Communication remains a key focus for schools at all levels. Investing in technological solutions such as a school app not only improves general communication but could save time and money with reduced administration costs.
According to Ofsted, schools need to work together with parents to help deliver high-quality education. Advances in technology have made this much easier, taking the emphasis away from admin heavy schools that are largely dependent on their websites to disseminate information to using more agile approaches with increasingly sophisticated apps.
Everyone has a smartphone or tablet
The key is that most people nowadays have either a smartphone or tablet that they carry around with them and have easy access to an internet or 4G/5G connection. That means a parent can be in their office or travelling to work and receive a notification about what’s happening in school.
Communication has never been easier
For school heads and teachers, as well as administration staff, easy to use communication tools helps fill several gaps. For example, it releases the burden on general administration and reaching out to parents at critical times. If a school has to close because of bad weather, rather than having to phone each parent up directly, schools can distribute immediate push notifications that show up on people’s phones and tablets.
School apps can also be used to provide important information for parents. By simply tapping the icon, someone can easily access timetable information, school policy documents and details of upcoming events. School apps also facilitate a two-way communication process – parents can send their messages or inform the school of sickness or absence, for instance.
Most apps today can link into the school’s main management system which makes reporting much easier. There’s some suggestion that school apps also have a much wider effect, encouraging parents and guardians to take more interest and participate more widely.
The cost of designing a school app
Of course, one major problem that has changed over the last decade is the cost of designing such apps. In the past, you’d need a specialist team and the price of development would have been prohibitive for most public schools. Today, we see a growing number of sites online that can develop apps using a part tailored and part generic approach.
Schools can add their branding, choose which facilities they want to use from a wide menu and keep costs under control in a way previously unseen. School app provision is also easily scalable. A school head can sign up for a development that includes the basics and then widen their scope as they begin to see the viability and usefulness of such technology.
School apps don’t solve all the problems of communicating effectively and engaging with parents but they tick several important boxes. Expect more schools to start using tech like this in the future and the range of different services to help improve the communication mix to grow as phones and apps become a lot smarter.