needs all went into the decision of us choosing them. We hadn’t looked at too many other companies, only the more mainstream ones, but we actually got a more bespoke service from Parentapps.
How did you find the
training and support
There have been a couple of situations where I’ve had to get in touch, but the support team have been great. I’ve also had some calls with Hailey, who went through our data to try and get as many parents on board as possible. She also checked for any anomalies or duplicates to identify if that’s what was stopping parents from activating the app. The hub is also good because I know I can access it, watch a video, and it’ll remind me of how to do something. Once you learn how one section works, it follows through to the others and it’s all quite easy.
How are parents engaging with the app?
We have about 85% of our parents active on the app at the moment, but we really had the most uptake because of the pandemic. As we were shutting the school, we were writing to parents to say ‘get the app so we can contact you,’ because sending out paper letters would be tricky while working from home. That was a big turning point for us, as parents recognised they’d get information quickly because there was so much happening and everything was changing.
I think the technological advances of making sure students in every sector have got some sort of platform to be able to work at home have changed the face of education, as we now have to be able to flick a switch.
What could happen is that I could get a list of students that I have to send home tomorrow, but they have to have the same quality of education now as they would have in school. With technology we’ve had to all learn really quickly how we can do that. The communication side is the lynchpin around that, as getting messages out to the right people at the right time is crucial. You can’t wait two or three days for the post anymore, it’s got to be instant. It’s stuff like your daughter is going home in the next 10 minutes and you have to come and get them. And that has happened on so many occasions, but luckily we were able to do all that through the app.
What impact has Parentapps had on your school?
It’s massively reduced costs through paper letters, but also having term dates and links to the website in the app makes the information far more accessible, and that’s reduced the number of questions parents call in for.
That instant ability to reach out to people is great, as we can message parents and inform them about what’s happening in school, or reminding them about exams, and that helps get attendance rates up.
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It really has changed the way we communicate with our community. It’s streamlined processes, it has enabled staff to really quickly send out messages, communicate and reach a wider audience.
It’s honestly the best thing we’ve done. It’s efficient, it saves such a lot of time and it’s one central place again which for me is the most important thing.
Printing out 400 letters and distributing them around the school was time-consuming. With the app, you know the messages you send out will be seen by parents.
It’s massively reduced costs through paper letters but also having term dates and links to the website, makes the information far more accessible and that’s reduced the number of things parents call in for.
It’s immediate. We can hit many many parents, really quickly. It’s just revolutionized school. That’s all I can say, it’s just fantastic. I really really love it.