You are probably well aware of the many ways investing in a school app can make life easier for your school. But have you considered the advantages for parents?
Getting parents on board with school apps is a critical step. If your school is planning on investing in a parent app, be sure to communicate the benefits to your parents.
So, how will investing in a school app benefit the parents of your pupils?
1. Immediate access to important information
With a school app, parents can access important information in just a few simple clicks. Information that may have otherwise been lost in a crowded inbox or destroyed at the bottom of a book bag.
Parents can access a wealth of information from their school app, including free school resources, reports, homework, news, timetables, electronic consent forms, and surveys directly on their mobiles.
Better still, a school app means that login details can be securely stored on a mobile phone, eliminating the need to sign-in every time, making it even easier and quicker for parents to access the information. This also reduces queries about lost or forgotten login details.
Push notifications are another key benefit of parent apps. Push notifications are clickable pop-up messages that appear on a user’s device in a similar style to a text/SMS, only appearing for those who have the app installed. This allows parents to have all of the benefits of text/SMS - without the costs.
With push notifications enabled, parents can ensure that important updates never go unnoticed.
“I find this app works really well, and makes payments for school dinners and breakfast club so much easier - no more scrabbling around for change while rushing out the door in the morning, school can get consent for activities online, including trips and after school clubs, and we also receive communication and reminders as well (non-uniform days, comic relief, etc). - School Gateway User
2. Complete access to their child’s life at school
A school app gives parents complete access to their child’s life at school, right at their fingertips – anytime, anywhere.
Parents can pay for any items that may be required for their child’s schooling in a few simple clicks. Notifications and reminders ensure that their child will never miss out on that school trip that all of their friends are attending.
They can also view school newsletters and other messages from the school, including any certificates that their child might have received.
Quick access to reports means they have full visibility of how their child is performing at school, and any areas that they may need to focus on for home-learning.
Parents can also view any upcoming school events and book tickets if required.
With complete access to their child’s life at school, in one convenient place, parents never have to hunt for information again.
“Found this app easy to use - made paying for school things easier and faster. I can keep an eye on what still needs paying when it comes to school trips, or donations, and school items, including dinner money. It lets me see what my child has bought for lunch too, so, if you need to keep an eye you can. I can keep up-to-date with my child’s school progress with behaviour, attendance, and achievements reports. My daughter’s timetable is on it too, so, if I need to contact her, I can do it at the right time and not during a lesson. Such a great app.” – School Gateway user
3. Connecting with the school becomes easier
Improved communication leads to better parental engagement, which is a priority for many schools, with many studies finding that parent involvement is key to improving pupil attainment.
A school app for parents is free, easy to download, and simple to use, making it significantly easier for parents to get involved in their children’s learning – at home and in school.
Parents feel more in the loop, which leads to an improved opinion of the school from a parent’s perspective.
Put simply, when connecting with the school is easier for the parent, they are much more likely to do so – not only improving communication, but parental engagement too.
“As a parent, I am so pleased that I can now receive instant messages from my daughter’s school, and send replies back, and it doesn't cost me anything. It's so important for me to receive contact from the school, as I have often felt left in the dark about what is happening. As I have my iPhone on me all the time, this is brilliant! It's just like using Facebook or Skype messaging - really quick and easy. Keen to be able to make payments too, so hope that's next on the school’s agenda...” – School Gateway user
4. Updating the school is simpler
A school app makes it much easier for parents to keep the school up-to-date. In-app messaging makes two-way communication simple. With an app, parents can easily keep track of correspondence with the school, accessing messages via one inbox.
In a few simple clicks, parents can let the school know if their child will be unable to attend school by reporting an absence. They can also provide explanations for these absences.
This not only makes life easier for parents, but it also helps your school too, saving you the need to chase unexplained absences.
It’s also easier for parents to update the school if contact details change. If contact details change, but your school isn’t updated, then a parent app still gives you a direct line to parents.
“I love using the School Gateway app. I find it so handy that I can make payments to my daughter’s school using my phone, rather than having to go on my computer. Both me and my husband have School Gateway accounts. As the school has both of our details, we can both view all of the information at any time. I love being able to see her timetables and any achievements. It’s great - I think all parents should download it.” – School Gateway user
5. Parents can be confident their child is safe
Many apps have a cashless payments feature, making school life safer, as students needn’t bring cash into school.
What’s more, parents can rest assured that the trip or dinner money isn’t going to get lost or stolen on the way to school.
With school apps, parents can also make club bookings online, helping to improve safeguarding - with online registers replacing paper-based records. This helps guarantee child protection during after-school hours.
Certain apps, like Schoolcomms’ parent app for schools, come with medical tracking functionality. This reduces medical paperwork, eliminating the margin for error associated with storing allergies, medication expiration dates and care plans.
Having an all-in-one system in place allows schools to streamline record- keeping, improve safeguarding, and reduce the risks associated with pupils carrying cash.
“I love the concept of this app. As a parent of a child with special needs who goes to a special school, being able to receive information straight to my phone is brilliant. Making payments to the school is a fantastic idea, and I can't wait for that to be implemented. Also, the fact it helps the school save money is great too!” – School Gateway user
6. Allows time-poor parents to play a more active part in school life
A school app allows time-poor parents to play a more active part in school life, making it much easier for parents to keep up-to-date with school activities and updates.
Parents can easily access and participate in school surveys, including parental engagement questionnaires, allowing them to give feedback while helping the school to gain valuable insight.
Parents who never normally get in touch may well be encouraged to provide feedback, as it’s so easy to contact the school via the app.
A school app also allows parents to gain greater visibility of volunteering opportunities, encouraging more parents to participate in school projects.
Finally, parents can access homework online, enabling them to better support home learning. This is great as parent-led home learning is proven to have a significant impact on pupil achievement.
“Fantastic for helping me keep up-to-date with my kids and what’s happening at school.” – School Gateway user
“Works really well, means I can keep in touch with my child’s school quickly and easily.” – School Gateway user
Effective parental engagement has a very positive impact on a child’s learning. And it is well established that the key to parental engagement is communication.
We know that technology alone can’t improve parent communication, but a school app can definitely help to strengthen parent-school relationships.
School apps are loved by parents, as they are simple, time-saving, and give them instant access to all of the information that they need regarding their child’s life at school.
“I can pay with a couple of taps, see my child’s timetables and reports. I receive alerts for behaviour and achievements - among lots of other useful things. It was easy to set up, and the school love using it too.” – School Gateway user
If you are exploring an app for your school, we’ve compiled 20 questions you should ask prospective parent app providers before making your choice. Download for free now.