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Overview

Communicating with 650+ students and their parents is a tough business. Providing them with key information, especially whilst operating under COVID-19 difficulties, is an even tougher business. We built an end-to-end solution to solve these issues, save costs and improve home-school communication, that included a Mobile App published on both Google Play and Apple’s AppStore

Onboarding students is easy – you can sit them in front of a computer. Onboarding parents is much tougher; and the last thing you want (especially during a pandemic!) is a manual process that requires parents to make a phone call or visit the building. We addressed this by building in ‘self-service’ registration, where, using the existing details the college had of parental contacts, parents were able to securely register for the App using their mobile phone number or email address.

We also built in features to allow parents to easily notify the school of absences and updates to contacts. This is quicker and easier that a phone call, and easier for the staff to deal with than listening to voicemail messages. This also means that parents, when they update phone numbers or email addresses, can quickly update them – ensuring that the college has an up to date set of contact details if required in the event of an emergency.

Room & Resource Bookings

On a secondary site, there are numerous rooms for numerous purposes – and (in normal times) students do move around a lot. And there are times when a food group needs an IT suite, or a laptop trolley. By bringing room & resource bookings onto the timetable; with capacity numbers as well, we can ensure that staff can book the best fit for their needs. This also ensures that if a lesson is moving, reception knows where the lesson is taking place and where any child is.

Homework

Schools and Colleges are having to embrace Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – almost every child has a smartphone, laptop, or some other form of device. There is only so long you can push back against their use in the classroom; and perhaps we are there. Embracing technology, ensuring students use mobile technology sensibly and using it to improve teaching & learning is becoming the name of the game. As part of our development, we included a Homework module in our development that allows staff to set homework through Sharepoint and allows students and parents to see set homework on their mobile devices.

Conduct Log

A quick easy method to log a child’s conduct (both positive and negative), ensuring that both staff and parents are able see events for each student. We can also alert other staff, such as a child’s Head of Year or Tutor as to events and incidents. We are also able to log a child’s behaviour whilst in Isolation, ensuring that the information is viewable forever and can be used to make appropriate decisions.

Timetable

Especially in the world of a pandemic, the idea that a timetable does not change in an academic year is now a thing of the past. Staffing, Rooms, Groups, Sets are a moving target; handing a student a printout in September is no longer viable. As part of our work, we have made sure Students, Staff and Parents can see up to date information as to their school timetables. This also includes school closures, so all stakeholders can see on a day-by-day basis the lessons that are scheduled to take place.

Parent Messenger

Should you send an email to a parent, a text message or perhaps a push notification? We have designed the college’s Parent Messenger tools to ensure that, from a staff perspective, how they send a message does not change irrespective of how a parent has chosen to receive communications. From using the App to receive a push notification, to receiving a text message or an email – from the staff perspective, it does not matter – this ensures that messages can be seen quickly and easily. We will be looking in the future at using text to voice and WhatsApp.

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