92% of UK adults aged 25-44 own a smartphone and are used to having information at their fingertips. Schools that embrace this trend have engaged parents and higher performing students but, there is a huge difference between an app and a good app. The new generation of school apps truly are school gateways, ready to deal with the challenges schools face.
Schools have adopted several gateways to communicate a range of information with parents. Parents love having the information, but soon become frustrated and confused about which gateway to use, pushing schools to provide everything in one place.
New generation school gateways focus on all-in-one solutions and are ever evolving. For example, Schoolcomms offers text and email communication, but also offers reporting, achievement and behaviours, attendance management, payments and an online facility for booking and managing clubs - to mention a few key areas. We spoke to Mark Haddleton, ICT Coordinator and Support Manager at St Thomas à Becket:
“The all-in-one School Gateway app eliminates the need for separate systems for parents to have to remember passwords for; every bit of the information they need is there on their phone in one place.”
Most schools have a text and email service and many already have online payments. What most gateways are lacking, is the ability to engage parents in their child’s learning. A gateway that caters for that undoubtedly caters for everything else. Packages that allow you to add functionality as your current contracts expire help bring everything into one school gateway, bit by bit, without the stress associated with consolidation.
A gateway is an investment that pays dividends in pupil performance and long-term savings as Mark Haddleton found: “We have…recover[ed] the cost of using Schoolcomms and more; I have started to think of it as free, because as well as saving on costly text messaging to parents, (all app messages and longer emails don’t cost anything), we also managed to identify many extra Pupil Premium qualifying families through parents taking the in-app test, which has brought quite a sum of money into school”
By investing in technology, you are giving parents the tools to be fully engaged in their child’s learning. Simply having an app is not enough. The new generation of school gateways are here, with more functionality for staff and parents. And if knowledge is power a good school gateway doesn’t just engage parents, it empowers them.
To find out more about Schoolcomms call us or visit our website.